We all know those parents who won’t take a minute away from parenting — letting their kids’ schedules rule their lives, succumbing to the extra curricular demands of their kids. Right? Maybe you are one of those parents? Maybe you used to be. I never was one.
Soccer practice, Tae Kwon Do, Ballet, Yoga, Play Dates, Art Classes, Music Lessons, plus PTA or PTO meetings and cooking/cleaning and staying after your kid to do whatever it is they have to do to prep for the next day…this is a full time job. Look at that list again. You’re driving to and from activity to activity - probably hanging out at the venue because there’s only 45 minutes to get back in your car, race to the (grocery) store, get something done, and get back to pick up your kid…and some parents just don’t feel comfortable leaving their kids at all. Time crunch or not.
Personally, I thought jamming my kid’s schedule packed with activities was ridiculous. She was a totally creative being and would fill her time after day care playing with her dolls, drawing, telling me stories, watching movies and commenting/discussing them. It helped that my particular child did *not* like leaving home. She wanted to stay home, play at home, be with me, so home we stayed.
But even then, I didn't spend every waking hour with her. I took time to do things for myself: write, talk to friends, have friends over for dinner, work on my performances. By doing these things, I felt fulfilled and I showed my kid my life didn’t center around every single thing she did.
Now, some parents’ lives do center around their kids and they DO feel fulfilled by operating this way. I happen to think that this is unhealthy. Modeling this behavior for your kid teaches her that she’s the center of your universe — if they’re young, it teaches them they’re the center of THE universe. The latter is the bigger problem. Because, like it or not, your kid is the center of no one’s universe but their own. I believe we should model strong, self-actualized behavior for our kids. I am the center of my world - you are the center of your world. I take care of myself so that I can take care of you. You take care of yourself so that you can take care of, say, your friendships, your schoolwork, your hobbies.
We have too many “selfless” moms and dads out here in ChildRearing Land. Get a little selfish. Show that toddler that mom deserves nice things too. I bet you’ll build more respect from that little one, as well.