Have you ever looked around your new moms group, and worried that all the other moms looked happier? Compared your sugary, store-bought birthday cake with your neighbor’s Martha Stewart-like, pirate-carrot-cake-sculpture? Did your kid ever ask, “Mommy, how come we live in such a small apartment?”, or my favorite kid question – “Are we rich?” Welcome to parenting in NYC, the global capital of the most absurdly insane, competitive parenting culture!
Nearly every day, I second-guess my kids lack of scheduled . Like a schizophrenic whisper, I hear constant echoes of self-doubt playing in my head: Should I have signed my daughter up for swimming? What if our son doesn’t get into NEST+m? When should we start musical instruments? I have to remind myself daily to let go of my fears that I’m not doing it right, that my kids are missing out on important opportunities because I’m too lazy or slow to get them enrolled in the best programs or schools.
So, in this surreal dog-eat-dog parenting world, where it’s often every parent/child/family for themselves, how would it feel if you consciously decided to ignore the Joneses completely? What if you decided to not buy into the race at all? How might you slow down, ignore the competition, and simply focus on playing the game? Not running or winning or losing, but skipping and playing with your kids…
If any of this resonates with you, I invite you to think about your family and what they really need. Not what you or your kids think they should do (because everyone else is doing it), but what they really, more-than-anything-else-in-the-world need.
Do they need more scheduled activities in their hectic kid lives? Do you really want to spend afternoons and weekends shuttling your kids around from soccer to swimming to ballet to piano? Are your choices driven by what your friends and neighbors are doing, or by what truly serves you and your family?
Whether you’re parenting a baby, toddler, or school-age kids, I bet your kids want you to get down on the floor and play with them. I bet more than anything, they would enjoy that more than music or swimming or piano classes. Focused time playing with your kids is more valuable than any enrichment, it doesn’t have to be scheduled, and the best BONUS—it’s free!
Hi, I’m Natalie, founder of Mommywise. I’m a Brooklyn mom of two (now) teenagers, PPD survivor, still humbled by the early years of parenting. I started this blog in 2004 as a way to help other parents who felt as dark and lonely as I felt to feel less shame, normalize the feelings of not loving parenthood, and raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders. I’m passionately committed to helping new parents feel more joy, offering sustainable employment for women and mothers, and contributing to positive change in the world.