I have had several conversations this week about the demands of parenting with friends. Some have been online, others over the phone. Unfortunately, there has been no time for any face to face conversations. It’s spring break and even my coffee needs coffee.
What I keep hearing from my Mom friends is that not only are they in a tough season, but on top of the tough, there is guilt. When the day is finally done and we just can’t muster the strength to scrub the pans (hey, they can soak in the sink until tomorrow), we feel like we are failing at motherhood. Isn’t that just the worst? So many of us do all we can and we still feel bad that it wasn’t enough. Many of my friends have children with special needs and we are constantly wondering if we are doing enough. If we are honest, we are really doubting if we are enough.
Let’s just say it out loud: Pinterest lies! We can’t always tame a tantrum with 1 secret phrase and create 10 crafts out of a toilet paper roll. Some days our kids will have to entertain themselves while we pay bills. That’s life and that’s ok.
Do you remember our childhood? Please, let Jen Hatmaker remind you how we were parented and how we turned out ok. Yes, the times have changed but we have also bought into a huge lie: if our children don’t get the 1001 must do childhood experiences, then we are failing as their parents. And failing as humans in general. And this lie is making us exhausted.
Sweet Moms, your love and care and attention is enough. You don’t have to be “on” 24/7. You don’t have to create magical plays and fairy gardens. You can, if it brings pleasure and joy to all parties, but you don’t have to. Sometimes the spontaneous moments are far better than the ones we imagine crossing off any must-do list.
Raising decent, kind, compassionate human beings into adults is hard. It’s the greatest legacy we will leave on this earth. So let it be hard some days and let that be OK with you. And pray that when those easy days roll in, that we don’t give into the temptation to do more projects that are not us.
Later this year, I will send my oldest to college. I can tell you that we didn’t get to all the things I thought we would. I am fighting the urge to cram years of advice and “stuff” into the remaining months. She thinks I am a bit crazy, but the need to mother doesn’t go away when the child does. We have had years of memories and she is turning out to be quite wonderful. I think I just need to call it “good enough” and enjoy the time we have together.
Nothing about parenting has been easy, but so much of it is good. Whether a child arrived to us by birth or adoption, there is a painful process by which the child comes to us. After that sprint, comes the marathon that is undoubtedly hard, but I hope we can start leaving all the guilt behind.
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