This is something I wrote YEARS ago when my kids were little and all three were at home with me every day. Those days are long gone, my son is in his 10th year at school and the girls are in their 6th year (that means Yr9 and Yr5 in NSW). I think that this still stands though. For those of you struggling with little ones at home, I promise those days will pass and there will even be times when you will miss having them at home.
In a world where society celebrates success as the be all and end all of everything and the kids who aren’t the top of their game or the best in the class often get overlooked. I think the same goes for parenting. Recently I got to thinking that as parents we often celebrate how much our children can do and often forget how much effort this could require from parents.
Often we see other children and we benchmark our kids against them and think, I wish my child could … or I wish my child was better at … However what we forget is the incredible effort that is often required by parents to get our kids to this level. Olympic champions are not simply born champions they have parents who have sacrificed countless hours of sleep to get them to training, forgone family holidays because they needed to get their child to yet another meet. Brilliant scholars are the same often our children who are gifted and talented in academic areas or the arts (creative, dramatic, etc) require huge commitments from parents to keep their child entertained or at the very least challenged. This is not to mention the financial burdens of having children who excel in one area or another.
Sometimes when we see “other people” doing these things with their children we can be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt that we are not or cannot provide our children with these same opportunities. We as parents need to give ourselves a break! We forget to celebrate all the things we do do for our children. We provide them with safe, loving environments. We clothe, feed and shelter them. We provide them with all the things that they need to get through each day to be well-adjusted children.
We need to remember that even though our children may not be the biggest, best and brightest – they are and will always be ours. At the end of the day the most important gift we can give to our children is for them to grow up knowing they are loved no matter who they are and what they can do.
We as parents also need to stop beating ourselves up if we can’t do everything our friends can with their kids, they may have different gifts to us. My gift is certainly not in the area of craft with my kids, but when they are sick I can be the world’s best nurse, I can do vomit no worries at all. The fact that I would prefer to stick needles in my eye than do finger painting or teach my children the alphabet does not make me a bad mother.
We all do the very, very best we can for our children within our gifts, abilities and financial constraints. That is all that anyone can hope for. Some days I am just pleased to get my kids from wake up to bedtime and know that I have fed & watered them. I quite possibly have yelled at them but that is ok, we will have played a little, I might have read to them but I might also have more likely plopped them in front of the tv for a few minutes of quiet and I will most certainly have cuddled them. I know I need to stop beating myself up for not doing craft or having the most immaculate house or Masterchef plating up skills (even their flops look better than my best most of the time!) What I am sure of is that my kids know that I love them and even when I am cranky I am doing my best. We cry together, I have said sorry to them and we create lots of memories in our home.
There is no doubt in the world that I wouldn’t love to have a perfect showroom home and perfectly coiffed hair, perfect makeup and awesome parenting skills, sadly though all of that has skipped my place.
Hugs to all the families out there, you are all amazing! It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it as long as you do the best YOU can that is what counts.
Our kids won’t remember who taught them the alphabet or how they were born or fed when they are 25 but they will always remember who loved them!