“We all work so damn hard trying to make our kids lives magical. They’re already magical.“
This line that Mila Kunis’ character says in the new movie Bad Moms really got me thinking. You see, in many ways, I am that mom. That mom who wants her kids’ lives to be special, happy, full of magical moments, bunnies popping out of hats and butterflies sitting on their noses. I work so damn hard trying to make sure the kids are happy and having fun (in most cases at my own expense) which is why on many days I find myself shattered by bath time, barely making it through the evening till I eventually crash in front of the TV with a glass (bottle) of wine when they are finally asleep.
Wow, that was hard to admit.
I’m an idiot obviously. Not only because what I am trying to achieve is something NO ONE can actually live up to, but also because—it’s not really my job to give them a magical childhood.
I don’t know when it happened but at some point during the five years of me being a mom, I somehow got the impression that it was not enough to just take care of my children, make sure they were safe, fed, dressed and most importantly—loved. Somehow I got another memo, the one saying that this was not enough and that I needed to do more.
When I heard that line in the film it really hit me. For the first time in five years, I asked myself what my job as a mom actually was. Shocking, I know. I mean, you would think that would be the first question I’d ask myself, possibly even before getting pregnant, but it just wasn’t.
What was I thinking?
I obviously asked myself many other questions, like “what type of mother I would like to be?” I had an idea what was important to me, like what I wanted to avoid, or what I wanted to make sure I did and so on. But I never asked that simple question—and to suddenly realize that I was over trying and over-reaching, actually thinking I could create magic, made me want to yell: what was I thinking?!
Realizing that my job does NOT include making someone else’s life *magical* was mind blowing. Liberating. And you would think I might have been worried, I mean, letting go of that type to pressure and responsibility I had taken on myself is scary stuff. But the truth is that I have never felt calmer.
You see, I immediately thought of my own childhood.
My childhood was nothing special
Looking back I know that my own childhood was nothing special. In fact, it was probably rather boring compared to my kids’ childhoods. I was raised in a city. We lived in a house with a garden and we always had a dog. During the week after school, we would just hang out with friends doing…nothing. I remember playing outside most of the time, making up games with my siblings. On the weekends we would meet with my parents’ friends who had kids our ages and we would do a bit of ‘nothing’ with them.
It was great.
I don’t remember having any after school activities apart from ballet once a week, and we never had planned “play dates” just spontaneous “wanna come over and do nothing with me” type of occasional visits from friends. The days seem to be long and apart from the summer holidays (which were really the highlight of the year because we got to go visit my grandparents who lived abroad) we honestly did not do much.
Despite this seemingly boring and uneventful childhood, one thing I can say for sure is that it was in fact totally *magical*.
Ordinary childhoods *are* magical
Because if you think about it, apart from in extreme circumstances (like when there is abuse or drug use), most childhoods are in some way *magical*. Kids don’t need much to have fun or be happy, it’s in their nature.
I think my kids have the best time when I am slightly under the weather and not 100% well and I haven’t had the energy to be *magical*. On those days we take it easy and just chill at home, doing nothing which includes just laying in my bed chatting and possibly watching a Disney movie, getting takeout pizza for dinner and skipping the bath.
I have no doubt that when they are all grown up and they look back at their own childhood years, THOSE are the moments they will remember and miss the most.
This is a massive insight for me, one that makes me want to embrace a more boring and less eventful life. One that allows me to leave the magic making for the magicians and focus on giving my kids a loving and completely ordinary childhood instead.
Because let’s face it—they’re the best kind.
Please don’t get me wrong, I know that as a mom it is my job to create the best conditions for them to be able to be happy. This responsibility includes supporting them, advising, taking care of they needs, being there for them, and above all loving them.
But my point is that after I have comforted, advised, cleaned, fed, wiped their bums, wipe their tears, helped with homework, listened to their problems, taught them how to ride a bike and how to cross the road, driven them everywhere and back, told them how proud I am of them and how I love them with all my heart and soul. After I’ve done all of that—it is THEIR job to make themselves happy and create their own magic.
So as I set out with my new insight, I would like to wish you all a boring and uneventful week. May we all just take it that much easier (you don’t need to be a “bad mom” to kick your shoes off and have a beer or a spa day ladies). Let’s leave the magic making for the magicians and focus on giving our kids a loving and completely ordinary childhood instead.
They’re the best kind.