Friday, April 4, 2014

What Defines the Magic of Childhood?

A friend recently shared the following huffpost article I'm Done with Making My Kids Childhood Magical on Facebook. I was going to add my thoughts about it to her thread, but then ended up with a fairly long post and just decided to make it my own blog post.
Just yesterday with my You Walk that Way, Superwoman, And I'll Walk this Way post I hit on the driving competitive need for today's mothers to feel like they need to prove themselves with crafts, elaborate parties, masterful dinners, and every other wonderful or exciting thing they see another doing on Facebook or Pinterest. I've made it very clear I am not a cook, crafter, elaborate party planner, even that good of a housekeeper anymore, or very dedicated to keeping up with a workout routine. I was also none of these things before I was a parent. In fact when it comes to my housekeeping capabilities they've actually gotten worse with motherhood (hasn't all of ours?) and I was much better at having a routine workout before kids.

However, the thing we do that fits this supposed idea that the huffpost author says parents go out of our way to do to create magic for our children  is we travel often with usually trips to family, weekend trips camping and to the beach, and usually a vacation spot once or twice a year. We also take our kids on multiple weekend outings whether it's the apple orchard and pumpkin patch in the Fall, Disney on Ice, seasonal festivals, zoos and aquariums, and other kid attractions. We did this before we had kids (not Disney on Ice or kid specific attractions necessarily) but we've always been people that love to travel and go do things. This is who we were before, and it's who we continue to be now as a family of four. However, the other side of this social media "parents being over the top" debate is now because of social media it's like we have to even defend the choice to be that person that maybe does go a little over the top on that one thing they've always been passionate about. If you've always been an artist and crafter then be that as a parent. If you've always loved to plan extravagant parties then still be that person; it's just now kid parties and not adult parties. We don't have to change who we are because social media makes us feel we need to be better or because we need to defend the one thing we're extravagant about because we've always had a passion for it before and after kids.
 The internet and social media leads to all of us constantly comparing, and we’re all convinced parents out there are doing everything. Really I think each family has their own individual things that create memorable childhood memories for their children. For some it’s their passion for arts and crafts; others it’s sports; some it’s traveling and family outings. It’s the time together whether it’s in the yard, a ball field, at the kitchen table cooking or creating crafts, exploring somewhere new together as a family, or the time in a car traveling to and from that creates the magic of childhood that they remember.

For me it was the ball field and road trips from MO to NY. But also dinner time, walks in the evenings with my dad, and girls weekends with my mom while Dad was hunting.  For my girls I hope it’s dinner time too, evening walks, ball fields hopefully, campfires in the yard or out camping, and the family road trips. All those things were part of who we were before we were parents though, and it’s sharing that love for these things that will create magical memories for them.  I told Nate once whatever he wanted them to be interested in (playing golf or being hockey or football fans), they would be if they spent time with him doing it. The time together and the love shared between parent and child is what creates the magic of childhood.

Now we just like to share the magic on social media, but everybody's magic is different. Why take it personally?
                                                              Dancing at a concert in the park last summer

1 comment:

  1. I am really glad that when I was more knee deep in the early end of parenting, the internet was not anything like it was. My parents would take their summers off so we could travel (and often on a dime). In today's world that would possibly be frowned on because there was no stability whatsoever, but we enjoyed every moment. The memories are well worth the lean times after all the tenting across the country. I love the photos you shared. Those are some pretty great moments!