We all want the very best for our children, but it’s impossible to do everything right all the time. Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons. That’s the idea behind our Monday Mom Confessions and we’d love for you to join us – share your own confession in the comments below! Let’s throw off the weight of perfection and get real around here!
Okay, go ahead and judge all you want.
But here’s the deal.
I started this mothering gig twenty-five years ago. I was gung-ho. I was young. I was determined to be the ‘perfect mother’.
If Pinterest had been around back then, I would have been a well-intentioned nightmare.
Years went by.
Girls, I’m tired.
I’m talking, really tired. I adore that I still have young children in the house. I love that the Tooth Fairy still drops in from time to time, when I, ahem, she remembers… which isn’t often or consistent, but still. I love the joy and silliness and wonder that having young kids in the family brings. But I’m pretty much over Play Dough, and Barbie’s Dream House is just a square footage behemoth, and I don’t ever, ever, ever need to set foot inside a Chuck E. Cheese ever, ever, ever again.
‘Cuz I’ve done it all. Over and over, to a factor of eight. And I’m still in the trenches of teaching consistent dental hygiene skills and going back through multiplication facts and reminding people to flush. All good, necessary things.
Our nightly bedtime routine used to consist of a multi-phase, incremental persuasion toward nocturnal rest. There were snacks, leisurely baths, read-aloud after read-aloud, all capped off by The Tucking In. There were prayers and silly songs and stalling. Lots of stalling. Our third child, Justus, was able to take the Stalling Game to a varsity level. He’d ask for one more thing, want one more kiss, want to utter one more prayer, one more trip to the bathroom.
More and more minutes would click by. The hour would grow later and later. Tempers would shave thinner and thinner. And what had started as a vehicle for cuddles and sweet slumber would disintegrate into episodes of discipline and frustration.
Kinda took the cute right out of it.
And then our season as a family changed as well. Our older kids had dance and sport practices until late into the evening. Either Michael or I were out to pick up various kids from across town while younger kids were heading to bed. Sometimes we’d keep the whole crew up to circle the dinner table and, in the interest of whining, people just needed to head to bed once the meal was over. Some of the kids loved the tucking in routine, while for some, it just became a painful detaching and disentangling, and for those kids, they usually ended up with the lion’s share of attention as we wrestled through the process.
So finally, I had to step back. And ask myself:
Why was I continuing to maintain this institution?
Turned out, I had a bad case of the ‘shoulds’.
Good parents should tuck in their children. Everyone knows that, right?
But what I was missing was the point of the tucking in. The point was to wind down the day with sweetness. With affection. With focus.
Which, as it turns out, could be accomplished in a different way.
Over time, it’s evolved to this.
Depending on a particular evening’s events, as the day winds down, you’ll find any variety of the kids piled on our bed. We laugh. We talk. We snuggle up and read books and discuss the day. And over the course of time, each kid makes their way to their own bed, independent yet connected, options for stalling limited, climate of the evening intact.
I suppose, in a sense, Michael and I are the ones being tucked in.
Analyze your ‘shoulds’. Where did they come from? Do they actually work for your family or does it add a burden that is unnecessary? Is there a way to take the core idea of a ‘should’ and get the same result in a way that is a better fit? Can I give you permission to do that?
Well, you have it. Permission. From this mom.
This tired, happy mom.
What’s your Monday Mom Confession? Tell us in the comments!
Would you like to be featured on Monday Mom Confessions? We’re looking for guest writers; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your 1-2 sentence confession. If it’s approved you’ll be asked to write the full article and it will be published on allmomdoes!