I wish I didn’t have to make dinner and could find more time to spend with her that way.
Does she really know I love her?
I’m such a bad mom! (The thought that pops into your head when you HAVE to make dinner and can’t read a book or play princess with your toddler right in the moment she desperately wants those things.)
Is she getting enough eye contact?
Has she had too many playdates this week and not enough time with me? Or not enough playdates with her friends?
Have you had thoughts like these run through your head recently? If I was betting woman (and I’m not 😉 ), I would say that if you are a mother of a toddler…you have had these thoughts flit through your brain and sting you as they pass at least once this week.
It is SUCH a struggle to try to strike a balance between adoring, one-on-one play with your child and getting done what needs to be done. Especially if you are on your first child and are a work-from-home-mom like me.
Some days I feel crushed by guilt. Barely able to breath because I feel I am working way too much and not spending time with my daughter (though I only try to work 2-3 hours a week when she is awake and get the rest done after bedtime, early in the morning, or during the 6 hours of preschool she has). And at the same time I feel stretched till I am cracking from all the other things that make demands on my time: cooking, laundry (cloth diapers, anyone, on a toddler who has regressed in potty training?! 😂 ), setting up a new business and phasing out my old one, my husband, my dogs even. (Yes…sometimes I experience mom-guilt over my dogs….especially since my extroverted, passionate toddler takes up almost ALL my time…)
Do you feel this way too? Or feel a smaller version of this emotion that is very aptly called “mom-guilt” – I promise, I usually only feel a twinge from it rather than being crushed by it! (But I think we probably all have our days 😉 )
Then I just want to give you some encouragement today:
You are a wonderful mother. I am sure of it!
Because, if you are worried about your relationship with your family – your kids…then you care. And that is the most basic, important quality of a good parent!
Plus, “solo play” or “quiet time” is when kids get to develop their imaginations! So, when you have to cook dinner or take a shower or do an hour of work while your kids are awake, you are actually helping them develop amazing imaginations!
If I can share a tip from my absolute favorite parenting book of all time – Bringing Up Bebe – remind yourself that there is no perfect parent. There are just parents that do their best. And love their children with all their hearts. (And who take care of themselves so they have the energy and “sparkle” to take care of their families!)
Try it. Try saying that to yourself: there are no perfect parents. It is quite liberating. Especially for a perfectionist like me! 😜
So, beautiful mother, lets take a deep breath together. And close our eyes. For just a moment. And then open your arms to your littles and give them hugs and snuggles and play time whenever you can! But don’t feel guilty when you have to break away and do some of those really important, daily things such as cooking and working. And don’t feel guilty when you have a super busy week such as the one I just had, where we were out and about every day almost all day. We can always balance it with quieter, more focused weeks next week.
And now I am going to go finish those dishes and clean my house before we have dinner guests over…and have my daughter help me every step of the way. Then when it is finally time to sink into bed with a glass of wine at the end of this crazy long day, I am going to read some encouragement from my favorite parenting book before drifting off to sleep.
Have you not read Bring up Bebe before? I really think you would love it just as much as I do! It is all about parenting blissfully…the French way! I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay elegant while raising patient, loving, imaginative children who love exploring the world? If this sounds like a book for you, you can find it here Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting). (Just as a disclaimer, this link is an affiliate link!)
Now it is time for you, too, to shed that mom guilt! Live blissfully! And check out that book I mentioned 😉
P.S. An excellent way to assuage your mom guilt and spend loads of extra time with your kids is to include them in all the things you have to do…within reason! They can clean with you, do laundry, even cook! Just maybe not send off emails with you 😉
P.P.S. I am not at all saying – not even the tiniest! – that we should ignore our kids, or let them shift for themselves! I am a HUGE proponent for giving our children the attention and time they desperately long for. After all, love is spelled T-I-M-E! I am just saying sometimes mom-guilt can get way out of hand 😉 I promise, if you are loving your kids, they are loving you even if you have a busy week! (After a crazy week myself, my daughter hugged me around the neck last night and said, “I love my mommy”. I just melted.)