Some days, parenting feels like a breeze, days when the kids are behaving, a good, home-cooked meal is waiting in the oven, sporting events and friends fill our hours and bedtime is wrapped up with an awesome Bible story or book.
But then there are other days, days when the kids are fighting, Dad comes home late to a dinner of leftovers, and I feel overwhelmed with all the things I'm not doing right as a mom.
Sometimes those feelings can really get to me; there are so many do's and don'ts of parenting that it's easy to just give up and slip by doing "just enough."
I wonder how many of us do just that as parents? We just throw up our hands and sort of say, "I can't do it; it's too much!" Oh sure, we're still "there;" we're just not doing the things we know we're supposed to be doing because it seems a bit overwhelming.
So what are the things that nag at the back of your mind as far as your family life goes? What are those things you're not doing that you know you really should be? You know, the things you plan on getting to someday, but someday never really comes.
Maybe you know you should be feeding your kids a better diet with more fruits and veggies and less fast foods; maybe you should be taking the summer to practice reading and multiplication skills with your kids; or maybe it's something much more important like making sure you pass on your faith to your children.
That's the biggie for me. We often get started on a regular schedule of nightly Bible time, and then we start to get too busy and miss a night, then two or three, and the next thing you know, it's been weeks!
That's when it's time to push ourselves, climb back up on that horse and get to ridin' again in the right direction. It's hard to be consistent when everything around you is always changing - family life can be crazy - but it's not OK to give up and say, "Oh well, we tried."
That won't be enough for your kids. They expect more, and they deserve better. After all, they are your kids, and if you don't take the time to teach them and be with them, then who will?
Think of your own "ideal parent" and see where you measure up - or fall short. Maybe even make a list of things you should be doing with or for your kids, and then pick one thing and pursue it. Find a way to intentionally do whatever it is day by day. It could be that five-minute Bible story or introducing your kids to broccoli, but whatever it is, do it.
The way you'll feel at having accomplished that one thing in your child's life will be motivation enough for you to move on down to the next thing on your list. Hopefully, by the time your kids are grown, you'll be able to look back and say with honesty, "I did my best."
Ruthie Davidson is a mother of four children, ages 5 to 10. She lives in South Daytona and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.