A Perfectly “Imperfect” Winter Break

01/06/2017 11:12 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2017

Prior to the last school bell in December, I had imagined some perfectly-planned winter break activities that my daughter would, without a doubt, file away in her thought bank of Cherished Childhood Memories.

In my over-active imagination, I conjured up idyllic ideas of hours upon hours of quality time together; going camping and climbing, playing educational games, and enjoying each others’ company. I thought about arranging playdates where she could giggle with friends in the snow or spend time doing team-building activities that would nurture her “I can do it” spirit. In my mind, her winter break was going to be perfect.

Though my notion of “perfect kid holidays” could easily have been concocted by over-reading parenting blogs or a binge-run of some Hallmark-endorsed show, they weren’t. Instead, these ideas snuck into my thoughts mainly out of the desire for my daughter to have a healthy vacation time (which excluded being babysat by electronics).

And then we all got a cold.

Being sick meant changing many of our ideas, including nixing a desert climbing and camping trip in 13 degree Fahrenheit weather. Instead, burdened with sticky phlegm and some stubborn coughs, we opted for a cozy staycation to help nurture us back to health. This meant making more plan compromises which, to my initial dismay, included my daughter spending a lot of time playing Minecraft.

I’ll be the first to say it: I am pretty hard on myself as a parent. I want my daughter to have the best and be supported to go after her dreams. But, then reality settles in. I work from home and am busy with ten thousands tasks I assign myself. And, despite all that my husband and I do with our daughter, we do have limited time and resources that prevents us from doing everything we would like to do.

Yes, I still want my daughter to have the best and so I really try, try, try when I can. And, though we spend a lot of quality time together, eat healthy, exercise daily, as well as the fact that my daughter does extremely well in school, my vision of being a “good mom” doesn’t include a lot of time watching TV nor playing video games.

But, after phlegm and exhaustion, that’s where I finally chose to give in to the pixelated seduction of Minecraft and electronic fun.

Yes, we still played a ton of board and card games, read several books, did some fun science experiments, went sledding, as well as got to host a Christmas gathering and some fun playdates. But, despite my self-assigned “Perfect Mother” plan, spacing out online and in front of screens made its way into our holiday scene. And, after a bit, I too found myself starting a few of my own sentences with the familiar phrase known to parents worldwide: “In Minecraft…”

Sara Zimmerman / Unearthed Comics
Comic by Sara Zimmerman of Unearthed Comics

Those two words slipping past my own lips showed me that my idealized winter break for my child was just that, an ideal, and that sometimes doing my best means allowing things to be as they are, Minecraft or not. Though I’m going to continue to aim for my parenting ideals, I’m going to work on enjoying whatever the realities of the circumstances bring.

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