If I’m being completely real with you guys, the activity I’m about to write about came from a fear of not doing enough. When I think about the mom I want to be, there are SO many things I want to do with my kids on a consistent basis. Some of these things may sound completely dumb to you, but when I think about what I wish we did together, this is what comes to mind:
- bake bread from scratch
- play my violin for them
- go on more walks
The days seem to zip by. Between school & my writing time. Between laundry & making dinner. Between washing dishes & grocery shopping. Our minutes & energy seem to all be absorbed & we barely gather enough of both at the end of the day to read for five minutes. I don’t know how Joanna Gaines does it. I KNOW, you guys, don’t compare. Yada Yada Yada. But for real, how does she do it? I just want to know.
Anyway, I have goals for carving out time to make room for the things above (one at a time), but on the days when the kids seem to be growing at an exceptional rate, it can feel a little claustrophobic…like it’s now or never. Do it or miss out.
And of course, that’s no way to parent or to live. We put too much pressure on ourselves. Our children will not need therapy because we bought our lettuce from Kroger instead of pulling it out of our raised bed in the back yard. They will not point & say How dare you! because we took time to pursue something for ourselves instead of playing all the rounds of Pretty Pretty Princess. Their training to become independent, responsible adults will not depend on me serenading them to sleep with Disney lullabies on the violin (although I still REALLY want to do that).
Our children need us– not the Instagram branding of us. They need us to tell them that they are smart, kind, & brave. They need us to show them how to be a good friend & how to pay attention for ways to be kind in the world. They need to see the kind of human they want to grow up to be one day.
One of Collins’ friends from kindergarten & her little sister were coming over one day after school last week to play, & it was a beautiful day outside. That morning, Emma, Jude, & I went to the grocery store, & they had all of these orange & white pumpkins for sale. I usually save all of my seasonal decorating for Christmas, but the thought popped into my head that it would be fun to paint the white pumpkins– so I bought five. I want to say they were four dollars a piece, so you’re looking at around twenty dollars. We bought a new packet of paint brushes & some WASHABLE (key!) paint (maybe another ten dollars). We passed by a table of Halloween treats, & I let the kids pick something out for everyone to eat during pumpkin painting.
It ended up being such a fun afternoon! Usually when Collins comes home from school, she’s ready to veg out in front of the tv for a bit, (& I let her because 8 hours of school sounds hard to me). But being outside & doing something fun was a way better way to relax & recharge.
I didn’t post a picture on Instagram for one reason. I didn’t want to make another mom feel the feelings I fight off– that she’s not doing enough or she’s running out of time.
I’m telling you about it now for two reasons. First, your kids will be just fine if you don’t do this activity. Just like they’ll be fine if you don’t participate in the turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning or you don’t enter the kids’ gingerbread house competition at Christmas. They’ll be FINE. They need YOU, & you can’t be fully present if you’re constantly feeling like you’re falling short.
When I am overwhelmed by the things I’m not doing but think I should be doing, it’s paralyzing. And if I had been letting that fear win when I walked by those pumpkins at the store, it would have felt like too much to make the decision to make a craft of them. When you’re in fight or flight mode, there’s not a reasonable-decision-making-skills option.
But I don’t let those feelings win. My children know Love because they see Love. It’s the foundation for everything else.
So what I’m saying is…That big truth allowed me the freedom to buy the dang pumpkins.
And they had so much fun painting them, & they haven’t looked at them or cared about them since.