As a mom of twins I feel guilty. Guilty all the time about everything. Guilty that I let my children eat frozen food. Guilty that they have access to 24 hour cartoons. Guilty that they have more toys than I ever had. I feel guilty when I put a movie on in the car so they just leave me alone. There is guilt about taking care of myself, guilt that I don’t spend enough time with them. Guilt every time I leave them with Grandma.
Aren’t you tired of it? I know I am. Why is “now” looked down on? Why is modern parenting often a source of scorn and derision for the older generations? I guess I think that when our parents were raising us they wished for some of the things we had. They wished it was easier. I’ve wondered (more times than I can count on my fingers) how my parents did it and with four children. There were no iPads, no kids television channels. There was the outside, books, and other small things that kept us entertained. I know I spent hours outside in the summer, alone, when I was really young. I mean REALLY young. On my bike, at my friends. I was BORED a lot. Maybe it was better? I don’t know. It was my time, not theirs. We have all heard that the time we grew up in was a better time, an easier time. Perhaps it was. Or perhaps it was just different than now?
I want to be thankful for being a parent in this modern age; I want to be thankful that I have easy access to more knowledge to help my children learn and grow. But I also don’t want to get trapped in the past. Those times are gone and as parents we need to spend less time wracked with guilt over the past and be there for our kids; take them places and do things with them that we never got to do. But don’t feel guilty when we use the world we live in to our advantage: the convenience of pre-cut and packed organic fruits and veggies, and iPads in the grocery store…I can watch Bugs Bunny whenever I want! When I was a kid that was the definition of heaven to me. I remember waiting each year for the Wizard of Oz to come on live TV. Now my little girl who loves that movie as much as I did can watch it whenever she wants. But the availability of our modern world does not diminish the wonder.
So I think from this point on I am going to be thankful for the here and now. I am going to be thankful that my kids hear music from all over the world. I didn’t hear The Beatles till I was 19. I am going to be thankful they eat and like sushi. I didn’t have sushi till I was in my mid 20s. I am going to be glad that they know that they can help other kids around the world by donating their toys and their time. I am also going to be thrilled for things like frozen corn dogs and McDonald’s drive through. Save me your mom shaming. I don’t want to hear it. My kids love a chicken nugget and so do yours. It doesn’t matter if you buy the soy vegan “chikin” or not.
So moms out there, please ease up on yourselves. Take advantage of this wonderful modern world we live in. Be thankful for cell phones and fast food. Be thankful for everything you have. Will you still feel guilty? Yes. It is the nature of being a parent. But I think that when you love your children and want the best for them that guides your hand. It reminds us all to keep things in balance. That is what this ride of parenthood is about right? Balance.
As much as we would like to be perfect and raise perfect children, we will never be that, and our kids will be just who they are. So please stop worrying about too much TV and not enough reading. Or worrying about your kids getting dirty or playing in a perfectly clean and safe environment. Rather focus on the good we all have. We live in a rich and wonderful world that has so much to show and offer the young people in our care. Introduce them to that world and all the good it holds. How you do it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you love them and are there for them always. Reframe that thinking, parents. We only have one shot at this. Wouldn’t you like to make it a joyful ride rather than a guilt-ridden one?
Katie Sutton works in the IT field and is the proud mom of nearly four year old boy/girl twins. She lives in Denver Colorado with her husband, her kids, two cats and one dog. She enjoys writing, reading and travel, all of course when the twins allow. She hopes her articles will give inspiration and a glimpse into her crazy world. She thinks life is full of new wonderful experiences at all turns and she cannot wait to live that life to the fullest. To read more articles by Katie on Twiniversity, click here.