Notes from the CEO: Make Quality Family Time by Throwing Your Agenda Out the WindowSep 15, 2015
When my team told me we were talking about mom guilt this week, I really could relate to the sentiment. Being a working mom since my boys were little, I’ve always struggled to find that elusive balance between all the expectations I put on myself as a parent — especially as it relates to spending quality time with my children.
As mothers, we are so hard on ourselves when it comes to providing for our children. We worry about everything there is to worry about in every aspect of their lives. Does their teacher like them? Who are they hanging out with? What are they putting in their mouths? What do their growing bodies need today?
And throughout the years, I’ve experienced all variations of a working mom — from working at home while looking after the kids, to taking my kids to the office, and working around their schedules as their main “taxi” driver. The same line of questioning and worry doesn’t change. At the back of every mom’s mind is the constant fear that our kids are missing out on something that we don’t even realize they need or should have, that we’re not doing enough.
However, after living around the world and getting to know many families across the entire spectrum of incomes, religions, pressures, and situations, the one thing that remains constant is the special bond children have with their mothers. No matter where I found the time, I discovered that the real bonding happened when my family was free to have fun and really enjoy each other without distractions, time limits, and stress. These moments of free-range play were often spontaneous, where my kids and I had no expectations about what should happen or how we should play.
Taking the time to just enjoy each other without guilt, expectations, and deliverables is what I consider the most valuable investment in our children. It is where I have found the most joy and love — it’s the little moments singing in the car, dancing in the kitchen, and walking on the beach. And it’s these moments that I fall in love with the people my children are becoming and they fall in love with person I really am outside of just being a “service provider” in their lives.
If we, as moms, remove the pressure to be perfect and guilt from our lives and instead simply give our love to our little ones in whatever time and moments we have, then we are more free to form the deep relationships and enriching experiences that are the core of an amazing childhood and motherhood.
So, my message to all you amazing mothers: Let’s try to worry less about all the small things and give ourselves the freedom to enjoy the wonderful journey that is motherhood. I think we can all agree that the guilt is something we can do without in our daily lives. And, even better, instead of losing something, there is so much we all gain from letting it go.