Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When Your Own Expectations of Parenting are Too High

As sat in my kitchen, painstakingly assembling 24 "gumball machine" Valentines for Mattis' class, I began to wonder...

"I wonder if he'll appreciate all this time and energy I am putting into his class Valentines."

I could have easily just gone to the grocery store, and bought some cute Superhero Valentines for him to pass out to his class. You know, the ones that come in packs of 24 where you have to tear along the perforated edges to separate each card. But no, he asked if I could find him "gumball Valentines". If you haven't been in the "Valentines Day" aisle at your local grocery store, there is no such thing as "gumball Valentines". I had to scour the Internet, and finally found some Pinterest-worthy Valentines for Mattis to pass out to his classmates. Little did I know that these little suckers were the IKEA furniture of Valentines. It took me over an hour to assemble 24 Valentines.

I know they look pretty simple, but I assure you, THEY. WERE. NOT. I carefully counted out 10 gumballs a piece into the little clear plastic cellophane bags...then had to twist the open end to stick into a tiny hole at the bottom of the "gumball machine"...tape the part of the bag that was poking through the back down to the back of the Valentine so that it wouldn't slip out...and then taped down the top of the bag with a cute little heart sticker to give the Valentine the illusion of a gumball machine with actual gumballs inside of it. 

I kept thinking to myself, "I hope that one day, when Mattis is Dr. Romer or General Romer (or whatever his little heart desires to be) that he will tell someone the story about that one time his mom spent HOURS making gumball Valentines for his class."

Truth is, who knows if he'll even remember.

But as a mom, I struggle constantly with trying to make every. single. little. detail. of my children's lives special. My husband constantly rolls his eyes at me and my craziness when it comes to the things I "celebrate" for my kids. (I married a superstar though, and he always goes along with it)

"What?? It's President's Day?!? let's break out the red, white, and blue streamers, and have George Washington shaped pancakes!!!" (Just kidding. I have never celebrated President's day with my kids, nor have I made GW shaped pancakes.). But I do make each and every "major" holiday a big fiesta in our home to the point where I stress out sometimes. 

I just want my kids to have memorable childhoods. One of my biggest fears is that my children will grow older and say things like, "so and so's parents did this for them." Or even worse..."my childhood was just ok...nothing memorable." I would be devastated if my kids ever thought that!

I had a wonderful childhood. My parents worked. A LOT. But when they did take time off from work, we went on extravagant vacations. My passport was pretty full by the time I was 18. My dad took us on road trips all over the United States. We even took a random road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas once...just because. So random. But we went. I think about those memories often.

Because both of my parents worked, they also missed out on things. My mom was never a "room mom", and she never volunteered at my school. As a little kid, I remember being jealous of the kids whose parents helped out in the classroom all the time. So because of this memory, I literally tire myself out trying to volunteer as much as possible at both my childrens' schools while simultaneously
trying to run a household...oftentimes alone because my husband is a Marine. I have a hard time saying "no" when my kid's teachers ask for my help. I literally will reconfigure my entire schedule and my life to be at their school. It sucks.

This is why I am the way I am. As a Christian woman, I know that my parenting should be solely focused on Him. Leading my children to Him. Teaching my children about HIS never ending and unconditional love. 

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, but the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." -Titus 3:4-5

I'm human though, and I find myself trying to selfishly please myself by trying to throw myself into every aspect of my children's lives hoping that one day, they'll think I was worthy enough to be their mom. When in reality, I should be spending more energy showing my children of how worthy they are because of God. 

Parenting is tough. It's so cliché, but it's the truth. Everyone wouldn't be saying it, if it weren't. We as parents all have a fear of failing our children and/or raising children that don't meet our own expectations. 

I constantly have to stop and tell myself, "am I doing this to my kids so they meet MY expectations? Does this glorify God?"

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and Mattis has 24 adorable "gumball Valentines" just like he requested. He is so excited to pass them out. Who knows...maybe one day at the office, he'll tell a coworker about "that one time" when his mom assembled the coolest Valentines for him. Most likely not. But I'm ok with that. As much as I complained to myself as I put those gumball machines together, seeing the joy on his face when he came home and saw them laying on the counter made my heart burst....

So I'll keep being over the top and ridiculous with the things I do for my kids (while silently complaining at times), because the joy I see on their faces in that moment is what I live for. I'll just have to be ok with the fact that they won't remember every single little thing I did for them when they are older. And I pray every single night after I've put them to bed...that I was a "good enough" example to them of what it truly means to be a Christ follower. 

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day tomorrow, friends!

1 comment:

  1. I’m the same way. My husband also think I’m way over the top. I celebrate each birthday like it will be their last and always go above and beyond to the point where I stress way more then I should. And each sibling also gets a gift just because we are all celebrating. Because that’s how I was raised. Justin thinks I’m crazy but I don’t care. When it comes to my children’s happiness you can put a price on that. So you go over the top of you want to. I have amazing memories of all those road trips my parents use to take us on. Asian parents don’t do much of the school activities so I definitely feel you there. I don’t volunteer at my kids school but you better best believe if the teachers ask for something I’m all over it!! For Valentine’s Day I made their Valentine’s Day cards lol. I have a cricut machine and I stayed up all night marking sure each card was PERFECT!!! Love your blog.


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