Have you ever planned a trip thinking about how much your kids will love it because it was something you did as a child and just have the fondest of memories, only to find that your kids absolutely hate it? Well if so mama, you are not alone!
Many times, as parents, I believe we like to live our childhood memories through our children only to have them dash our hopes and dreams. Kids can turn what we think should be an amazing time into something from a comedy movie, only we are the ones not laughing. I don’t know about you but I tend to do this all of the time!
Recently my family went apple picking and I thought to myself, “Oh this is a fun fall activity the kids will love! We did it last year and had a blast! We can wear matching shirts, drink cider, and eat those delicious apple cider doughnuts!” We had talked about it as a family and everyone initially seemed so excited. My expectations were through the roof!
Once we got there though things changed…
The only thing my kids wanted to do was play on the playground, and I did not drive all that way to play on a playground. (How many times have we heard that saying before?) We could do that at home. Instead of just going with the flow I tried to force it, and let me tell you that you can not force a good time no matter how hard you try, mama!
This just led to more frustration and anger on my part. I was essentially dragging my kids through an apple orchard when I could have just bought the apples from the stand, and let my kids play. This made us all miserable. I forced them to fill our bag before allowing them to go back to play on the playground, while I stood in line for the doughnuts that they didn’t even eat.
On the way home I was furious because I had built up such a large expectation in my head of how the day should have gone, that I forgot to live in the moment with my kids and have fun. As I was reflecting on why I was so angry I realized my kids are never going to love the same things I loved as a child. We grew up in different worlds.
For example, I didn’t have any electronic devices to play with on car trips and instead was forced to look outside. Now I get frustrated that my kids don’t like to look outside at the beautiful sites. But why should they if they have other forms of entertainment? I wouldn’t have either if I had had something else to do. They aren’t going to love doing all of the same things I loved because they are not me.
I think it is so easy to forget that our kids are their own people sometimes. We often like to think of them as extensions of ourselves, but they aren’t. They are uniquely their own person. Instead of forcing them to enjoy all of the things we enjoy we should instead be making new memories with them, and learning ourselves to enjoy some new things right along with them.
So the next time you find yourself doing this exact same thing, try and remember to take a step back and live in the moment. Make new memories with your little ones instead of trying to relive the old ones. You will be so much happier that you did, and so will your kids.