I have the privilege of reading an advanced copy of Jen Hatmaker's newest book, Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life (out August 8, 2017). I read it quickly and have since been pondering some of the thoughts in various chapters. One particular quote resonated with me and has had me wrestling internally, especially lately.
In a chapter titled "Moms, We’re Fine" Jen writes:
Motherhood often feels like a game of guilt management; sometimes the guilt is overwhelming and debilitating, sometimes just a low simmer, but it always feels right there.
I am in the trenches of motherhood, parenting a 4- and 7-year-old. I do feel that there’s always some aspect that is nagging at me trying to fill me with guilt over something I’m not doing or am doing incorrectly. Right now my guilt centers around playing with my children. The feeling of being obligated to play with them constantly presses on me. I read somewhere that I am not supposed to be their constant source of entertainment, that they need to learn how to deal with boredom on their own and I do agree with that concept. Because I don’t work outside the home I believe that part of my job is to interact purposefully and intentionally with my children regularly (and I bet a lot of working moms feel that they should spend some, most or all of their non-work time connecting with their kids as well). But what exactly does that mean and look like? And what is the right balance?
Yes there are things I need to get done but how much time should I allot for chores, play, etc and what types of play count? Is it fine to say, “I will do X, Y or Z with you but not T?” [T for me being imaginary play. I will read books, play board and card games, build Legos, practice sports, and hide and seek. Playing good guys versus bad guys with the Lego men every day (and having to be the good guys ALL THE TIME) wears me out. "Mommy, pretend the bad guys are going to steal the good guys' hide out."]
My husband and I have tried to recall our childhoods and
don’t have memories of our parents playing toys with us. I remember
playing Barbies and dolls on my own for hours. I remember playing Micromachines
and Pogs with my brother. I remember days of running around outside
with neighbors. I remember seeing my parents doing yardwork and housework. I
remember mowing the lawn with my dad on our riding mower, playing basketball as a family, family movie nights in the basement. I remember fun birthday parties. I remember my parents coming to my sporting
events, school performances and award ceremonies. I just don’t remember ever playing Barbies or “let’s pretend” with them. I still have positive memories
and feelings of my parents and childhood. I felt loved and supported.
|How do I say "no" to this face?!|
|Or "no" to this one?!|