I could write one thousand articles about parent guilt. The topic is wide and ever present in the minds of most parents.
It’s the underlying dread that maybe you’re not a good enough parent. Maybe other parents have it together and you don’t. Maybe we’ve all got it figured out and you’re the only one with doubts and fears.
I could write a book about not measuring up. I could give a thousand speeches about not comparing yourself to other parents online. But instead, since you’re busy, let me just do one thing today. Let me tell you one idea. Ready?
“There’s no such thing as spending enough time with your kid.”
That’s what I need you to know.
Why did I tell you that?
Because parents often feel terrible about the amount of time they spend with their kids.
They tell me, “I’m not spending enough time with my kids. I’m too busy. I could do a much better job spending time with my kids.”
I love the idea of being deliberate about spending time with your kids, I really do. The problem is that sometimes that desire turns into a shame-filled act of perfectionism.
“Enough time” morphs into “The perfect amount of time.” We think one more date, one more football toss in the yard, one more dinner will allow us to reach this land of perfection.
It doesn’t exist.
There are no perfect parents.
So today, admit that you’ll never feel like you spent enough time with your kid. That’s the nature of love. Love is not done when you hit a certain number of hours. It always seeks more. You’ll always wish you could spend more time with your kid.
The second thing I want you to do is to widen the circle. Be deliberate about adding other wise adults into your kid’s life. When my daughter’s small group leader teaches her in small group, she’s filling her bucket with time in a way that I just can’t. My daughter doesn’t want me to lead her small group. That makes complete sense.
That’s one of my favorite parts of widening the circle.
It gives your kid more time from more voices.
Don’t worry about perfect. Don’t worry about enough time.
Give all that you can but then accept that it won’t be perfect.
Not for me. Not for you. Not for any parent.
But that’s okay. Widening the circle means more people will be giving more time.
And that changes everything.