Dear Kids, I Can’t Make Everything

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I have been circling blocks trying to find a parking spot so I can catch my son’s performance from camp. I’m frantically trying to make it on time so I don’t miss the performance. The guilt I am feeling for missing him sing one song in a group setting is giving me anxiety and stress that I don’t think is needed.

When did everything become such a big production?

Hear me out on this. I am not talking about a championship game, the year end dance review or the Christmas pageant. I am referring to multiple practices a week and the 10+ games of a soccer season. It’s not unusual now for a crew of family members to show up to a little league game on a random week day night.

Growing up, I don’t have memories of being upset that my parents weren’t at all my dance practices or ball games. And grandparents coming? That just didn’t happen. As one of three children, my parents had a lot of going on between all of our schedules. And now as a mother of three myself, I am finding out firsthand how it is impossible to attend everything for each of my children.

On most days, I feel like I am running a marathon and being my kids’ personal chauffeur all across town. While I wish the time allowed for me to be at everything for each one of my boys, it’s just not possible. But more than being possible, it shouldn’t be expected.

As parents, we are stretched too thin to be judged for not attending all the things. School parties, band performances, swim meets, dance practices, etc. The list goes on and on. I will continue to encourage my children to do the things they truly love but also with the understanding that I won’t always be on the sidelines.

As I continued to search for a parking spot, a friend texted me from the inside of the church, “ your love and care for your children isn’t measured in the amount of performances, practices and games you attend.” Wow. I was so happy to hear that comment.

Suddenly, I felt the anxiety and grief that I was experiencing lifted. I was doing my best. If I didn’t make it in time, it was all going to be okay.

As mothers, we need to let go of these crazy expectations. Between everyone’s busy over-planned lives, there is no way to make it to every single thing your kid is involved in. Give yourself some grace.

And remember, your love and care isn’t measured by the amount of things you attend for your children.

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Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.

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