I read an article last week in Parents Magazine that was devoted to the idea of “leaning back” from our kids. What does that mean exactly? It means that we, as a society, get so wrapped up in our children’s lives that we do not have lives of our own. I’m guilty of this. I think most stay-at-home moms are.
As stay-at-home moms, many of us feel that we have lost our identity. It’s unavoidable. Even, this my blog, my outlet, is devoted to raising Corbin and Lynley. It’s hard to turn off mommy-mode. What else could I possibly do with myself, I often think? The truth is that I do not know. (I’m making it a goal to figure that out.) But even working moms and dads with things other than child-rearing to occupy their time are guilty of falling into this parenting style in their free time.
We spend so much time finding ways to entertain our kids, not necessarily a bad thing, that we leave no free time for our own interests. It’s great for kids to have involved parents, but the point of the Parents article was to say that it is okay if you do not have full schedules of play dates, soccer and ballet practices and music lessons day in and day out. It’s perfectly ok to have lazy days, or in my case a lazy WEEK! It’s ok to let the kids be bored and find ways to entertain themselves. They’ll turn out just fine, and even possibly still win a Nobel Peace Prize! Leaning back helps us to be happier, less-stressed parents. <<Click here to tweet that!
I’m making, taking a step back one of my New year’s resolutions. (and going on more dates with my hubby!) Yes, my sole job for the foreseeable future is to provide a nurturing, loving environment for my children to learn and grow in. But they don’t need me holding their hand every minute of our day. In fact, that would be doing them a disservice. As Corbin and Lynley have gotten older, they’ve begun to play together. We still have our scheduled play time together, where I work on Tot School activities with them and practice saying first words like ball, cat, dog, etc. But much of the time I spend in the play room with the babies is in the corner by myself!
Imagine this… Mommy sitting in the middle of a pile of stuffed friends with a blanket over my head saying, “Lynley, Corbin, where’s Mommy? Come find me!” Repeat 5x. Silence. I peek out from behind my hiding spot and find them highly engaged in a game of poking each others faces! Kind of sad for me because as they get older they will want less and less to do with me, but this is also a very proud moment for me. They’ve developed a friendship already and know they can count on each other when Mommy is not near. It melts my heart. But more importantly… it gives me a little bit of down time. SCORE!
They will play together in their play room for up to 45 minutes without me. I peek around the corner periodically to make sure all is well. I sit in the other room listening to them laugh. This gives some time to fold laundry, just relax or check email, Facebook , etc. It’s awesome! And they are fine. Whether I am in the room playing with them every second of the day or letting them come up with their own ways to play, at the end of the day, They are happy. They are loved. They are healthy. <<Click here to tweet that too!
So let’s all get out of this “mompetition” mode where we feel the need to raise baby geniuses, literary scholars and pro athletes by age 5! Lean back a little. Love them. Encourage them. Let them choose their dreams. And above all else, support them. <<And click here to tweet that!