In this busy season of life, find solace in the fact that you are *enough,* mama

“Again, again, again!” Bee says. We are reading in the bedroom, and I have just finished telling her that she used to say “yellow” was “lellow” and “love” was “yove.” When announcing her favorite color, she’d proudly squeal, “I yove lellow!” and leave all of us grown-ups scratching our heads.

These days, these “again-again-again!” days are tiring, but in the good way. Bee will be four soon. Our days are filled with requests for brownies, requests for story time, requests for the zoo, requests for her own zoo, requests for me to switch jobs to become a zookeeper at her own zoo so she and the monkeys can have ice cream after hours.


“At my own zoo, there will be sea urchins,” she says. “I will measure them. They will weigh 400 minutes.”

We know of the many requirements of a parent’s job. There are sticky banana-coated plates to wash and dirty socks to soak and endless tangles to brush out at day’s end. There is the strawberry-cutting and the hide-and-seeking and the car-seat-buckling. The piggyback-riding and the sheet-tucking and the spill-wiping and the hand-holding. To say nothing of the hand-letting-go.

And then there’s the socializing, the manners, the cultural enrichment outside of Daniel Tiger’s jurisdiction.

In these again-again-again days, for many parents, the pressure is extraordinary. It’s a trap we all fall into, the temptation to measure our child’s progress.(It is, after all, the only way we can measure our own.)

The idea of letting down our kids, of providing them with an environment that is less than perfect, less than ideal, less than the standard—this is crippling for so many. Failing at parenthood means failing at life, doesn’t it?

So we schedule more activities, we buy the best gadgets for the most enriching learning experience. We teach them to play the violin at three and a half, we teach them to read at two, we teach them to speak Mandarin at one.

We pack it all in.

I will measure them.

Throw everything at them and let’s see what sticks, yeah?

They will weigh 400 minutes.

And here we sit, lamenting our lack of balance.

I have heard it said that we are precisely the parents our children need. Some of us will inspire world peace and equal rights for future generations. Some of us might be really good at making cherry cobbler and beds. Some of us may earn Nobel Peace Prizes, and some of us might consider it a win if we don’t sob and scream and threaten bedtime without dinner from 3:30 pm on.

But on the best of days, we can hope that we have everything our children need from us. We have dedication, commitment. We have patience. We have grace. We have forgiveness. We have persistence, forbearance, creativity.

We have everything our children don’t need from us too.

And yet.

We have love.

We have love, we have love, we have love.

It is difficult to be patient when you are late for your 6-year-old’s piano lesson and the toddler wants to put on her shoes “all by my own self!”

It is difficult to offer grace when your preteen leaves his bike in the driveway (again, again, again) and you have a meeting in four minutes.

And it is difficult to accept all of it—the love and the grace and the everything else—when you have failed. When you have swatted a behind and it connected too hard and you had promised yourself you would never parent that way and now there are two sets of tears.

Busyness is a byproduct of our culture. It is the sacrifice we make for our religion of more, for our perfectionist tendencies, for our temptation to overschedule, overinform, overprovide.But the answer is not to lower the expectations we have created. The answer, I believe, is to live up to the expectations we have been created for.

Live up to the expectation that you are what your child needs. That your focus, your time, your attention, your failings—that these are enough. Live up to the expectation that your behaviors are being copied. Your reactions are being noted. Your forgiveness is being accepted. Your shortcomings are being acknowledged, understood, embraced. Your best is being called for.

Live up to the expectation that in these again-again-again times, you are enough.

Do you know the best things in life cannot be measured? Aptitude is not a perfect test score. Balance is not a perfect day planner. Creativity is not a perfect art sculpture.The best things in life cannot be measured, but they can be learned, practiced, honed. In these again-again-again days with children in our homes, there are burning bacon and muddy paws and unrolled toilet paper, and there are yelling and do-overs, there are apologies and redeeming bath bubbles.

And there is great forgiveness, if we’re lucky. Immeasurable forgiveness, if we’re even luckier.

Bee will be four soon. She is still talking of her zoo, of the monkeys and the after-hours ice cream, of the sea urchins and her grandest dreams, her wildest plans.

I know the feeling. These again-again-again days are my grandest dreams, my wildest plans. I do not want to waste them. I do not want to spend this weighty and precious time gritting my teeth in the name of productivity, in the name of pursuit, in the name of perfection.

And if Bee can bring imagination to the suffocating precision of math, of time, of counting and measuring and balancing this great untouchable life?

I will measure them.

Well, perhaps so can I.

They will weigh 400 minutes.

And they’ll be gone in a flash.

This is an excerpt from the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.

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In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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