When Childhood Needs a Little More Magic


This article has been blowing up my newsfeed lately.  Apparently it resonates with a lot of parents, and if I had had come to motherhood differently, I may have “liked” it myself and moved on.  But, alas, my journey to being a mom came via the road less travelled, and I feel compelled to lend a different voice to the discussion.

Childhood is supposed to be magical.  Ok.  Pinterest makes people crazy.  Yep.  But leaving aside the 22% of American children living under the poverty line (often more concerned with survival than magic) things are not always as they seem.

I spent a good chunk of time after becoming a mom trying to convince myself that parenting is parenting is parenting.

It’s not.

Some of us are parenting children who have lived both too much and not enough in their short years.

Some of us are parenting children who must learn unlearn unhealthy independence to learn dependence to learn healthy independence.

Some of us are parenting children who battle physiological impulses that make emotional regulation hard and, in some moments, actually impossible.

Some of us are grieving the days and months and years we lost with our children and endeavoring mightily to make up for lost time.

Some of us are parenting children who need a little (or a lot) more magic in their lives.

And so…

What looks like babying might be building secure attachment.

What looks like micromanagement might be creating situations where a child can interact successfully.

What looks like extravagance might be creating a family story that runs deeper than blood.

What looks like spoiling might be a visual promise that there will never again be too little.

What looks like manufacturing magic might be learning that it is ok to be a kid.

My point is not that we should all obsess over Pinterest, overschedule our kids and give them lots of toys.

My point is precisely that because our kids are different, we should not ALL do anything.

Except maybe smile.

And tell that other mama that she’s doing a good job too.


7 thoughts on “When Childhood Needs a Little More Magic

  1. Jenni

    Exactly what I have been thinking about. It’s wonderful to see a child develop a sense of imagination after not having the opportunity to do so before.

  2. Sarah

    Spot on. Thank you. I’m pro-magic and that article didn’t sit well with me. Primarily because I grew up in a family that made little moments magical before Pinterest was even a thing. The problem is doing things for show, not the things themselves.

  3. DA

    I generally agreed with the article because people my age often unintentionally internalize the pinterest, instagram, and facebook lifestyle they see and race to emulate it. However, your point is well taken. If you are ‘keeping up with the magic’ and not ‘keeping up with the Jones’s, then I don’t think it’s problematic.

    Most of my friends though do not appear to be making their children’s lives magical, they appear to be using them as props in instagram pictures.

  4. working mama

    “What looks like micromanagement might be creating situations where a child can interact successfully.” So true!

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