I read a very interesting article called "Why Kids Love Squishy Moms Who Have Fun." http://www.drjamesdobson.org/blogs/dr-meeker-blog/dr-meeker-blog/2016/04/08/why-kids-love-squishy-moms-who-have-fun. A friend of mine shared this with me, and I'd like to pass it forward.
I wanted to mention this on my blog because it is so freeing. The author of this article, who is a pediatrician and a mom, states that from her experience working with kids for many years, what kids want is to hug their moms and have fun with them.
It doesn't matter that you do everything perfectly in keeping up with the competition of the other moms. The article states: "You feel you must: cook from scratch, buy organic, make sure your child is in the fast reading group, find the right school, get them on the better soccer team, keep them from having low self esteem, drive on field trips, be Room Mom for each child at least one year and read fifteen minutes to each child every night before bed. I have good news for you: what your child wants from you is a whole lot simpler."
They don't care how perfect you look; as a matter of fact, having a little fat on you to squeeze when they hug you feels a lot better to them than when you are skinny and bony, which let's be honest, can hurt! Kids say it's more fun to hug grandma, who is squishier. And teens don't like their moms borrowing their clothes and competing with them for looks. They want to be the cute, attractive ones, and when mom tries to look and act like them, it becomes "downright creepy!"
They don't care if you make brownies from scratch or buy them at the store, the article adds. They just want to have fun eating them with you! The time you spend with your kids is invaluable, because they know you care and you want to be with them. If you act like you are exhausted from caring from them, which you may be, they get the message that it's just work and not fun to spend time with them. While it's good to have teachable moments, don't let your kids feel like they are projects you are working on. Have fun with them, too!
So take some pressure off yourself, and enjoy your children while you can. For us with grown up children, my advice is to be there for them, listen to them, take them out to breakfast once in a while, and make sure they know you still enjoy being with them! Don't try to live their lives for them, or offer constant unsolicited advice. Support them, advise them when appropriate, and have fun with your kids!