Motherhood Tip: Stop Making Everything a Milestone

Since the dawn of time, moms have had a rough gig.

We are the ones tasked with keeping the children alive.  Then once we get really good at keeping them alive, we have to teach them how to keep themselves alive. So from that point forward, we have to keep them from killing themselves.

They have to eat vegetables.  Don’t jump off the roof.  Clean up toys so no one steps on a Lego.

These tasks, in typical cases, fall on the shoulders of Mama Bear.  And Mama Bears of all shapes and sizes can undoubtedly agree.

It’s exhausting.

And here we are in the 21st century, where motherhood has morphed into a competitive sport.  Between the yearly photo shoots with perfectly coordinated outfits, over the top birthday parties, and documenting on Facebook every daily, happy misadventure you experience together as a family , moms are running themselves ragged.  All done with the best intentions, of course.  We all hope that our kids’ childhood fits perfectly into a beautiful Shutterfly photo book, like a modern version of a Norman Rockwell painting.

A couple weeks ago, I saw a fellow mom’s Facebook post about how her daughter was sick and she was so bummed that the little girl was going to miss her last Christmas party of preschool.  Yeah, that’s a bummer.  Obviously, I felt bad for any family quarantined with a stomach bug.  But I felt more sympathy for a mom who’s expressing concern over ruining her daughter’s memories of a preschool Christmas party.  Especially because of an uncontrollable vomit situation.

Moms…you’re killing yourselves and who’s to say that, by creating this picture perfect, share-worthy childhood for your kids, they even remember a damn thing?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a great birthday party for the kids and I will give you great ideas on how to create unicorn glitter icing for your next My Little Pony party.  But when every moment is a milestone, what sets the moments apart from one another?  What makes the birthday special if every playdate is a magic carpet ride to the land of whimsy?

Little ones aren’t going to remember their last preschool Christmas party, and if they do, it’s most likely going to be a memory of a classmate eating a booger.  They’re going to remember the arms that held them through a painful fever.  They’ll look back on Christmas morning with the tree and the stockings, not a preschool Christmas party.

It’s okay if childhood’s moments appear a little mundane…sometimes it’s supposed to be.  It doesn’t have to be coordinated outfit picture perfect with every turn of the season. Maybe if we stop worrying about making every moment a milestone and focus more on the little things, we’ll be able to raise a bunch of people who appreciate both the major life-changing events and the little days in between.

If you’re looking to lift some of the guilt off your already burdened shoulders, try taking the pressure off yourself to make it all a memory.  It’s understandable that you want to…those little nuggets sure do grow fast.  But much like our kids, we can’t always get what we want.  And if we’re making it about the kids, they want you happy and present in their lives, not stressed over trivial events.




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