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Overwhelmed and falling short

by Traci Schumacher on Thu, 10/11/2012 - 10:01am

Sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or the weight of my world anyway. Like it's all up to me to “get it right,”especially where my kids are concerned. I want the best for my kids, just like you. And it's up to me to encourage them, enrich them, inspire them. I want them to be amazed by this amazing world in which we live. I want them to experience the wonder of nature and science and God.

Life is crazy and wonderful and complicated, and part of our mom-job is to share that with our children. There is so much to learn beyond a classroom. There are so many great ideas of things to do with our kids to enrich them and draw our family closer together. Read classic books together at bed time. Help them learn a foreign language. Create a larger-than-life art project together. Take them to historic places and discuss what happened there. Introduce them to different cultures. Practice good manners with a special dinner once a month. Read and discuss books together about people of great character.

So many great ideas. And it's so hard to do them all. Impossible, in fact. So I find myself always falling short. In the time that we have in our family life, I just can't manage to get everything done that I want to do – with my kids, in our home, for myself. Some days it takes me eight hours to get around to washing the dog's bed that she had an accident in... simply because there are too many other pressing issues. No time at all for that in-depth discussion with my kids about good character.

When I start to get down on myself for my many short-comings, I have to take a step back and breathe. It's great to have plans and ideas, but maybe I could just focus on one or two special themes at a time, saving the others for later. It might help to think of our parenting in terms of school (since we are our children's primary educators after all). This “quarter” (however long I decide that to be) we'll focus especially on manners. Next “quarter” we'll concentrate on generosity and kindness.

I have to realize my limitations even as I pursue the ideals. We live in a fallen world, far short of perfection. Instead of feeling guilty for not fulfilling my self-imposed standards of what's best for my kids, I need to remember that I am their best mother. We were made for each other. And more than any plans for their betterment, they need me. My presence and my love. That much I can surely do. And somehow, by grace, the rest will fall into place.

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