Before I had children, I romanticized what it would feel like to be a mother.
I envisioned having these perfect little humans – the spitting image of me, of course – who would be the center of my world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them; my children would define and justify my existence.
I have children now – two perfect little boys, only one is the spitting image of me – and they are the center of my world. My pre-offspring predictions about how much I’d love my children were pretty spot on. But for all the feelings of love, anticipation, nurturing and excitement I’d felt, there was one I hadn’t counted on – guilt.
Mothers feel guilty, all the time.
I feel guilty about my choices and the choices I don’t make. I feel guilty when I take on too much and when I don’t take on enough. I feel guilty when I say no… and sometimes, I even feel guilty when I say yes.
Most of all, I worry that in our hectic, go-go-go lifestyle, we simply don’t have time to enjoy each other’s company; to do the simple things that bond us to one another.
So, some time ago, when the boys were just four- and two-years old, I started a tradition. On the first warm (ish) weekend in spring, we jumped in our car and went down to the beautiful lakefront in Oakville, Ontario for a walk. No toys, no electronics, no distractions. Just our family, walking together, laughing, stopping every now and then to examine a blooming flower or squeal at a suspicious-looking spider. It was exactly the type of activity I needed to assuage some of that mom guilt.
Four years have passed, and now the boys eagerly await the season’s first trip to the lake. This year, my husband wondered if, now older and much wiser to the use of tablets and video games, they’d be restless in a strictly outdoor setting. He needn’t have worried; left to their own entertainment, they did what little boys do.
They played rock, paper, scissors.
After a “best of 10”, they simply sat on the large rocks, watching the rolling, gentle waves of the lake lap over the shoreline. What I wouldn’t give to know their thoughts! Were they marvelling at the beauty of the surroundings? Perhaps they fancied jumping in the lake, splashing around in the cool waters. My eight-year old turned to me with a mischievous look on his face.
“Can we skip stones?”
I was delighted. He remembered! The boys love to skip stones (they were trained by their father, an honest-to-goodness stone skipping champion) and I watched as they made their way down to the water’s edge.
Of course, a brief game of stone skipping soon turned into a shot put competition between brothers. Being little boys, they naturally wanted to see who could make the biggest splash.
After that exertion, it was time for a break. How I love to see my boys sitting still! We chatted about school and their friends, and planned for their upcoming birthday parties. I can’t believe they’ll be seven- and nine-years old next month!
Spending time together. That’s truly the best gift to a parent, isn’t it? It’s the reason I’m so passionate about family travel, and taking day trips to the beach, a local attraction, or even a simple walk by the lake. The best part? The boys can take the lead.
Do you have a spring tradition? We love to get outdoors, particularly when the weather gets warmer. We’re always looking for new things to do, because time spent with family is worth every second. I’d love to hear your suggestions!
This year, I’ve partnered with Allen’s, one of Canada’s favourite juice brands for more than 80 years. Owned by a Canadian family company, Allen’s represents our memories and our values.
Follow me on social with the hashtag #MommyTalks to see what we’re up to over the next few months. Plus, I’ll share tips and tricks for making the most of family time.
And now, I really must take our lakeside conversation to heart and begin planning my boys’ birthday parties! I’m wondering if I should introduce an outdoorsy theme this year… sounds like a great idea to me!
This post is sponsored by Allen’s. The opinions on this blog, as always are my own.