Close your eyes for a moment and think about your childhood. What immediately comes to mind? What favorite memories bring a smile to your face?
Now think about your own parenting, and what you feel most guilty about NOT doing.
I’ll bet those things that make you feel guilty today are things your parents weren’t doing in those beloved memories.
Like maybe you remember chasing fireflies on warm summer evenings while your parents sat on the porch quietly talking. Or maybe you remember building snowmen in the first real snowfall of the season and borrowing your father’s scarf for the finishing touch. Or perhaps you recall enjoying sitting at the dining table coloring with your box of 64 crayons (with sharpener!) while your mom stirred spaghetti in the next room.
That’s the happiness of childhood, isn’t it?
Yet modern parents have this notion all too often that they need to be constantly on all! the! time! They don’t feel content to be sitting on porch watching kids chase fireflies…they feel guilty that they aren’t running around grabbing for fireflies themselves. And building snowmen with their kids. And involving them in every evening’s cooking activities.
For some reason at some point “having it all” became synonymous with doing everything perfectly- 100% all of the time- while still achieving balance in all aspects of our life. These impossible expectations only lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Letting go of the false notion that you can magically achieve perfect balance in life is the first step. The second step is realizing that perfect balance doesn’t exist in anyone’s life. The third step is knowing that even if it were possible, you don’t need it to be happy.
Neither do your kids. Because in their eyes, you’re already everything they need.
So embrace those every day moments.
Go ahead and sit on the porch swing while your kids are being kids.
That just might be the moment they think of fondly in 20 years when they close their eyes to recall their favorite childhood memory.