The common theme I have found through all stages of motherhood thus far is balance. When you bring home a tiny bundle that is totally dependent on you, it doesn't seem like it should be too hard to figure out what to do, but it is. How do you balance the need to nurture a child to sleep and teaching them to figure it out on there own? As they get mobile you have to figure out the balance between rescuing them when they crash and letting them pick themselves up. Here are my balance issues right now:
Entertainment: I don't believe my primary job as a mother is to prevent boredom in my children. I want to find a healthy balance between exposing the girls to a bunch of "stimulating" activities and memory making events and letting them explore by themselves. I don't sign up kids for a bunch of classes but I do let her do art, dance and music at home. I don't want my children to expect to be entertained, to not have to think of creative ideas to occupy their time.
Responsibility: It is important to me that my girls understand what it takes to run a home and that they know that as a family we work together to get things done. I don't want them to be 25, living at home and expecting me to do the shopping and the laundry. Then there is the balance of ability and having a chance to just be a kid. It is not my job to remember where your shoes/bunny/picture are but I need to respect that 3 is still pretty little.
Education: I believe God has entrusted me to be the primary educator of my children. I also believe that children a wired to learn and most of the time all I need to be is the one to provide the tools. But everyone else is sending their kids to preschool. How to I balance a belief that children do best with parents in a culture that tells me I am not qualified to teach my own child?
Ability: Elie is great at a lot of things. She loves to read, color, paint, build with block and do puzzles. She doesn't like to get hot outside and her large motor skills leave a little to be desired. How do I respect the child God made her to be while pushing her to live a bit outside of what feels easy and comfortable?
Pride: This is really a Gretchen issue, not a kid issue. Today when Elie got herself dressed she put her dress on backwards and did the whole row of tiny buttons. She was so proud to do the buttons all by herself and I haven't made her turn her dress around right. How do I balance the desire to teach her the "right" way while still honoring her hard work? It's not even just clothing, but books on a shelf, silverware in the drawer and folding laundry. My way isn't the only way and it isn't always best, but my pride gets in the way.
I know from talking to friend that I am not the only one who struggles to find the best balance for the family, at least I am in good company!