By Mary Jane Bogle
Let’s face it, 2020 was hard on moms— there was a lot to juggle. So, as we move into a new year, let’s take a look at what kinds of commitments can we realistically make regarding parenting— engaging in their virtual learning, encouraging extracurricular activities, making more special one-on-one time, volunteering, and using our time and talents in a balanced way that works for everyone.
Crafting + Creative Projects
Some moms have a built-in crafting gene providing them with endless energy, cool supplies and everlasting patience. Most of us, however, are just your average moms who at the end of the day really would rather plop the kids in front of Disney+ and don’t have the innate urge to hot glue and glitter pinecones, and craft messy projects to clean up afterward. Well, let’s be real, kids do love these projects, and they’re pretty great for keeping their hands and minds busy. While they might be messy and rarely Pinterest-worthy, all your kids care about is that you’re taking an interest in their activities and making something fun with them. Who cares if the gingerbread house looked like it’s melting into its foundation, or the dog wouldn’t even touch the over-sprinkled, burnt-bottom cookies? Laugh about it and just enjoy the time you’re spending together! The kids won’t be little forever. Also, have them help with clean up as part of the deal, too, so it’s fair for everyone involved.
Sport + Extracurriculars
Especially with the COVID-19 restrictions this past year, sports and extracurricular activities have changed greatly or been canceled altogether. But there are some ways to keep your kids active and involved: there are many local sports complexes and organizations that abide by social distancing regulations and mask wearing, and regularly monitor participants for symptoms of illness. There are also virtual options for lots of activities, like drawing classes, karate training, dance and music lessons that can easily be done from home—it just takes a little research to find the right organization and instructors. If your child does participate in something in person, try not to let the driving and shuttling deter you—again, kids are only young once, and the more different activities and sports they can be exposed to helps them become more confident, social and well-rounded people. Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s comfortable for you and your family.
Let’s be honest, not all of us moms are the first to sign up for classroom mom, soccer coach, lunch aide and childcare helper at church. But if you do find yourself with maybe just one extra hour a week, look for someplace your talents can be appreciated. Stretch yourself to help out with lunchroom or playground duty once a week, help local librarians shelve books, deliver food to nursing homes, ask to be just an assistant coach or helper—whatever you can manage without stressing yourself out. Remember that schools, PTAs, sporting teams, girl/boy scouts, church groups, and other organizations are run by volunteers and someone has to step and up and be those volunteers to make the whole thing work. Look for something that’s convenient for your schedule and where you might get to spend more time with your kiddos while you’re at it.
Being a parent can be overwhelming at many times… heck, just being a functioning human being the past year has taken its toll. But let’s look at 2021 with a fresh perspective, and try to say yes to doing more things, especially with and for our children. Let’s embrace the time we have with them and give them all we’ve got.