Parenting today seems very polarized when viewed through the idealized lens of social media. On one hand, you have the Pinterest perfect colour coded craft rooms and coordinated family planning binders. On the other, you have the “messy house, happy kid” movement where each moment of life is absorbed by awesome fun. You have fat shaming and fit shaming. You have obsessively planned pre-k homeschool modules and you have articles that suggest the same hyper-attentive parenting practices cause narcissism.
It’s almost dizzying. And it makes me tired.
Until you realize that one thing is missing in every one of these scenarios. Balance.
And what really could be better for kids than a balanced mommy and a balanced home? I know I’ve had days where my life has swung out of balance… and it feels terrible. Maybe it’s bedtime and the house is a mess, maybe we didn’t even read one book, or maybe (cringe) I missed my workout. It feels like I’m off my axis. Slipping.
I know it too when my life is in balance. For me, that doesn’t mean a spotless house, a day full of planned and perfectly executed preschool activities or a day full of workouts. It means that I’ve contributed a bit to each area in my life that keeps me healthy and happy. It’s a peaceful feeling.
Of course, balance is different for everyone. If they are truly happy in a messy house, they are probably better parents for it. If putting in an hour to finish knitting a scarf is what keeps them in balance, get the needles out.
Mothers spend more time now with their children than they did in the 70s – when most women didn’t work outside the home. I think that’s a good thing. But I also think it’s ok to leave kids to their own devices every now and again to make sure the house is in order or get some exercise.
I know, it’s not particularly glamorous and it’s hard to post a picture of perfectly balanced mediocracy on your Pinterest board or Facebook wall… but it’s what I strive for. And I’m ok with that.