I am, quite often, thankful for social media. I know, it sounds crazy, but I am. I love catching up with old friends and staying close to family that lives far away. I enjoy trying a new recipe or learning some new life hacks.
I mean, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. I long ago quit following news pages – too much sadness. I rarely use Pinterest unless I’m looking for something specific – too much possibility in my already busy life. I try to avoid the comments sections on controversial topics – I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life!
But I enjoy the camaraderie I have found.
Learning others out there struggle with the same things I struggle with brings a tension reliever I often don’t even realize I need. I will heart-react to any meme shared that has to do with Starbucks or Target. Validation that I’m not the only Mom out there in leggings and a messy bun just trying to get through the week can often be the motivation I need to indeed make it through the week.
It’s like, for the most part, we’ve all decided we’ve got each other’s backs. I now see messy houses and kids upset over Christmas gifts. I see disorganized pantries and bento box lunches that look like something my kids would actually eat.
I see Moms giving others and themselves GRACE in this great big crazy stressful world. But you know what I’d like to see more of? Extending that same GRACE to our kids.
Despite all of the above, I still see parents commenting about how their kids would NEVER be allowed to eat that junk! Or posts of kids dressed super fancy – next to their moms in leggings. Where’s the grace for our kids?
Here is the type of grace I’m working on extending to my children. I’m a work in progress for sure!
My preteen refuses to wear anything but leggings and a hoodie. My middle has zero cares whatsoever if what she wears matches. My youngest will sometimes care but is an absolute mess almost as soon as she changes. I’m trying to let go. My middle one said, “Trust me, no one in 5th grade cares whether or not the patterns on my shirt match my pants.” That caught me off guard. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But if they do, she hasn’t heard about it, so then why do *I* care? I’m still teaching her how to match. It’s an important skill. And some occasions require it. But for the most part, I’m trying to show them that grace to be as comfy as I am in what I’m wearing!
I’m exhausted after a day of work. Sometimes I like to just chill and scroll Facebook or watch some TikToks or, heck, even play some Homescapes. But when the kids come home from being required to be good and sit up and sit still and stay in line and be quiet for approximately 6-8 hours of their day, they need to chill! But often, we have to rush them to practice or they have a ton of homework that needs done. I’m learning as much as I can to give them some time when they get home. Go get a snack and chill on your electronic device for an hour. Or go ride your bike with the neighbor kid for an hour. Whatever it is that allows them to decompress a bit before tackling even more responsibility.
I am all for getting kids involved in various activities. Helping them find their “thing.” Getting exercise. Meeting new people. All good things. But I will never forget the day at my daughter’s ballet class one early morning when a particularly small child (3, maybe 4 years old) was just refusing to go to class and the mom was pleading with her to go in. She then listed off all the things SHE (the CHILD) was doing because SHE said she wanted to do them. Dance, cheer, piano, karate – I can’t even remember them all – it was a LONG list. *I* was exhausted just listening to it. What 3-year-old is going to say enough is enough?
We need to help guide our kids into what’s best for them, what allows them to learn and grow, and away from what may be too much. My oldest is in middle school orchestra (she isn’t crazy about it), but this is something we decided we want each of our girls to do – try an instrument of their choosing during middle school. If by high school they don’t want to do it, that’s fine. This winter, though, she had to choose between Winter Color Guard and Upward Cheer. She loves both and ultimately decided on cheer. It’s the last year she can do cheer with Upward but she has the rest of her school career to do color guard. I support this decision to do one and not the other. It would have been way too much otherwise.
Kids are messy. It’s a fact. Their rooms are AWFUL! But it’s their space. Each of my kids’ rooms is in varying levels of disarray. My oldest is neater. She probably has a messy desk and a laundry basket of clothes that need put away and an unmade bed. My middle kid’s room is probably the most organized but is ALWAYS covered in dirty laundry! The youngest one’s room… yeah, you can’t even see the floor. Now, we do make them clean their rooms occasionally. But for the most part, their space is not my focus. *I* need my main living area clean and organized, and I teach them about chores and helping and how to clean and make sure they help with our shared spaces. But otherwise, if they want to sleep in a messy bedroom most days, that’s on them.
I know every family is different and every parent/child’s needs are different. Everyone has to do what’s best for them. I just hope we all take a moment to reflect and try to offer some grace to ourselves and also to our little ones. We all could sure use some these days!