One of my goals for February is to try to enjoy my at home days with my kids more. I am tired of all of us zoning out in front of PBS, usually with my computer open next to me. I'm also not interested in going to the other extreme and wearing myself out by trying to please everyone but me. I want to have fun too.
So, here are the 5 principles I'm going to work on to try to enjoy this whole motherhood ride a little more. Most of it is probably as wrong as it is right, but that's the way with everything, isn't it?
1. Do things you enjoy and are good at. Motherhood shouldn't be a constant sacrifice. Why can't the things that you do with your kid be fun for both of you? It sounds stupid, but it's so much easier to enjoy activities with kids when you choose activities you enjoy. I have no knack for crafts or sensory play, but I love to read and I throw a damn good tea party. (If you were wondering? BG takes her imaginary tea with 15 imaginary sugars. Pooh Bear takes one. Baby just drinks milk.)
2. Do things you don't enjoy and aren't good at. I am not good at drawing. I can't carry a tune. When it comes to throwing and catching, I am not gifted. In my pre-mom life, I was successful by studiously avoiding everything at which I didn't excel. My kid doesn't let me get away with that crap. And the truth is, whatever I draw or sing, or whatever direction I throw a basketball in, she thinks it's fantastic. And that's pretty amazing.
3. Try to let go of perfectionism. The point of doing a craft or a baking project or anything is the process of doing it together, not the product. This is so hard for me, as I grit my teeth while cookie dough flies across the room, or try not to correct her when she reads the book "all by myself." But I'm trying. And I'm growing.
4. Don't plan every minute - but plan some of them. If I have no ideas for things we can do, I usually feel defeated pretty quickly. The vast uninterrupted span of time in a full day at home with both kids is really not good for my brain. I tend to turn the TV on and leave it on just to have something happening. But on days when I say "Okay, we're going to bake something, fold laundry together, and play Just Dance," then I feel better - even when the activities I plan only take a few minutes out of the long stretch. It also becomes a problem though when I think I need to fill every minute with "meaningful activities." We all need some margin, and some downtime, and BG is perfectly capable of figuring out what to do herself some of the time. I can either follow her lead or do my own thing, and both are beneficial.
5. Give yourself permission not to enjoy it all. For goodness sake, who could? Sometimes, you play in the snow or let your kid play with playdough, and you are looking at your watch the whole time, and that's totally normal! The less pressure you have to enjoy everything your kid does, the more you'll be willing to let *them* do it, and the more you'll find moments you do enjoy.