Being Enough

Not long ago, I posted about swimming amongst waves of mom guilt.  It was quite odd timing considering Preslie had recently had a whirlwind month of December with seemingly endless Christmas activities, but in our home, that is not the norm.  I shared an article on Facebook tonight about how it seems in this current era, moms are completely invalidating the importance of just being a mom.  We are pressured by Pinterest of who can be the craftiest or most creative, or social media taunts us when we see blogs and instagram feeds full of the incredible playdough country our children created all while I garauntee the mom was more busy staging pictures rather than interacting in the fun.  How do I know this?  Because at times, I have been guilty too.  Or maybe it's not a craft.  It's that Facebook friend who seems to post daily their schedules similar to at 10:03am "at the park on this beautiful day," then a picture with the caption, "Nothing like a yogurt date after lunch," and then at 3:30pm, "A post nap trip to the Perot Museum," as you read and shrug your shoulders thinking, "well, we are still in pajamas."  Of course, I have awesome days like that in our book too.  Don't we all?  And if you follow me on Instagram, I am the QUEEN of over sharing (just get ready, next weekend I am heading to Santa Monica with Paige to see Justin Timberlake--don't think for a second I won't be posting annoying pictures are every stop), but sometimes it feels like social media makes it possible for other people's standards of "the good enough life" to effect what my own perception of "the good enough life" is. 

For our family, it isn't that.  At all.  When Preslie was an infant and I began to learn a lot about what days looked like with children, I made a vow to teach Preslie the importance of being home.  I found that I needed to get out with her at least once a day not to lost my sanity, but I failed to consider how that would effect her later.  My personal opinion is that as our children age, they learn to be certain ways from how we raised them.  I know that upon reading that initially, many people would shake their heads in disagreement, but take this for example.  

Preslie was a strong-willed, aggressive, mind-of-her-own infant.  She was a crier.  She did things the way she wanted.  When she turned one, we began to discipline her.  No, no...not yelling and the negative connotation of discipline, but the athlete type definition.  We conditioned her so to say by laying a foundation of rules, norms, parameters, etc.  Instead of moving the table she wanted to stand on, we repeatedly taught that standing on furniture is disrespectful, instead of stopping the car when she cried to get out of her car seat or dropped her snack, we kept going and taught her patience and that crying wouldn't kill her, in fact it was a part of life.  Instead of playing into fears, like maybe thunder or being sick, we talked her through it.  When she was old enough to play, we reinforced time to play independently.  Then came real true discipline, back in the really early toddler stage of 18 months; we didn't do the whole negotiate, bargain, and create options for a child too young to even form a sentence, but instead, we did real rules based on principalities.  We said "no" ALOT, sometimes, just to say "NO" so she learned respect, obedience, and boundaries.  Even small battles counted in our house.  I remember crying every day trying to teach one rule or one idea.  It was TOUGH work.  Really, really work tough work.  She was ridiculously strong-willed, and I have plenty of documentation right here on this blog.  If you know Preslie now, like actually have met her, you know she is nothing like she was as an infant.  

As she got older, I realized she would become dependent on needing to get out of the house because I had modeled for her that we needed to get out every day for our sanity.  I realized it was teaching her to not be satisfied with just being home.  Not to mention, that on the go lifestyle seemed to overstimulate her often causing major sleep disruptions and we knew that it wasn't proving to be a good fit for our family.  Unlike the above, where we had to condition her to be obedient, she had learned that behavior of being pushed to the brink from me.  So we began to work on staying home more.  I vowed to raise Preslie with an emphasis on finding comfort in being home.  Being okay with being bored.  And this, I believe, played a big part in her learning to occupy her own time, prompting creativity as she aged.  With this lesson, came balance too.  Like so much, I didn't want to in turn teach her to be a hermit and not enjoy going out, or being uncomfortable out of the house.  When she was one, we started two at home days in conjunction with either having an activity pre nap or post nap, but not both.  It worked really well for her.  Over time, she began to crave her at home time with her toys in equal balance to craving social time and going to the store or to see friends. 

Here we are at three years old.  Preslie's schedule is now very busy with school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and every other Friday, BSF on Wednesdays and church on Sundays.  We've hit a point that it is pivotal to make at least one day a week strictly at home, no matter how bad I, as the mama, want to leave.  We still mostly adhere to one activity a day, as to not completely overstimulate her, and we are very, very pleased with her natural balance of social cravings and being at home to play with her toys cravings.  

But here's the catch, in this day of watching children picked up from school then taken for a special treat, and off to the park surrounded with trips to movies or whatever else it may be, I can't help but wonder if I am depriving Preslie.  This is where my post on mom guilt came from.  I have worked HARD to foster the best environment for Preslie.  Adam and I together put HARD work into parenting our children.  We rarely think for the now, mostly focusing on the effects on our actions now in their lives.  Hence why I am pretty sure my friends think I am Nazi mom, but at the end of the day, Preslie makes us really proud.  And when we get too proud, she is always really good at humbling us with some bad behavior.  Preslie didn't start out with this sweet demeanor--it was learned, so why on earth do I feel guilty for the hard work we put in?  We had to break the learned behavior from us of craving the need to be satisfied my being away from home, so why do I feel like just being me with her while she runs around the backyard with her barbies is not enough?  Why do I feel like one trip for a cupcake or yogurt a month isn't enough?  Why do I feel a failure because she has never been to the Fort Worth Children's Museum?  

The answer is simple: because in my mind, other people's "Good Enough Life" is doing just that, so maybe my good enough life should equate to that, too.  But finally, after reading this article, my guilt was immediately eradicated as I found myself for the first time fully confident in my decision to be just enough staying at home.  Being just enough mom doing what I do every day.  

From this article, I didn't just shed guilt, but I also learned that I need to make these moments at home count more.  I need to drop what I am doing and pay more attention to the Barbie playing, color mania, lego building, princess twirling moments and be a PART of the moment and not watching from the sidelines.  

Note:  there is NOTHING wrong with the opposite "on the go" lifestyle.  Obviously, a little of my guilt may rise from wishing I was a little more like that.  These are my feelings in relation to MY family with zero judgement placed outside what works for us. Many children are not affected at all by being out about more than home, but the moment my one year old began to lose complacency at home, I knew I had to do something about it.  Don't forget, Blakely is only one and will be forced to be on the go due to Preslie's schedule, so I may be eating my own words one day.  They are opposites you know. 

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