I generally think I am a fairly decent Mom. My kids, after all, eat three or four or five times a day, bathe regularly, and have clean clothes. We read books and play games and snuggle on the couch most days.
And then I get on Pinterest, and suddenly, I start worrying that my kids are missing out. Those meals we’re eating are not handmade from scratch with wheat I ground myself. They are not bathing in a beautifully decorated bathroom with hand carved soaps. And those clothes? Well, they may be clean, but they don’t always match.
Worse yet, we’re not making painted bugs out of egg cartons. We’re not going to make handprinted Shamrocks for St. Patricks day or playing with shaving cream. I honestly just do not have the time or the energy for any of that right now.
This is when I start to think I’m screwing this all up. I look at what friend’s kids are doing in preschool, and I think–I should send Josh to preschool, he should be having all this fun and doing all these crafts and playing with other kids, none of which is happening at home. I think, I should be home more and work less overtime, and then we could do these fun projects and I wouldn’t be spending my days off trying to catch up on housework and grocery shopping.
And then I realize that I have two pretty awesome, smart, and usually well behaved children. That just because I feel like I’m screwing it all up doesn’t mean that I actually am. Our lives don’t look like everyone else’s–neither preschool or being a stay at home mom are in the cards for us right now. Comparing my kids’ lives to the lives of other kids is neither fair or productive, because our lives, needs, and family situation is not the same.
Of course our life isn’t going to look like my friend’s lives–many aren’t working, or are working regular days and hours which makes preschool a possibility, and Daddy is home every evening and weekend. What they can do, what they need, is not what we can do or what we need.
My responsibility is to meet my kids’ needs. Those needs are not going to be the same as your kids’ needs, because our families and our situations are not the same. My kids right now do not need home-ground wheat or complicated art projects; they need Mommy, curled up with them on the couch, reading Winnie the Pooh. They need walks in the spring air and chocolate milk. They need me, not Pinterest.
So I let go.
I take the ideas I can use and discard the rest. I focus on what my kids actually need, and not what everyone else needs or does or wants.
I focus on grace, for myself, for them, for my messy house and the millions of projects that I want to do but can’t.
And I remind myself, daily, that even if I feel like I’m screwing it up, that my kids are happy, and healthy, and they are the only ones that matter.