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Do you ever feel as if you are on a parenting treadmill trying desperately to catch up? There is always one more thing to do. It doesn’t have to be like this. Parenting can and should be fun. Lots of fun! Follow these 4 simple steps to create space and find the joy. It might just save your sanity!
Like anyone who writes a blog I tend to spend a lot of time reading a lot of parenting posts. It is clear that there is a wealth of information out there for parents. There are pages and pages of ideas for
- Sensory bins
- Literacy and math activities for preschoolers
- Elaborate crafts using every available material you can imagine
- The most elaborate food ideas
- Sure fire techniques to deal with every parenting issue from disrespect to toilet training
- Detailed plans for storage of craft supplies or toys
And much, much more
Sometimes it takes my breath away. Often it leaves me feeling overwhelmed.
I brought my children up before the Internet. As a family we were not connected to the web until my boys were in their tweens. In many ways I am glad. All this information would have left me feeling totally inadequate.
The Curse of The Parenting Treadmill
Do you ever feel as if you are on a parenting treadmill trying desperately to catch up? There is always more you can do
- One more craft.
- More parenting posts to read
- One more activity to organize
- Yet another parenting strategy to implement.
And round and round it goes. Do you want to stop the treadmill and find a way to bring some sanity into this frenetic pace of life?
4 steps to help you create space and find joy
1. Treasure the time you have with your children now
If you are worried about the things that haven’t done, your full attention can’t be on enjoying your family today. Your children are with you NOW. Time is fleeting and before you know it you will be helping them pack for college.
One of the best ways to enjoy your children is to start living in the present. Instead of focusing on all the things you need to do, learn how to put them aside and start treasuring the precious moments with your children.
2. Let go of your worry about missing out
There is a phenomenon that many simplicity bloggers are talking about these days. It is F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out). This fear is one of the things that keeps us glued to social media and our computers.
I think we parents also worry that our kids might be missing out.
- If I don’t make sensory bins my children will miss out on meaningful experiences and be less perceptive.
- I should spend time making on pre-literacy and math games or my child will miss will be behind when they get to school.
- How can I serve plain ordinary bananas when other mothers are making Minion bananas?
Unfortunately all these wonderful ideas on the Internet have increased expectations. Before the Internet parents could only compare themselves with the people they knew. Now we are comparing ourselves with the whole world!
All this comparing and doing = frazzled parents and time away from family.
Let me reassure you that your children won’t miss out if you don’t
- Make sensory bins – Just take your kids outside and let them play. There are unlimited sensory opportunities in nature. Your children will find them without any prompting from you. Easy peasy!
- Organize literacy games- just read to your kids every day. Studies indicate that reading to your children is the best way to encourage reading.
- Create enriching learning activities – instead let your kids have lots of time for free play. Studies show it is the best way to give your kids an academic advantage.
- Scour Pinterest for activity ideas- download and print these play prompt cards and spend some time playing with your kids?
Do you get the idea? Stop worrying. Close that computer for a while. Slow down the pinning. Your children won’t miss anything important and you will enjoy your time together as a family more.
3. Embrace the idea of less
- When we DO less we create space for what is really important.
- When we OWN less we automatically reduce the amount of time needed for cleaning and organizing.
Can I encourage you to Stop! Slow Down and Simplify?
I have found that embracing less allows me to fully enjoy what I have? Try reducing the number of toys your children have and watch what happens. You will be amazed. We were!
The journey from too much to less can be challenging, but you will reap the rewards of better health, deeper connections and happiness
4. Find what gives you joy and go there
I am not suggesting that we give up all the things we do for our children.
- If you enjoy creating sensory bins then go ahead and make them.
- If you find joy in arts and crafts; it makes sense for you to find and enjoy craft projects with your family.
- Love science? Then go ahead and enjoy science projects with your kids.
Remember that what gives others joy won’t necessarily be the same. Just because you read a post about a mom creating amazing things from bananas doesn’t mean you have to follow suite …. unless of course decorating bananas brings you joy.
When we discover and follow what gives us joy our lives become meaningful and fun. Why should we wait until our kids are grown before doing that? Surely we can incorporate this idea into the way we spend time with our children?
Parenting Should Be Fun
It is unrealistic to expect every minute to be wonderful. Parenting can be really hard at times. Still I hope we can experience lots of joy and laughter with our families.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the demands of parenting, perhaps it is time to make some changes. Take a pause and reassess.
It might mean taking a break from Pinterest, going back to simple play, or addressing the fear of missing out. It will almost certainly mean letting go of stuff and time commitments.
Still once you get off the parenting treadmill, you may discover that you already have everything you need to do an amazing job.
The secret to being a good parent is not found on-line. You will discover it as you play and laugh with your children.