My fondest memories are those of my 1990’s childhood. My technology free, sticky sweet, unsupervised summer days playing outside from sun up until sundown. Our mum shooing us outside, telling us not to come home until the street lights came on. The innocent days, where there was no fear of my sisters’ and I being snatched off of the street. Our mother wasn’t concerned with the ingredients in our food, as long as we were eating she was happy. We had never heard of high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. We just ate, we ate bologna and blue dye and we drank our Tang and our Kool-Aid and we were happy. We were free.
My daughter, Harper, is three years old, She knows how to use an iPhone better than I do. She utilizes Siri, and can navigate YouTube like a pro. She is obsessed with Taylor Swift music videos, and she can sing every word to most of her songs. She is very tech savvy. More so than most three year olds should be.
When I was pregnant with Harper, I swore to myself that I would not allow her to become technology obsessed. That I would be a ‘good parent’, and limit her daily usage of tablets, phones and televisions. I was convinced that I could manage to do this, no matter how difficult.
Joke was on me. In hindsight, technology has helped my daughter to become the exceptionally smart girl that she is today.
I have been a mother for three years and five months. In that time I have learned a few things. I have learned that it is okay to give in. It is okay to let go. It is okay to let go of all the picture perfect ideas you had about what parenthood would be. It is okay to feed your child a diet that consists solely of chicken nuggets and popsicles sometimes. It is okay to yell, to not give your child the ‘suggested amount of positive and negative attention and discipline’. It is okay to not be the Instagram mom, the Pinterest mom. It is okay if you put your child in front of the TV or on YouTube for an hour so you can get some work done, or so you can hide in the bathroom with a glass of wine and clear your head. It’s okay if you lose your cool sometimes, or more often than sometimes. It’s okay to feel irritated by your children, it’s okay for them to be mad at you for it.
You are a mother. You know exactly how to raise your children, and you know exactly what is best for them.
Children do not need to be regulated, they do not need to be restricted. They need to be free, to be themselves, to enjoy the precious, fleeting years of childhood. They need us to guide them in the right direction. To teach them what is right and what is wrong, without making their decisions for them. They need us to allow them the freedom to discover who they are and what they want. They need us to be examples, but our lives should not be a blueprint of expectation for theirs. We have created these incredible, beautiful human beings that we love deeply and without question. That is enough. You are enough, just as you are.