I’ve always had this work-yourself-to-exhaustion mentality. As a result, I’ve always had this sneaky, underlying guilty feeling inside of myself when I take time to relax, have fun or rest. In those moments, I can’t help but think of all the things I really “should” be doing. I have worked with enough women in my career that I know this is an epidemic among us, especially women who are mothers.
This happens to be the nicest week of our summer so far. It also “just happens” that my children are not in any camps this week, they are home with me. Each day they beg me to take them to the beach and so far, I have obliged. We get our chores done in the morning and then spend the afternoon frolicking in the sun. We’ve been to the beach several days in a row now and this morning as I was getting some work stuff done that old guilty feeling kicked in.
“You really have a lot of things you should be doing instead of going to the beach.”
“The kids can just watch tv and play in the neighborhood. They’ll be fine.”
“Maybe you should take the kids somewhere that has wifi so you can at least be productive while they play.”
And then I remembered a few months when my 12 year old son said to me, casually: “Remember a couple years ago when you cried all the time? And you slept all the time?” I suddenly realized, I’m somewhat in charge of the memories my children make. My son will never forget me being severely depressed and crying all day and all night, barely functional. My only purpose was to take care of my children’s basic needs. I had no will or energy to do anything more than that. Is this the mom I wanted my children to remember when they thought of their childhood?
Maybe I was trying to justify it to myself in part, but I decided that this whole beach thing, this week with my kids, is an opportunity to make memories of the way I want them to remember me as their mom. I want to be the mom that wasn’t too busy to take them and play on a summer day. I want to be the mom that watches her kid beam with pride when she passes the swim test to swim in the deep end and jump off the dock. I want to share memories of fun and happy times.
We’ve been through some tough times, my kiddos and me. We won’t ever forget those times but I realized this morning if I don’t make a conscious effort to take the time to make other special memories with them, that’s all they will have…the hard times.
I know I’m not the only mom who suffers this guilt when playing instead of working so it is my hope that my revelation today will also inspire you to make a conscious effort to create some lasting memories of fun, happy times with your children this summer and always. Life is too short and there are no do-overs. The dishes and laundry will still be waiting for you when the fun has been had. Part of our jobs as parents is to enjoy our children - and we all know that can be very hard to do sometimes. So seize those moments.
Remember mamas: you’re in charge of so many of the memories that will be stored in your child’s mind for the rest of their lives. Make some fun ones that they will cherish for always.