I often feel guilty that I’m not doing enough as a mother.
I don’t actually play with my kids that often.
When they all want to help in the kitchen, I become easily stressed out and tend to shoo them away.
I love crafts and I love my kids but I’ve realized that I don’t love doing crafts with my kids.
They each have a baby book but I’ve done nothing in the way of scrapbooks or photo albums beyond their baby years. I fear that one day they’ll think I didn’t love them after the age of 2.
Sometimes Brownie falls asleep before I even get to his bed to pray and say goodnight.
Too many days I am short-tempered, preoccupied, and annoyed.
Even though I know better, I still look at other mamas who do more to keep their kids well-rounded, well-dressed, well-managed and well-educated and feel like I’m just not cutting it.
Grace keeps me afloat and reminds me of what’s true. But sometimes I forget. I wonder if I’m doing all that I should be doing.
If you’re a mama, you probably have your own list.
Several years ago my mom e-mailed me a list entitled, The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents to Do With Them. For some reason it resonated with me and I still think about this list on a regular basis.
I don’t normally post lists. I’m not big on formulas or “7 Habits” or anything that you can numerate and check off in order to be or feel more successful. Lists and how-to’s sort of undermine the theme of my series.
But I like this list.
A teacher gave the same Mother’s Day assignment to her students every year for many years. She taught in the U.S. but also abroad. Over the years and regardless of the country, many of the answers were recurrent. She asked her students to give her advice on being a mother. They were to consider the things their parent(s) did that made them feel “happy or loved.”
Here’s what they said:
1. Comes into my bedroom at night, tucks me in and sings me a song. She also tells me stories about when she was little.
2. Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
3. Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
4. Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
5. At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
6. At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc.
7. Let me play outside a lot.
8. Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
9. Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.
10. Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag.
The teacher says that:
Children are incredibly wise and tend to see the world more simply than we do. Perhaps it is time we start taking their advice. Maybe we would all feel a little less stressed and be satisfied with the fact that doing little things really is… good enough.
I can’t vouch for the validity of the list or for the accuracy of her sample student population. And of course I don’t do everything on the list but that’s not really the point.
I simply love the reminder that the little things are actually the big things in the eyes of a child. And you’ll notice that material things and “well-roundedness” didn’t even make the list.
I haven’t given this assignment to my own kids but I want to.
What are the simple things that meant the most to you as a child? What are the simple things that mean a lot to your own children?
I think all mothers feel the same way. We are all in the same boat. I love the idea of being intentional with our kids. It is so hard but that idea of stopping and taking a moment with them is treasured for them and for us. Out of no where, giving them a snuggle and a little “tank filler” in the word department. Great, great post.
This was a refreshing read. My kids are getting older and I find myself wondering if I have done enough when they were little and if I’m doing enough now. they are pretty close in age and it was hard to get “alone” time with them when they were smaller. Now that they are middle school and high school age I try to take a few moments alone with each one as often as I can. It’s funny – riding in the car to one practice or game or another is often a good time to talk and connect and it is a time I remember connecting with my parents as well. My dad would drop me at school each day and every single day he would say, “Have a good day, pretty girl. Love you.” That resonated with me then and I hope to do similar little things for my kids now.
Maia Bee's says
Thank you for this post! My daughter is 10 months old and I’m constantly worrying that I’m multitasking too much and not devoting enough 100% attention to her. But then who would clean the house and cook the food? I love the list – it will be on my mind for years to come.
Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) says
I swear that I developed an extra ‘guilt’ gene when my son was born!
You are certainly not alone in your guilt and concerns about yourself as a mom. I am really bad about getting down on myself for all my shortcomings. We women tend to be so hard on ourselves.
It has taken me a long time and many life experiences but I have come to understand that God sent my children to me for a reason. I am the best mother for them, and He will help me where I lack because they were His before they were mine and He loves them too.
Great, great post.
p.s. I’m a list person. I love lists. This was a good one.
This is such an encouragement to me, I have been camping out in the territory of guilt. Today I decided to pack up camp and pitch my tent in the land of Grace. Thank you for sharing this reminder, even though I’m not really a list person this is just what I needed to hear as a mom today!