I vividly remember one of my first Homeschool Conferences. We had recently decided to begin homeschooling our fifth grader on a trial basis. With a degree in education, I felt fairly confident. We had a few minor adjustment bumps in the road, but overall were doing pretty well so far.
Then I stepped into the exhibit hall at the conference. Within the first three booths, I realized there were evidently quite a few moms who were homeschooling 5-18 of their own children (we have one). They made all of their kids’ clothes. They had huge gardens. They baked all of their bread. From scratch. With flour they had personally ground. Clearly, I was a slacker!
You may not homeschool. Or sew. Or bake bread. I’m fairly certain you don’t grind your own flour (but I’m impressed if you do!). Yet, no matter what you are doing to raise your kids, I know you are super busy. In fact, you may walk around in a constant state of exhaustion. All you really want out of life is 8 hours of solid sleep.
So what is it with these older moms who seem to constantly tell you to “enjoy your kids because their childhood flies by”? Are they crazy? Sure, you love your kids and most days you recognize what a blessing they are, but who has the time to sit back and enjoy them?
You are going to hate me, but this is so very important for you to hear from an experienced mom. Clear whatever you have to clear out of your schedule. Work less hours and live a little less like the “Joneses”. Pull your kids out of an activity. Let them get a 4 on their AP exam. Trust me, none of those things will be as important 10, 20 even 30 years from now as having spent time just having fun with your kids.
Most of you probably remember having lots of fun as a kid. Older generations were over scheduled in high school, but rarely younger than that. There were many hours of playing, reading for fun, and just “hanging out”. When is the last time you just had real, silly fun with your kids? Ten minutes a week ago? Last month? No real memory of the last time? (FYI: Watching your child have fun is not the same as having fun together.)
Your relationship with your children suffers when you don’t have fun with them. You quickly become the lady who constantly fusses at them and bosses them around. Or the man who drags them to church and lectures them on the Bible. You are the robot who drives them to activities. If you don’t have fun with them, you probably aren’t that fun loving mom or dad whom they will always remember fondly (even when they aren’t so happy with you at the moment!).
Yes, those other things are important. Giving your kids strong, healthy spiritual foundations is your top priority. It’s okay though just to have fun every now and then. Play on the playground with them. Go on a hunt for the best doughnuts in America. Laugh at your favorite tv show from your childhood. Tell riddles. Make silly home movies.
Those experienced moms are right this time. Have fun with your kids. Enjoy the time you have with them. As the years pass, you can’t always be close physically to your kids. Those memories of fun times together will almost guarantee though, that you will always be close emotionally. And that, my fellow moms, can often make all the difference in the world.