I Can’t Give My Child “The World”

I stood staring at the aisle of kid’s crafts.

I debated with myself over what I should buy Toddler for her second birthday. I knew what I had in mind before I arrived at the craft aisle:

A new pack of markers. {The kid loves to color.}

I spotted them quickly: a set of ten, ultra-clean, washable Crayola markers. {Bonus points for all the non-paper victims of Toddler’s scribbling.}

I added a Sesame Street notepad for her to color in, and a set of alphabet magnets just because.

But then I kept staring at the aisle of kid’s crafts. And I started feeling guilty.

It was like my shoulder devil was whispering in my ear: “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to buy your child for her birthday? You're only going to spend $7.97? And did you forget to notice that what you are calling the ‘kid’s crafts aisle’ is really the office supply section at the grocery store? Who buys their kid’s birthday present from the grocery store? How horrible of a parent are you?!

And that’s when I started staring and debating with myself over what else I should buy Toddler for her second birthday:

Well, maybe I should get her two packs of markers. I could buy her a set of thick AND a set of thin ones. And maybe I should throw in some stickers. And some new pencils? And maybe a few bottles of glitter glue? Or maybe I should go online and find a professionally certified art set that includes finger paints and oil pastels too!

And then suddenly it hit me: I was falling for it.

I was falling for the lie that as a parent, I am supposed to give my child everything. That I am supposed to give her all the things.

I was falling for the lie that I have to give my child “the world” in order for her to be well adjusted and happy. That "enough" isn't actually "enough."

I was falling for the lie that I am supposed to make parenting harder than it already is. That I’m supposed to be some sort of parent that I am not.

We might not realize it, but this thought process and these unnecessary pressures we put on ourselves start early in our parenting careers.

But, why should the parents who could watch HGTV all day but want nothing to do with a hammer or paintbrush have to design a nursery that Pinterest threw up all over? {A crib and some dark blinds will work just fine.}

And why should the parents who are registering for seven baby showers have to add that “Temperature Test Duck” that tests baby’s bath water, or any other baby crap to the list just so Aunt Fanny knows what to buy them? {Some extra diapers and wipes will work just fine.}

And why should the parents who think they are supposed to provide a “child-proof environment” filled with “developmentally appropriate toys” and “brain-stimulating activities” have to turn their house into multi-colored, musical, bubble wrap? {Some parental supervision, pots and pans, and a couple hours of fresh air each day will work just fine.}

And why should the parents who feel pressure to plan fancy birthday parties for their children when that’s not their thing, to sign up their kids for a million extra-curricular activities when that’s not within their financial means, or to send their three-year-old to school when they don't think they're ready, have to? {A plate of cupcakes, playing at the park with Daddy, and reading a few books with Mommy will work just fine.}

I can't give my child "the world." I couldn't give my child "the world" even if I wanted to. And I don't want my child to think that my goal as her parent is to give her "the world" anyways.

Because while Mommy and Daddy can’t give her “the world,” we can give her a whole lot of other things:

We give her clothes and food and a cozy bed to lay her head down at night. We give her lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you’s.” We give her our affirmation, our time, and our presence. We give her direction and discipline.

We give her knowledge of the One who loves her so much that He will provide exactly what she needs, when she needs it. (Matthew 6:25-34) 

We give her our love.

And on her second birthday, we gave her a set of ten, ultra-clean, washable, Crayola markers, a Sesame Street notepad, and a set of alphabet magnets.

And if our happy, well adjusted, two-year-old is satisfied with that, then why can't I be too? Why do I have to let other people or advertisements or the world-wide interweb steal my contentment and satisfaction and joy from parenting? Why do I have to fall for the lie that "enough" isn't actually "enough?"

Because just as I suspected before I stared too long at the kid’s craft aisle debating myself over what I should get her for her birthday, Toddler was thrilled with her gift. 

She didn’t even wonder if Mommy and Daddy love her when they only spent $7.97.

It's good to give our children good things. And it's good to remember that giving our children "good things" does not mean we have to give them all the things.

Grace and Peace,


P.S. What kinds of "parenting pressures" do you feel from the world around you? How do they steal your contentment and satisfaction and joy from parenting?