How to explain the struggle of being a mom when you’re bad with kids… Have you seen the SNL skit with Kristen Stewart where she is stumped on how to interact with children so she invests in Duolingo for Talking to Children? She makes awkward attempts at first and asks questions like “So, do you wear your clothes to school?”
No joke, that’s me. And yet I have my own children, and I ALWAYS wanted to be a mom. It’s the greatest joy of my life.
I’ve found myself frustrated when I’ve watched friends who don’t even have kids be utterly awesome with them. And I’ve stood oddly to the side at playdates where the other moms actually played with the littles the whole time. What is that? I thought we were supposed to get together so they could entertain themselves, no?
It can be an isolating experience when you’re an adult-centric mama. You can question your parenting skills and tactics at times. Or feel like you don’t relate to other parents, and you certainly don’t relate to their kids.
For me, it’s all about finding that balance. I wouldn’t want to morph into Pee-wee Herman (weird example I know, but what came to mind when I thought of someone who is good with kids) and abandon who I am in a major way. But clearly I don’t want to be so grownup that I miss out on the rewarding interactions with my kids and their friends. I believe showing children your personality and interests strengthens your bond and can solidify the person they dream of being.
To achieve a satisfactory balance, I began thinking about how I was living my adult life. Being an adult is really the best of both worlds. Sure, it is incredibly challenging at times and a lot of hard work. But ultimately — you call the shots.
I remember being so excited to set out on my own at 18. Stay up all night? Cheesecake for dinner? Spontaneous trip to Worlds of Fun? Don’t mind if I do.
What this means to me is that part of being an adult is not shedding your childlike wonder. Ever. And if you have — spend some time journaling or just thinking about the essence of you as a child. I love guided journaling so here’s some prompts to get you started:
- What was my favorite activity as a child?
- How did this activity bring me joy?
- What was a main talent of mine growing up and how did people respond to it?
- What did I want to be when I was younger?
- What am I passionate about now?
- What activity could I bring back into my life that I could share with my kids?
- What is something my kids have expressed wanting to learn that I know?
- What do I find comfort in when I feel stressed?
Staying true to my inner child is how I make the most of being bad with kids. I’m not going to get engaged with Roblox or play pretend with a Minecraft pickaxe.
But let’s have a big dance party in the kitchen like no one’s watching. Come bake with me, and we’ll stay up late eating cake and watching movies. We can make wishes on stars and catch fireflies.
I’m an adult…I might not always want to play or talk at the level of little ones. What I will continue though is being the protector, the provider, the example, the life-lesson giver. I’ll let children explore their lives and themselves while I demonstrate who I’ve become and what I value.
I’m still not good at talking to kids. At this point it is safe to say I never will be. The key is — I’m making the effort to stay curious about life. I’m making the effort to slow down and see the world both from my children’s perspective — and little Lizzie’s perspective.
I wasn’t meant to be a teacher or a children’s entertainer. But I was meant to be a mother, a mother who is bad with kids.