One of the best things about having a 15 year old and a 5 year old is that I kind of get a "do over" with the youngest. I look back at how strict and unwavering I was with my oldest and I am sad. Now, I am probably harder on myself than anyone...we went to the park and played in the dirt, went for bike rides and visited the library. He played the drums in the middle of the kitchen floor with all of my pots and pans....I JUST replaced my dented and crumpled muffin tins from those days. We had fun and he thrived as a child. I think I made the mistake that so many new moms make...I tried to do everything and thought that I was failing if things weren't just so. Now, while I still feel those feelings of failure from time to time, I am trying to lighten up.
I was given a book years ago that I read from time to time. Wonderful Ways to Love a Child by Judy Ford has wonderful insight and practical ways be a better parent. I picked it up today and it opened to the following:
"Your children are with you for such a short time. Take every opportunity to be happy so that you can savor the moments. To be serious, burdened, constantly critical and negative requires so much effort. But to be relaxed and lighthearted comes much more naturally and is healthier too. Your children will be much more manageable when you're not stressed out. Slow down. It requires a shift in focus from the demanding task at hand, and you may have to remind yourself about what your priorities really are, but your whole family will benefit. The dishes may sit in the sink a little longer, or that load of laundry may go undone for another day, but were they really more important than sharing a bedtime story with your preschooler and talking about her day?"
There are so many more wise words in this book. I just discovered that Judy Ford has other books....I have "Wonderful Ways to Love a Teen: ...Even When It Seems Impossible" being shipped to me as we speak!