What Is Enough?

Hello Beautiful Mama,

Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough as a mom? Taking your kids somewhere fun. Scheduling playdates?

It’s summer break. The kids are home and you’re just trying to stay afloat the laundry pile.

You see that mom over there taking her kids to swimming classes, and a playdate, followed by a writing lesson in French…while your own kids are playing with sticks in the backyard for hours.

By golly…

I’m failing as a mom. I’m not giving them enough. Look at that. Her kids are all lined up like duckies in a row, reciting the Declaration of Independence and can sing the name of every continent.

I know. I used to think that (before I became a mama of 3…haha, then I became invincible).

I no longer struggle with this insecurity. Like, at all. Nada.

You know what my secret is?

Number one: I’ve identified what is important to my family and I stay true to who we are. Our core values are the check-point of my priorities.

Number two: I don’t compare my family to other families. Myself to another mom. My kids to other kids. Why? Because everyone is unique and has a different path. Comparison is the thief of all joy.

Number three: Science is proving that being bored is actually REALLY healthy for children. Imaginative play increases critical thinking skills. It’s not good for them to constantly be busy. This is what’s missing in modern society. Mamas have become entertainers and best friends to their children instead of parenting – scheduling every free hour of the day for their kids. Truth is, they’re probably burned out and frankly the kids are too.

So if you’re overwhelmed with the insecurities of feeling less-than as you scroll through your phone, remember that parenting isn’t all fun and games. It’s okay to not feel connected with your children every minute of the day.

Sometimes, parenting means doing the laundry.

Sometimes, enough means cleaning your home. Cooking a meal for your family.

Wiping milk off the floor.

It is enough.

Re-heating your cold cup of coffee at noon.

Taking a breather so you can be more patient.

Saying no, so you can say yes to something else.

That’s the reality of real parenting.

And it is enough.

Parenting is about teaching in your home. Making disciples. Modeling the value of hard work and integrity. The satisfaction of a job well done.

You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. {Deuteronomy 11.19}

I know that these long days will eventually become busy with carlines, drop-offs, lessons and activities packed. Today, I’m savoring the time I have with my kids while they’re little.

A few things we’re focusing on this summer (and always):

  1. Manners. Table manners. Saying please and thank you. Cleaning up after yourself. Using “excuse me”. My kids have to ask to be excused from the table and once excused, they know to take their plates to the sink & thank the cook. I know…kind of old fashioned.
  2. Minimalism. My kids have very few toys. (Ages 2, 5 & 8). Their room is minimal yet they spend hours in it playing with Legos and animal figurines & they have a blast every time. I often say “no”  when we’re at the store – shamelessly so, because I’m teaching them to be content and you can’t put a value on that.
  3. Responsibility & Appreciation. My 8-year-old does his own laundry. My 5-year-old folds his own clothes. Why? Because it teaches them responsibility. Every Tuesday we clean the bathrooms (all 5 of them)! Why? Because my job as a parent isn’t to enable them but to teach them responsibility & appreciation. We don’t have a chores chart & we don’t pay the kids for doing what is simply part of being a family. We do what feels natural to us and our rhythm.
  4. Loving one another. I try to foster sibling togetherness as much as possible. We use our hands for helping. We build memories together and find a friend in each other before anyone else. If my boys fight they have to hold hands for one minute. After that, they hug & exchange “i love you.” This doesn’t build resentment and affection is still very positive in our home. It’s done in light humor and I’ve noticed how much they need this reassurance.
  5. Less screens more imagination. Right now my kids don’t have much screen-time at all. Maybe 2 hours total, a week? Mind you, they’re also 5 & 8 years old. If you have 5 kids under 5 or nursing babies – please give yourself grace.
    I like to power-off my phone for about an hour every afternoon as well. We don’t have cable and my kids don’t know the latest superhero of the day. We’re probably last to learn about the latest trend. My kids don’t play Mindcraft but they know every rule to Settlers of Catan, a family board game. It hasn’t set them back at all. We fill our days with creative fort building, playing outside and sometimes simply folding laundry together or emptying the dishwasher. If we need quiet time, 20 minutes of read-to-self it is.

Are my children perfect? No. Am I gonna judge you if you do it differently? By no means. Do my kids eagerly run and do everything as if they’re programmed? Boy, do I wish. What a lovely unrealistic picture of parenting.

I know what I do today is enough.

I draw my strength from the Giver of all strength. We do a lot of disciplining and setting boundaries. Something that’s old fashioned but creates healthy levels of respect and honor.

Most importantly, I remember who I am in Christ and that He is enough.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. {Proverbs 22.6}

 

Love & blessings…

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