Missing something? No, I don’t think so after all.

When we were preparing to move last summer, I unearthed a whole stack of family-oriented magazines from several years back. In more recent years I had marked and torn out what I was interested in (or checked and bookmarked the article online) and then passed it on to a friend, but this stack must have accumulated and then been forgotten before I started doing that.

I brought them with us to look through as I had time and just got to them last week. Many had turned-down corners noting something I wanted to consider doing with my own sons. I started looking at the dates of the magazines: many were from the time my youngest was in his toddler to preschool to early elementary years.

At first I started to kick myself and feel really guilty that I had never done all these neat activities with my children.

But then, I thought, “Now, wait just a minute!” We did do lots of things together:

We sat on the floor and made Lego creations.

We read books. Lots and lots of books. We made regular trips to the library and every library day afternoon was spent in happy reading all the new treasures.

We built tracks and loops for Hot Wheels cars.

We did puzzles.

We colored and painted.

We made various Play-Dough creations.

We had a multitude of Little People sets, thanks to my mom, and played seemingly endless scenarios with them.

We played untold rounds of a game called something like Memory Match (like Concentration from my childhood), Hi Ho Cheerio, Sorry, Candyland, and other games.

We took walks.

We went to the park.

We visited friends.

We played in the sandbox.

We blew bubbles.

We went to the zoo.

Even going to the grocery store was considered fun at certain ages.

We may not have done some of those neat unique activities in the magazines, but we did a lot of fun things and spent a lot of time together. I’ve thought to myself that I hoped that my lack of keeping up with baby books as I would have liked was due to my actually spending time with my kids.

Were those magazines a waste, then? I don’t think so. I did use some ideas over the years, but even the ones I missed using had a positive influence. Just like visiting a craft store or craft show or craft blogs sparks my own creative juices even if I never do the specific crafts I see, I think family magazines and idea books and these days mommy blogs can inspire my own goals with my family. But they need to be kept as an inspiration, a creativity-sparker, a supplement to our own real lives, not a burden, a guilt-producer, a competition against other moms and kids, an addition to an already crowded schedule.

As long as we’re spending both quality time and quantities of time together, nourishing our relationships, learning and growing, we don’t have to worry that we’re not keeping up with whatever everyone else does. Attentive time together is what matters most.

This post will be linked to “Works For Me Wednesday,” where you can find a plethora of helpful hints each week at We Are THAT family on Wednesdays, as well as  Women Living Well.

14 thoughts on “Missing something? No, I don’t think so after all.

  1. I really love your outlook on this! My daughter is in the toddler years now- and I really enjoy doing little crafts with her. And I also bookmark magazines! But I love your attitude that the inspiration is whats important. That it spur son quality time- not that the little one produces the best craft or does the neatest activity. Its the time together. Thank you for your wisdom:)

  2. I loved playing Memory with my daughter. It was the one game that was easy enough for her to play but challenging enough for me! And she usually could beat me, for real, even at age 3! Thanks for reminding us that the fanciest is not necessarily the best.

  3. I followed you over from the Women Living Well blog. I also try to take each day and appreciate the little things that make that day special. Popsicles “just because,” pushing my girlie on the swingset, listening to my boys endless mental replays and made up stories… Those are the moments that make memories for our children.

    I made a similar post in my own blog here: http://tillieisms.blogspot.com/2011/04/enjoying-small-moments.html

    With then-four (now five) children, I had to split it into two parts but watching for those moments are so important!

    Melissa

  4. This makes me feel better, too. I remember tearing out articles from Family Fun and other magazines, and rarely did I get around to all the cutesy ideas. But we did do other things together. All is good. Thanks, Barbara!

  5. Great reminders that even if we can’t do EVERYTHING, we do many every day things that are just as important.
    I pull out pages from magazines too and sometimes (most of the time) never get to the activities. I’ll stop feeling guilty about it 🙂

  6. Soon after my son married and began his own family, I apologized to him for the times I was angry with him and was a less that desirable Mom…..He said he what he remembered was how I played with them and spent time with them……that’s what matters, not what you do….as you said it can be simple things as long as it is together.
    Mama Bear

  7. I remember some of the things you’ve listed here that my parents did with me and my siblings when we were young; brought back some sweet memories!

    I love my magazines and I do find them useful. Lots of wonderful bite-sized information and tips.

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