A couple months ago my little man graduated to a big boy car seat, which meant that we had a large box available for him to play with to his heart’s content. He loved it! He crawled in and out, opened and shut the flaps, snuggled with his puppy, and relished in the sounds his cars made inside. I was feeling pretty good, myself. He was having fun and I was allowing freedom of child-directed play, satisfying my background in Early Childhood; my profession. So, I should know what I’m doing, right? Well, one evening, in walks the self-doubt of a Pinterest post. You know the one…
It’s no new thing to give your kid a box to play with, but this Pinterest momma had taken it to another level for her toddler and infant daughter. She poked holes in the ceiling of the box and hung a variety of objects to enhance sensory play and experiences. She had even made it possible to switch out objects to increase variety and interest. It was darling and there was nothing at all wrong with what she had done and posted about. What was wrong was me and my own perception. By the end of the article, I had allowed self-doubt and mommy guilt to set in and all I could think was “well crap, I’m an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and all I gave my kid was a box…I didn’t even do anything with it!”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest! Though now, with a toddler, I no longer possess the hours of free time to peruse the site, as I once did. My husband has kindly labeled Pinterest as “crack for women,” which is always accompanied by an eye roll. I still love a good Pinterest session, but it’s no secret that it can also be a catalyst for mommy guilt. After sitting with those guilty thoughts for a bit, I gained some perspective and put together a list of a few things that I and other mommas with Pinterest induced self-doubt can use to remember that we’re doing a great job!
- I gave my son 1:1 time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, quality can outshine quantity any day of the week.
- The world around us is filled with sensory experiences. He experienced the sound of his voice as he shouted in the box, the sensation and sound of his cars running over cardboard, and the feeling of being within a tightly enclosed space. A simple, plain box provided all that and more.
- Language expansion and exposure. At his young age the box gave us something new to talk about and describe. Parallel talk (talking about what your child is doing) allowed me to follow his interest and expose him to new words and concepts that may not have come up with his other toys.
So mommas, when self-doubt and comparison sneaks in and you wonder how in the world you can measure up to the “amazingness” you might see on Pinterest or other forms of social media, focus on what you are doing! Because I can guarantee that you’re doing so much more for your child than you’re giving yourself credit for, even if it is just a box.