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4 Things I'm Glad My Child Won't Remember

by Maria of "Collecting Moments"
Photo by: iStock

I have to admit… I am hard on myself. I set such a high standard to reach – not for the stress or torture – but for motivation. I like accomplishing what I set out to do. There’s no greater high, no feeling so satisfying for me.

When I became a mother, this morphed into a bad habit. I so badly wanted to be the best that I focused on the wrong things — like obsessively organizing my home, worrying about every crumb on the floor, every dent on the wall — and not necessarily what was good for me or my daughter.

For the first few months that I was home with her, I felt like a failure. I couldn’t seem to win this game of doing it all. If the house was cleaned and there was a decent meal on the table, that meant my daughter was ignored. If my kid was happy and in a good mood, the house was in shambles. I was always left to wonder: why can’t I be like the rest of them – the do-it-all parents – who juggle so gracefully between home, self, and kids?

I compared myself to the best moms I know, including my own, and even my grandmother. They gave me such a great childhood filled with days spent playing from morning to night, learning, laughing. It was fantastic; full of fond memories and joyous times.

It was in those memories that I realized; I don’t remember my grandmother cleaning, or the condition of our home as I played. Those little details from my childhood proved too insignificant to have a space on my thirty year old mind. They were not important, and therefore forgotten, overlooked.

Because in the end, these details don’t matter to our children; it’s the experience and the feelings in the place that deserve such a memory. It’s not where and how you got there, but it’s why and the what that matters.

So, being hard on myself, as motivating as it sounds, is a habit I’m slowly trying to break. Doing my best and knowing my priority as a mother will be far better for my daughter and her memories. So here’s a few things that I’ve learned to let go of, and hopefully a few things she won’t remember…

How filthy the dishes in the sink can get:
I admit, sometimes I leave dishes from breakfast and don’t wash or stow them in the dishwasher until the afternoon. But when you’re with a toddler all day, other things take precedence: like the special tea time with stuffed animals or the 6,000 books we read together before lunch. Dishes may be crusty, but at least I feel better knowing I spent most of my day WITH my child, and not cleaning up after her.

Her unbalanced meals:
I think every parent’s mantra is, “you do what you have to…” and I am certainly no exception. So, while I may try (and succeed most of the time) giving my daughter her daily dose of vegetables, grains, and fruits, there are days that I fail. When errands run too long, when time gets the best of us, or when we stay an extra 10 minutes at the library to read books, having a balanced meal goes out the window. Sometimes, it’s a matter of survival of the fittest: feed the overtired toddler with the easiest thing to put on the plate? Or have a battle of wills over a few stalks of broccoli? It’s a no brainer every time.

The boxed smash cake I made for her first birthday:
She loved it. She didn’t care that it was a bit dry and had too much icing in it. Or the fact that it was uneven and slightly drooping to one side (any tips on making a perfectly balanced cake are welcome btw). Her hands immediately grabbed for that monstrosity as soon as she laid eyes on it. That cake was a mere faction to her eventful day. She’ll remember seeing her grandparents and her aunts, she’ll remember playing with her new toys and ogling over her new clothes. The cake, boxed or not, was just one of the many joys she experienced that day.

How disorganized every nook and cranny of the house has been:
She’ll barely remember the piles of laundry left on the couch or the stack of mail that sat on our foyer for days. She won’t remember the disarray of dirty clothes we stuff in the hamper or the inches of dust that pile on every flat surface of our home. What she’ll remember are the moments these walls hold: the horsey rides she took with her father, the perfect corners she hid within for hide and seek. She’ll remember weekends watching cartoons on mom and dad’s bed, and the many hours she spends “cooking” for, and “feeding” her stuffed animals. She’ll overlook the rest to make room for these unforgettable memories, just like I did with my younger years.

So to all mothers out there, join me in letting go, and of being at peace with NOT doing it all. We’re already the greatest to our kids, and it’s time we live up to that expectation diligently.

Maria is a mother, a wife, and a writer. She’s an avid collector of life’s little and big moments and enjoys chronicling her first time parenting adventures on her blog Collecting Moments. She loves Nutella and all things purple. Someday, she hopes to be able to sleep-in past 8 am on a Saturday. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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