As a parent working full-time, I get how hard it is to balance life, work, family, and all the duties that go along with it. And then the guilt that comes with being a mother. The never-ending guilt that seems to be gifted to most mothers at the time of delivering their first child. I was no exception. I have experienced ongoing remorse of all of the things I should have done for the past seven-and-a-half years. And then, the ultimatum comes after every pity fest: this time, this time, I am going to make changes. I am not going to work so much. I am not going to yell so much. I am going to play more. I am going to, going to, going to…. And you know what happens? I fall back into the exact same old habits that caught me in the guilt trap in the first place. And on and on it goes. The problem is, I set too high expectations to change all at once. The elevator to world’s best mom is broken. I need to take the stairs, one step at a time.
I had the opportunity to tackle the first step this past week, and it has been amazing. Simply put: cuddling with my children at night. My normal bed-time routine is the hurry up, get to bed, no time for books, quick kiss ‘cuz I got work to go do routine. This week, however, I put aside whatever I needed to do in the evenings and instead spent that extra few minutes with my girls. Then, I took Friday afternoon off to take them shopping. And I put aside the hurry up, walk faster, we gotta go because it’s getting late and I have to put you to bed cuz I got work to do routine aside. I let them go into the stores they wanted. I let them play. I let them look as long as they wanted. We built lego together. We raced through the mall together. We explored all the cool toys together. We laughed through dinner together. We held hands. There were no expectations, just us.
So, step one: putting aside an extra five minutes a day for expectation-free time with my children.