Remember that old Joan Baez song, “Be Not Too Hard….for life is short”? Maybe it’s time we did just that. As parents there is so much pressure to fill every moment of the day with educational, stimulating and healthy activity. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this approach, sometimes it’s perfectly okay to give ourselves a break and just “be”. Let the kids play. Let the dishes sit. Let the weeds grow. Let the dust bunnies remain under the couch. Just let go a little bit and lift the pressure.
There is nothing wrong with fish sticks for dinner if it’s one of those days, or store-bought cookies. Your kids will still turn out fine! Facebook and Pinterest are full of Super Mom & Dad ideas for creative crafts and adorable recipes. You know, the sandwich that uses grated carrot for hair, raisins for eyes, a slice of avocado for the nose and a tomato wedge for the mouth, all displayed perfectly on a bed of lettuce? Hey if it’s peanut butter and banana on sliced bread for lunch, so be it.
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are often over-scheduled days of soccer, day camp, swimming lessons and technology. Bring back free play time! Maybe playing in the yard with ants and sticks or getting together with friends on the street for a game of hide & seek wouldn’t be such a bad idea. The hustle and bustle of our work days have become the norm in many homes, where expectations are high and perfection is the goal. You can still be a good parent without filling every waking minute of the day with educational activities. Maybe perfection is simply sitting around on the back porch while the kids make a mess with water and sand.
Don’t get me wrong, there should be plenty of time and space for music lessons, art projects and museum adventures, just not every single minute of every single day. For a three year old, matching socks can be fun or even using the toilet brush to clean the bowl. The value comes in spending time together, laughing at a knock-knock joke or tickling your kids’ armpits!
Be not too hard, for life is short and sometimes lying on the couch is being exactly where you are meant to be. Maybe the mayhem and chaos of everyday family life is as perfect as it gets. After all, Joan Baez was no fool! Let it go. Inhale, exhale.
Owner-Operator and Director of the Home & Heart Child Development Centre | homeandheart.org