I read an article this morning during the routine 6am nursing session. The author spoke of casting off the pressures that pinterest, blogs and facebook posts put on being the over-the-top parent to your children. The need to have the most creative, perfect vacation or birthday party or day of homeschool for that matter is ridiculous. It becomes about our status and quite honestly, our pride.
But I found it sad that the author failed to remember times when her parents played with her and her siblings. I get that family dynamics require parents to work from home at times. I get that family dynamics sometimes require both parents to work. I get that the house doesn’t clean itself and dinner doesn’t cook itself. But I still remember my “picking up an extra shift” Daddy staging pillow fights with us. I still remember my “returning to school to get a better job” Mommy baking cookies with us, even inviting in the neighbor kids to share in the flour mixing. Sure there was a the balance of my sister and I walking home from school together and coming to a quiet house where enjoy a premade snack of carrot sticks from the fridge or celery with peanut butter that Mom made before she went to work. And then we’d proceed to entertain ourselves for an hour or so until Mom got off work.
It was a balance. We still went to the children’s museum, climbing the rock climbing wall alongside of Daddy and racing Mom in the timed sprint display. And I remember self-entertaining on Summer days or during Mom’s study sessions.
I strive to be a parent of equal balance. Yes, I expect my little girls to play independently at times. Their imaginative delight should not be tied to me entertaining them. But I miss so much if I don’t don a princess crown regularly, or instigate a pool noodle sword fight. I miss too much if I don’t wrestle them in a game of tickle fight until our sides ache from laughter at our floor frizzed hair. I miss far too much if I don’t use the curb as a balance beam or dance unashamedly to a Disney song with a twirling ribbon.
What do I miss? I miss expressing my value in doing life with them. That their hearts matter. Right where they are. In whatever little imaginative phase they choose to live in in that moment.
I’m not saying this author’s Mom didn’t love her. HA! Not saying that at all. I’m just saying that in the swing back from our culture’s need to make Motherhood about a Mother’s status and pride, don’t forget to dabble in your children’s play regularly. No don’t buy their love with vacations and regular showerings of toys until they have so much stuff that you can’t even play with it all. Materialism creeps in so quickly.
But don’t miss out on the opportunity to just sit and read together and play together. Because just like I tell my little ladies, “we’re the only family we’ve got. So let’s do life together.”
At the end of the day, I want more than the title of Mother, Provider or Caregiver. And it has nothing to do with me. I want to leave a legacy in their hearts that we walked through their childhood together because their worlds mattered so deeply to me that it was worth the sacrifice to make them my dreams.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are such a blessing.