Family life

Make 2014 the year you give yourself a break

Editor-in-chief Karine Ewart wants 2014 to be the year that all parents give themselves a break.

1ParentingBreak-December2013-iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

“No shortcuts with Milla, OK?”

This was the promise my husband and I made to each other the day after our daughter was born. We were attempting to put her into her car seat for the first time. It was December 16, 2001, and since it was winter, she was dressed in a pink puffy snowsuit. I’m sure we weren’t the only new parents who found it practically impossible to get our newborn (whose little body was still naturally curled into the fetal position) safely stowed in her travel system. During those moments of frustration, I read Jay’s mind: “Let’s just do the best we can and not worry too much if everything is perfect.” “No way,” I Jedi-mind- tricked back at him. “No shortcuts,” I said as we struggled with clips and straps.

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That was 12 years ago, and while I’m still glad that we made that vow way back then, I have definitely broken our golden rule many, many times. There are some very definitive instances when shortcuts are a very bad idea (like the car seat situation), but more often than not, shortcuts are actually quite brilliant (like making twice as much food for dinner so you have leftovers). Who doesn’t want a few extra minutes to play with their kids? Or to finish that cup of coffee?

But for some reason, “shortcuts” can make many of us feel guilty. If our gifts aren’t handmade, or our dinners aren’t from scratch, we start to wonder if we’re doing a good enough job. Baloney, I say. I have been known to joke, “I am going for average.” But in reality, it’s not untrue: We can only try our best. If that sometimes means not being perfect, so be it.

I’m sure it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but one of my favourite blogs is called “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” (yes, seriously). A recent post from the blogger who claims to be “the world’s OKest mom,” said: “It doesn’t always have to be perfect. Some days you can just pants it.” I loved the comment from reader Elizabeth Catalano even more. She said, “Mediocrity is not a dirty word. And as soon as my three-year-old can safely handle scissors, I plan to teach her to cut corners.”

So even though we must not skimp on safety issues, particularly when it comes to the well-being of our kids, I hereby grant you permission to take (or make) a shortcut or two for the greater good of you and your family. I say 2014 is the year we all give ourselves a break.

Tweet me @karine_ewart.

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