I overheard a mother today list the many and varied activities of her children. She had a smile on her face but I could hear the exhaustion in her voice. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I’ve spoken to countless other parentals and they all wear the same expression; the frozen smile and the nervous laugh masking deep exhaustion. What gives, people? Are our lives controlled by the ‘shoulds’ of parenthood? Are children more demanding these days? How have we reached this place of frenetic activity and if we’re tired, how are our kids feeling?

In our society busy equals important. Mobile phones have become a status symbol; the more it rings the more important you are. Am I being too harsh on our culture or is it this the ugly truth? Similarly, in the kid world, it seems that we have bought the lie that if our little ones aren’t busy, then we have failed as parents. And they will miss out… forever!!! What age is too late for ballet or soccer or cricket? It seems that the panic sets in way too early in this insane modern era.

I just think that we need to let our kids play. I remember times at my grandparents’ house where my brother and I would race snails, which now seems so old fashioned. We had no computer games and no planned activities. It was simply, here was a garden, there are some snails, let’s poke their eyes, line them up and see what happens. Meanwhile my mum was sitting inside having a cuppa and a natter sans guilt.

Pressure. No more pressure, parents! All you have to do is love your children. They won’t miss out if they don’t join every club, activity and skill set. They will be ok. We must stop to pat ourselves on the back now and then, pause to have a conversation with our kids, have one on one time if that’s possible. That is all they crave. Eye to eye, perhaps nose to nose. A shared experience with their precious mamma or dadda.

Leave busyness to those who thrive on it. If life is driving you crazy then quit something. Make some space to breathe and enjoy your family. Special, intimate times shouldn’t be restricted to holidays and birthdays. And that’s what I think!