Recently, I noticed that I had been very harsh with my son. I was stuck in a cycle of nagging, redirecting, and punishing him.
Why can’t you be still?
Why can’t you be quiet for just 10 minutes?
He was too loud and too distracted.
He was rolling around and bouncing off the walls.
He was messing up my schedule and my house.
We were running late, and we had a full day of plans and appointments.
I lost it and yelled in a tone that shocked me and scared him.
I wondered what my little boy thought.
I wondered if he still knew that I love him.
I wondered if he still believed that I like him.
I looked at his wiggly body, and in a rare moment of clarity, I realized neither of us were happy. I realized that my jam-packed day was of my own making, none of the practices or lessons or meetings on our schedule HAD to be there.
This moment made me slow down and consider that God designed this child to be a wild and silly little boy. He was created to run and jump and to be rambunctious- but I was subconsciously trying to cut that part out.
This is the only season of life that he is allowed to be a kid, and I am taking it away. Maybe the problem isn’t my hyper child, maybe it’s his mom who is expecting him to act like an adult.
Sure, he needs guidance and direction, but my goal shouldn’t be to rush him into maturity.
Schedules, sports practices, sitting still, and endless waiting- It’s too much. Life has become too regimented.
The magic of free play and digging in the dirt is replaced by structure and routine.
I am losing my opportunity to enjoy him because I am so wrapped up in fixing him- but the truth is, he isn’t broken, and he doesn’t need to be fixed.
So this summer, we slowed down. We skipped the checklists, weekly sports camps, and constant activities.
We made space for childhood- for runs through the sprinkler, sticky popsicles, and chasing fireflies. We are making space to find out what happens when boredom leads way to creativity.
I am going to quit working so hard to raise a “well-rounded child” and focus on MY child- the one who is itching to yell and climb and just be a kid.
I am making playtime a priority.
Getting a head start on math can wait.
Music lessons can be paused.
Another sport or activity? We will pass for now.
The price of admission into this world of little men who are scholars and athletes is a missed childhood where playtime is a luxury. I am unwilling to continue paying this price.
I am going to keep teaching him about respect, morals, and values along the way- but the other stuff, I have to let it go before it kills my little boy’s spirit, or worst, our relationship.
I am done trying to cram him in a box he was never made to fit into.
The blueprint on parenting him is already laid out for me, but it doesn’t come from society- it comes from his Creator. It comes from the sparkle I see in my little boy’s eyes when he is fishing or building a secret hideout. It comes from who he was made to be right now, who he is begging his mama to let him be- a kid who enjoys his childhood.
**This post originally appeared on Momstrocity’s Facebook page.