I love my girls with my whole heart and sincerely desire to be the best mom I can be, but I am far from perfect and continually fall short (and if we’re honest, don’t we all – including those who put off the impression that they have it all together). I sometimes lose patience and yell at my kids, forget to wash nap mats, and ditch the meal plan for takeout more often than I’d like to admit. All moms struggle with guilt from time to time, and I think working moms especially do. No matter how much of an effort we put forth to be balanced in our work and home lives, there’s always that nagging feeling that we aren’t doing “enough” with or for our kids. I’m sure stay at home moms experience this to some extent as well, because they are juggling different responsibilities – constant upkeep of the house, volunteer projects, etc. – along with kid time. While most of it is probably unjustified, and undoubtedly made worse by our social networked comparison-happy culture, feelings of “mom guilt” are very real and, if we dwell on them, can hold us back from experiencing true freedom and joy as we fulfill our significant God-given role of shaping our children’s lives.
Something I’ve noticed in my short time of being a mom is that we really make the job so much harder than it has to be. My five-year-old often remarks that days that seem uneventful in my adult eyes are “the best day ever.” Kids are very easily impressed, especially young kids. The world is their oyster; everything is new, shiny, and exciting to them. I was reminded of this today, after my daughter’s first field trip, which she declared to be “the best field trip ever.”
Kids want one thing from us the most – our undivided attention. Our former pastor used to say that children spell love t-i-m-e, and I agree. Giving our full attention to our kids paired with a simple but fun or unexpected activity is a surefire formula to make each day “the best day ever” in our kids’ eyes. Forget complicated Pinterest crafts, forget fancy animal-shaped snacks, forget planning elaborate outings that leave everyone exhausted… and focus more on the quality of your time rather than the number or complexity of activities, or how good the photos turn out (or even if there are photos!).
So, if you want to be the “best mom ever” and make your kids’ days “the best ever,” stop measuring minutes and instead, give freely of yourself – your attention, your presence, your smile, and your joy. Whether you have three hours in between work and activities or all day to spend with your kids, set aside some special times to focus solely on them. Plan a fun, simple activity to do together (or better yet, let them choose), put your phone far away, and spend time looking into their eyes, listening to them, soaking up their laughter, and marveling at how much they’ve grown and changed. In this over-scheduled world where technology constantly protests healthy boundaries, there’s truly no greater gift to our kids than our full presence. No matter how badly our day or week has started out, there’s no better time than the present to turn it around one intentional choice and action at a time. When I feel discouraged, I take great hope in Philippians 2:13: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
I’m preaching to myself as much as anyone, but this was on my heart today, and I felt led to share! What can you do differently to make tomorrow – or even today – “the best day ever?”