Our life as parents has become like running on a treadmill. Every morning, you put your sneakers on, get ready, set, go! Faster, faster, you are running out of time. The day is almost gone, oh no! The night has come sooner than expected. Your muscles and body sore and you still haven’t achieved half what you have planned to. Don’t worry you can still try harder tomorrow and maybe break your own record.
No matter how hard you try or how much you do, the day is never long enough. With so many responsibilities and duties on our plates, we hardly have any time left to enjoy what we have or notice what we’ve lost. But do we really have to do all what we do? Can we empty our plates a bit or is it too much societal pressure that we can’t deal with?
A typically ordinary day starts with our morning routine (waking up the kids, bathroom rituals, school uniforms on, breakfast, lunch bags, school bags and off to school), then getting ready for work (or housework) or for running your (or your family’s) errands, then back home to see about the kids (dinner, sports training, homework, bedtime routine). The kids finally sleep, you take a deep breath, and find your spouse wanting your undivided attention. Then off to bed so you can recharge to get ready for your treadmill practice for the following day!
Is this what our lives are supposed to be like? We keep on collecting books and buying toys that the kids don’t even have enough time to enjoy reading or playing with. What concerns me the most is, do we have or make time to enjoy our kids?
Stop the ride and take a deep breath!
We are constantly riding a roller coaster, but the ride never ends. If we are caring parents, we tend to wear ourselves out on any of these specialties: healthy eating, sports’ teams and championships, top grades, most fashionable clothes, fancy hair styles, the most extravagant and all-inclusive birthday parties, and of course the whole toy collection from Toys ‘R’ Us while also stopping by the Apple store for all the ‘I’ products!
When I sit down to chat with other parents and we share memories about our childhood, we only remember moments. So often it’s funny stories, special trips, family gatherings, or first time we ever tried something new, like managing to ride a roller coaster, a bike or even tasting a seahorse in China. We never mention our sports practice, HW time, playrooms or our bathroom rituals.
In such a competitive and materialistic world, we tend to waste so much of our time, money and energy on giving our kids their physical and materialistic needs, but we leave them emotionally unfulfilled and drained.
Stop the ride, get off the roller coaster and take a deep breath! Celebrate and enjoy their childhood! Do something together: Play a board game, skip rope, play a football match, have a swim in the pool, ride your bikes, play some music and dance, cook, pull out some silly faces and take pictures, watch a movie, put on some costumes, do arts and crafts, show them your childhood photo album, discuss your daily ups and downs, or simply have a walk and a chit-chat together.
Do it as often as you can. Every day that passes will never come back and soon enough it will be so un-cool to spend some time with Mummy or Daddy!