Please tell me, mommas, that I am not the only one being absolutely, but tastefully, bombarded with the millions of craft and schedule ideas that are floating around on social media right now? In light of the Coronavirus school closures, every momma who ever had a blog or an idea is making lists and tutorials on ways to keep your children entertained during the coming weeks, and possibly months, of this social-distancing season. I thought it was the best thing ever... that is, for the first few posts. But as I continued to see more and more ideas popping up everywhere, every hour, every waking minute of the day, I began to recognize the ever-familiar scent of mom-guilt. Just one little thought that told me I wasn't a good enough or a successful mom if I didn't have three art projects a day. Or if I wasn't running on a particular schedule then I was doing a disservice to my children. And that's when I felt compelled to write about this topic, and remind you mommas, whether this is your first time staying home with your kids, or this has been your life for years, it's okay to not do what everyone else says.
Now before you go freaking out and thinking that I just let my kids run wild all day, or that I don't have some sort of schedule, or that I don't invest in motherhood, let me clarify.
I am not crafty. I don't like mud. I don't like cold weather. I don't like hot weather. I am not a huge lover of trains and cars. I don't have Pinterest boards full of fun toddler activities. And I typically avoid momma blogs because I don't like to play the comparison game.
...And you're over there reading this going, "O-kayyyyy? And?"
It's vitally important for me, as a fellow momma to remind you, that it's okay if you aren't the most creative. It's okay if you don't have a lot of art supplies and buckets of expensive Montessori toys! It's okay if your kids play room looks like a hurricane came, ate some cookies, drank some tea, and left the dishes in the sink. It's okay if you decide that you want to just let them play, on their own, alone with their imagination, and not have every fifteen minutes scheduled out for a new activity! It's okay if you feel overwhelmed and just want to chill on the couch with them while you enjoy a movie and popcorn... at 10am. It's okay to not have this season down to a science!
Do I think you should be lazy butts all the time?
Do I think we mommas need to make an effort and step out of our comfort zones for our children's benefit?
Do I think that we should give our kids a solid routine to benefit boundaries and self-control?
Yes! All day, yes!
But I don't think you're doing it wrong if you don't follow all the plans and procedures of moms on social media. I don't think you are screwing up your children if you have self-proclaimed, "Jammie Days" where you lay around and watch movies.
What I do believe is wrong, is when one mom sits in judgement of other moms who are just trying to figure out what works for them.
Personally, I love reading to my kiddos, so we do that often. My boys love playing outside, so when the weather is nice, which it has been, we spend substantial time in the back yard. My kids love Bible Stories, so when I feel too tired or emotionally worn-out we spend 30 min to an hour watching The Beginners Bible episodes on Youtube. My oldest absolutely loves drawing on a dry erase board, so instead of setting up tons of craft items for him, his expo marker and board get lots of use. I keep toys to a minimum, so they only have a select few toys to choose from at any given time. With most children, the fewer toys they have, the more they play.
I am, by no means, poopooing any of you mommas who want to spend your days crafting away! Or maybe you're trying out a new schedule type to improve your day to day life. Maybe you're just getting new ideas that you've never thought about! All of that is 100% fine! In fact, I encourage that! But please be aware, that if you start to feel like you aren't good enough because you aren't the craftiest, or aren't the smartest, or aren't the most organized...that doesn't mean you aren't doing a good job at motherhood.
None of us moms are perfect! We don't have our mess together 24/7. We still screw stuff up! We still waste time. We still act selfish. And it is in those failures that God has designed it for you discover your great need for His grace. And as you discover that, then you can share, first hand, with your littles, what it means to walk with Jesus. Why we need forgiveness. Why we need His help to do anything truly right and successful. Seek God for the keys to your children's heart. Search out His will, and search out your babe's thoughts to discover what would be most beneficial to your baby, toddler, child, or teenager. Don't let discouragement and mom-guilt overwhelm you. Embrace God's most enduring grace, and get ready to learn. Motherhood is one of God's greatest teaching tools.
Have a good week, Momma. With the Lord's help, you've got this!