“Am I doing enough for my kids?”
It's a question that came up when I was talking with a friend.
We talked about how the summer blew right past us. How the weeks weren't filled with camp or pool days like we imagined they would be. How our kids weren't involved in scheduled activities. How we weren't sure if we got them away from the house enough, if we gave them enough experiences, if we taught them enough, if we provided enough opportunities.
I don't always think about that stuff, much less worry about it. Because in parenting, most days are overflowing from the constant stream of tasks and responsibilities and there isn't much time to consider whether or not I'm doing enough. Between managing schedules and making meals, refereeing and chauffeuring, wiping and washing, sweeping and scrubbing, reading stories and answering what must be a million questions, it sure feels like I'm doing more than enough for my kids. I mean, aren't I doing EVERYTHING for them?
But as days pass by in a flurry, and weeks vaporize, there are moments when I suddenly become aware of all the opportunities that my kids seem to be missing out on. The lessons and the organized activities and the entertainment and the fun that I don't seem to get around to planning.
And I wonder if I'm doing enough for them – if the average, everyday life they are living is enough.
But then I watch them. And I listen.
I see their eyes as they examine their surroundings, glowing at the sight of wildflowers, storm clouds and stars. I hear them talk about the caterpillar they held for days after they held it. I watch them wrap their hands around rocks, dirt, and toads – and by the looks on their faces, you'd think they'd found gold. Scraps of paper become masterpieces. Weeds become bouquets. And the bathtub becomes their epicenter for fun.
And as I watch and listen, I sense a nod from God, that indeed I am doing enough. And that they have enough. Because kids need so much less than we've been led to believe.
This fraction of the world we share with them is enough. This life God has given them through us is enough.
They don't need everything. They don't need to DO everything. And as moms, neither do we.
It's enough that our kids are loved. It's enough that their bodies, minds, hearts, and souls are taken care of. It's enough that we are their constant. It's enough that they have everything they need despite the world's cries to give them more.
The neighborhood walks. The pages streaked with crayon. The hours spent in the backyard. The fed bellies. The clean clothes. The washed bodies. The changed diapers. The bedtime stories.
It's all enough.
Because their days don't need to be full and over-scheduled in order for their lives to be full. And while the days might be average, when we really look, our kids show us that they are truly extraordinary.