The Spaces in Between

A poignant question popped into my DMs this week. This mama was thinking about how she could make quality time 1-1 with her children always feel special. Like so many of us, she was wondering how to make it feel special when it can’t always be something “special” every day.

I love this question. It points to the pressure we all feel as parents to give our children quality time and magical childhood experiences. It points to the guilt we feel if we don’t think we are providing enough magic.

It made me think. What makes one event special over another one? We so often think “special” has to mean bigger & better…more expensive…more insta worthy. But events become special when we attach importance and emotion to them. The likelihood is our children will value what we value…if we attach emotional importance to a simple walk in the park, or some time spent reading stories, that will feel special to them.

There is so much pressure today to make everything perfect. We don’t need to be perfect parents (a famous psychotherapist once said we should always aim for “good enough” not perfect parenting). We need to role model to our children what it means to be human, to be flawed, and to find the meaning in the little things in life. Sometimes, less really is more.

If you feel you have been putting too much pressure on providing magical experiences, try checking in with yourself to see how you frame the everyday to yourself and your family. Do they think special means ‘bigger and better’ because you do? Can you reframe this and help yourself and them to hold onto the small moments…to value the spaces in between the adventures as well as the adventures themselves?

One way to start the conversation as a family is to sit with our children and ask them what is special to them. What makes them feel loved, what do they love doing as a family, and 1-1 with us. You could draw it out on a big piece of paper and put it somewhere to remind everyone of what really matters to your family. Most children will surprise us with the simplicity of the moments they treasure.