All Work and No Play


One of my sisters penned a thoughtful post on Mother’s Day, intending to recognize that the three of us sisters may parent in different ways, but we are all raising great kids and should be proud of that. For my shout out, she wrote, “[Molly] is so crazy organized and conscientious about [the kids’] health and well-being.”


Is that what I’m known for? Being organized and force-feeding vegetables? Because that’s not a very cool parenting shout-out. I kind of feel like the next line should be, “They bathe regularly and are expected to put their dirty clothes in the laundry baskets. She is awesome at parenting!”

But the truth is that I actually am crazy organized and conscientious about their health. But surely I incorporate more fun than that…right?

Type A Personalities Unite

Fellow Type A personalities, tell me this is normal. (If you’re not Type A, you already don’t think I’m normal, so no need to comment.) Tell me I’m not the only one who feels as though life is a checklist of structure, order, and no junk food.

I’m not sorry we have a lot of structure. I think it’s good for all kids, but especially for our kids, who had a few years in a row of transition as they weathered divorce, new homes, and new stepfamilies. But sometimes I’m so focused on checking off the items on the list, I lose sight of the big picture.

Clean school uniforms.

Buy fruit they will eat.

How much water have they had?

Right hair product on his curly, dry hair.

Are those socks worn out?

Right meds for allergy season.

Is it time for a haircut?

School lunch with enough protein to avoid a carb-loaded sugar crash in the early afternoon.

The Elusive Middle Ground

So where’s the fun? This weekend, Ana and I were talking about cupcakes on a nightgown and she said, “Mmmmm, cupcakes sound good!”

“Well, let’s make some,” I said.

“Okay!” she agreed excitedly.

So we did. And she did all the measuring and mixing, with minor supervision. Frosting and some sprinkles capped off our Saturday afternoon.

In addition to eating cake, this weekend we relaxed our pretty strict TV watching views and enjoyed a couple of different shows and movies as couch potatoes.

I don’t need to be a “cool” parent, but I do want to have some balance. And I have to believe that finding balance for the kids also means greater balance for me—not just going to work and rushing home to do the family checklist, but making time to do some fun things for me.

So here’s to balance—may we find this tricky line between responsibility and relaxation without sacrificing clean clothes and sanity.