I need to stop over-complicating parenting
I am realising I have over-complicated so much of parenting. I mean, it’s not like it isn’t already complicated enough as each child has their own unique personality and everything is always constantly changing. But I try to complicate it more by getting stuck in my own head of what I think we should be doing to raise the best kids into adults.
The first complication I get myself caught up in is that our kids should be involved in everything there is to offer. Why should they not do piano lessons, swimming, ballet, rugby, tennis, stage acting lessons, and all that’s on offer in this city? They should be exposed to anything and everything right? It makes my head swim as I try to figure out how we cart three kids around the city, without a car, trying to get them from one thing to the next.
My thought process quickly goes to thinking I am depriving our kids of something if they aren’t doing everything there is they could possibly fit in. Then I remember a decision Pat and I made many years ago, and it was that we wanted down time with our kids. We not only wanted down time with them, but we also wanted them to just be kids. To play, to imagine and to be bored!
We’re not judging people who put their kids in lots of activities at all, that is what works well for their families, but for ours, we weren’t sure it was us. We knew this time we have them is precious and will be gone in a moment. I mean our oldest just turned 13 and I want to turn back every clock right now and get more of those moments!
Another complication for me is all of the things you “should” do with your kids. There’s so much out there to see now on social media and articles telling you how you need to do this in order for your children to grow up confident or then there this over here you need to be doing to help them feel creative.
It swims in my head and I feel like I now need to schedule our down time to every minute to make the most of it and to not miss a chance to cram in one more life lesson for them!
It just all feels like SO much pressure! I have to stop and take a moment to recognise the moments when I’ve heard the most laughter or the times when it seems like imagination is bubbling out from the kids. It’s been from the open time we gave them to find something to do.
Sure, we keep certain things in our house to try to help with creativity and imagination like colouring supplies always at the ready, dress up clothes and simple wood blocks. We have a bunch of board games ranging from the five-year-old level up to the more complicated for our 13-year-old. But again, we just keep it simple.
And you know what? They seem to thrive in the simple! Whether it’s sitting down for a game of memory with us or drawing together and coming up with a story line, which of course is then acted out as well with princess dresses, police officers and “jails” being made out of blankets.
This is when I hear the most giggles. The chatter that happens as they colour and draw with one another and the encouraging words they use for their artwork. It’s the belly laughs in the game of memory because someone is trying to beat Daddy and he’s overly competitive and really silly when he plays.
I take a deep breath and realise, it’s not about us having our kids signed up in every activity. It’s not us making a detailed schedule of which creative project we should do next as a family. All the more power to you if those are things that you love to do and work for your family!
For our family, we’ve found it’s us making sure there is open time, with nothing planned, to create those moments that give us all so much joy.