Or should I call it “Unrealistic Expectations”?!? We all had ideas or thoughts in our mind of what life would be like with kids. We would wake up early, have our quiet time, cook breakfast and dress the kids. Then we would spend the morning doing arts and crafts, preschool time and a Bible lesson. Next would come lunch and a two hour nap time. Afterwards we would clean up the house and prepare a delicious meal that will be hot and ready once Daddy walks through the door. Our evenings would be spent spending quality time as a family before we whisk the kids off to bed and spend the rest of the night talking with our husband.
Well 4 kids later I don’t think I have accomplished this lofty goal once. Does that stop me from wanting it? No! Does it stop me from striving towards this goal? No! Does it cause me to feel like a failure if I don’t get it done? Well, maybe…this is something that I am working on.
In the Bible it doesn’t lay out what the perfect day looks like or what kinds of activities we should be doing with our kids. Unfortunate, I know! What it does tell us is to talk about God when we wake up, when we eat and when we lie down. It also tells us to not exasperate our children.
That tells me we should constantly be looking for opportunities to teach our children about God, morals or good choices. Should we do the art project on Thanksgiving? Sure. Should we cut out all the preschool games that help your kids learn how to match colors? Okay. Should we let them help us cook lunch? If you are brave. All these activities are good and fine to do, but the most important thing is to just talk to them about God.
If the other activities are stressing you out or causing you to become irritated with your kids, then you need to rethink about if this is necessary and good. I am an overachiever and a wannabe perfectionist. If I am going to do something I want it to be big and I want it to be perfect. This has caused me lots of stress and frustration. I am slowly learning that they are just as excited about the empty refrigerator box as they are about the 10 step craft that exactly demonstrates the Bible story we are learning about. I have realized the activities were becoming more of a badge for my self-worth as a “Super-mom” than for the actual benefit of the kids.
Now I am trying to refocus. The point of the activities is for the benefit and enjoyment of the kids. When I start to get frustrated or irritated because I don’t have time to prepare the activity or they aren’t cooperating like I would like or it isn’t turning out how I had envisioned, I try to stop and think. Is this necessary? What are my motives for doing this project? Can we do this another time or should I just scrap this idea altogether?
Do you find yourself frustrated with the level of activities you are doing with your kids? If so, maybe you should figure out a way to evaluate the situation and decide what is the beneficial and enjoyable option versus the unrealistic, ideal expectation. I know I am still working on this balance, but as I do figure it out we are able to have more joyful and purposeful days where all involved are having fun and learning.
PS: This post might have been just for me but hopefully you can get something out of it too!