Yesterday I was in a funk of a day. I had not gotten enough sleep the night before, which always leads to me dragging all day long. I find that I struggle more with my responsibilities as a mother when I feel this way. I want to be lazy, I am not as patient, I feel bad for not keeping my kids engaged in something worthwhile. Unfortunately, I like to believe that every mother has a day or two like this now and then. We are not perfect as mothers. Some days, our kids watch a lot of TV. That is just a fact.
It is hard for me to not beat myself up on those days. As mothers, we are naturally hard on ourselves. We feel bad when we are failing or not doing things quite right. But, there is no need to wallow in our misery. Instead, we need to pick ourselves up the next day, pray for the Lord’s help and vow to do better the next. At least, that is what I try to do when I have an off day like yesterday.
I heard a quote the other day that I liked. “Parents worry about their kids’ boredom, so they schedule their lives to keep them busy…But empty hours teach children how to create their own happiness.” –From the book, “The Over-Scheduled Child.
How true that is. I often feel so bad that I don’t sit down for hours and play barbies with my daughter, or feel bad that they are not involved in every extra-curricular activity that their heart desires. But, at the same time, I don’t remember being entertained by my mother non-stop. Or, having play dates every day of the week. Instead, my childhood is filled with memories of playing on the trampoline in the backyard, playing make-believe at the little stream behind my house, or playing barbies in my room with a close friend for hours on end. Those memories are happy ones.
As mothers, our greatest responsibility is to be a teacher. Sure, we need to spend time with our children playing, too. And, of course I love a play date with other Moms to talk to, but the time when they are little, and teachable is so short. In 2000, President Gordon B. Hinkley gave us a list of things we should be teaching our children. These are the things he thinks are the most important below:
Teach Them To Seek for Good Friends
Teach Them To Value Education
Teach Them to Respect Their Bodies
Teach Your Children to Avoid Illegal Drugs
Teach Them to Be Honest
Teach Them to Be Virtuous
Teach Them to Pray
I have to say that when I look at this list, I feel a little more confident. I feel like I am doing my job. I feel like I might just be succeeding at what the Lord expects of me. Sure, I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. Sure, my children might not be perfect, but they’re trying. He goes on to say, “Let your first interest be in your home. The baby you hold in your arms will grow quickly as the sunrise and the sunset of the rushing days.” I love his quotes.
When I look at my six-year old, I can see the baby she was not that long ago. But, it feels like it went by in a flash. Take the time to be engaged, do your job, and have fun doing the most important job in the world. Being a Mom. If you can do all that, then you will have happy kids.