When my first born was about 6 months old, I was convinced that he needed to be at story hour every week without fail. He was obviously going to be the smartest baby EVER. I joined a playgroup and forced myself to go to their meetings even though I had just about nothing in common with any of the other moms. After all, my kid HAD to be socialized early (and ever-present family and visitors just weren’t enough, duh). If it weren’t for my grounded realist of a husband, he would have been in a different overpriced baby class every day of the week. I mean, c’mon- I am an involved, concerned parent who only wants the best for her kid. Right??
Well, now that my babies are big boys (at the ripe old ages of 5 and 3 1/2), I still find myself getting caught up in the “we MUST do it ALL” trap once in a while. About a month ago, I was positive that the summer just wouldn’t be complete without camp, sports, swimming lessons, playdates, day trips, and a family vacation. Oh yeah, and not only is nothing cheap, but I’m not working this summer. Cool. Oh well, I was willing to eat hot dogs every night for dinner if it meant my kids would be well-rounded. (Just the admittance of that statement makes me throw up in my mouth now.)
And then summer got started and I realized that all they really wanted to do was build with LEGOs in their pjs, ride their bikes while wearing capes down our street, run through the sprinkler, and swim in the backyard pool. Was I going to be ok with this, or was I going to force feed them daily “fun”? I was so stressed out that they would run out of stuff to do, and end up spending their days getting on my flipping nerves because they had nothing to do. Again, my grounded realist of a husband jumped in and reminded me (should I be embarrassed to admit here that I’m actually a teacher, and I should know this stuff?) that being bored once in a while is not a bad thing. It’s the boredom that encourages kids to use their imaginations, and so much learning happens through play.
Yes, we still have them doing stuff this summer; but not nearly as much as some of these other mothers I see and hear about. We’ve got one in tee-ball and the other in soccer. They play at the Y, and I look for stuff around town to take them to. But they have a ton of down time. And guess what, Fellow Mamas? My kids are smart. They are social, imaginative little people who ARE well-rounded. They actually have time to use the 8 gazzilion toys that they have all over my house, they have time to get bored, and they have time to figure that all out on their own. So this summer they will play. They have the rest of their lives to be scheduled.
And now I ask you:
- What do you have your kids involved in this summer?
- Have you ever felt pressure from other moms to sign your kids up for stuff?
I’d honestly like to hear your thoughts here. Leave me a comment!