What are we preparing our children for?
I recently learned that in today's world, middle class parents are spending more time with their children than they did in 1965, when most mothers were not even in the work force. But with the ever-changing world we live in, what are preparing our kids for? And why does it feel like I am not yet doing enough for them?
We tend to think that if we aren't trying everything, we are basically doing nothing to prepare our kids for the unknown future. We have carved out time for the extra curriculars, the art and music, the brix classes and foreign language weekend classes. At night in the years as early as kindergarten, we do homework before and after dinner, rush through bath time and hope a short story is chosen for bedtime reading. Maybe this craziness, this parenting crisis- is just ME. Anyone else running like their hair is on fire? Yet, most days, it still doesn't feel like it is enough.
Tiger moms, hippie moms, helicopter moms or drones- Drone Moms (ha) our children's happiness is paramount for us all. The one thing we have in common is this undying desire for our kids to be happy. But how do we teach children to be happy and self-confident? Have we received unfair burdens? We are so busy shielding our kids from the worlds realities, the Oscar the Grouches of the world, but in this shielding and all of the teaching and the extracurriculars, are we in fact making time for happy kids? I often battle between the "cuddles in bed on Sunday morning" vs the "breakfast at the table and ready for church" Sunday mornings. Weekends getting ready for Monday or watching movies in our pajamas...? How can we be so stretched- is it because I cannot choose? It doesn't feel like it is enough- even being so stretched I often have guilty moments of "I can do more."
The first words whispered into my children's ears after birth, "I will try so hard to make you happy and to keep you healthy. I will try so hard to not hurt you." In our desperate quest to create happy kids, I might have skipped over sane. Sane kids. I have read books and listened to talks, I have seen counselors and priests... I have prayed a lot. There is no measurement of how I am doing as a mother- and it appears as though my own grading system is an unfair one. At the end of most weeks I try to tally up what went well and could have been better... but most nights I go to bed feeling like I could have done more. Cooked more vegetables, put more hot food on the table, volunteered more, taught them about more, read more, done more at their school, planned their outfits (so they didn't look crazy) more... more, more, more.
Today I have been in bed all day fighting strep or an ear infection or both. I think one of the kids I want to do so much more for gave it to me. I haven't been able to do much at all. Had bone broth and let them have dry cereal. I slept. I cannot do more today and it is possible that all of those nights doing more-more-more- have finally caught up. Again. You won't learn balance here, ladies. I am still on a quest to find the perfect parenting equation that makes me both a fantastic and inspiring mother, a reliable and responsible adult and a loving and healthy wife... but today it is Passion Tango tea with lots of honey and some very old magazines in bed. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to do more.