We are two days in. Two. Days. It feels like two weeks, but in reality, we are two days into a two week Fall break at my kids’ school. My boys go to the local French school (yes, I know, we live in Bosnia. And no, French is not a prolific language spoken here. Please reference this post for more explanation on that.) The French system is structured for optimum French learning. Read: they take a lot of breaks! The kids get an hour and a half for lunch every day for crying out loud! They also get two weeks off every 6-7 weeks. So, this is only the first of FOUR two week breaks! Lord have mercy. As the days led up to this holiday for my boys, I was filled with frantic worry and panic over how to entertain them. We don’t live in a place with ample activities for two elementary boys and their two year old sister. It didn’t help that every person I mentioned to that the kids were home asked the same question, “So, do you have big plans?” Each time I wanted to scream, “Noooooo! No, I don’t have any plans whatsoever. No, I’m not driving them to the coast. No, I have no Pinterest craft projects set up. No. No. No.” I blame my generation for this nonsense. It has to be our fault. It certainly isn’t our parents. They NEVER planned craft projects for school breaks. There were no day trips to local hot spots. We spent our vacation days hiding from Mom. If she found you, she was likely to enlist you in household chores, or make you tag along to go to the grocery store. She didn’t stop her daily routine for us. She just added us in the mix. Since I know you are reading this, Mom, please hear me when I say that I don’t blame you. As a matter of fact, I don’t have any negative thoughts, memories or delusions about my holidays spent at home. Which just goes to show that my generation does this to ourselves! In our apparent attempt at overachieving, we have created a bunch of crazies who think that they need us to have fun. We’ve also created a bunch of crazy parents that think we must have a product to show for our time. Whether it be a sequin encrusted flower pot, a receipt showing we bought a fabulous experience or a handful of exhausted and cranky kids who have been subjected to mandatory fun for a little too long, we feel like we need evidence. Evidence that we did something today. So, I say, “enough is enough!” I will be the first to throw down the gauntlet. No more activities to prove that I’ve done something. No more worrying about answering that dreaded question, “so, what did you guys do today?” From now on, there will be more games of hide and seek while I put the laundry away. More “if you’re bored, why don’t you get a book?” And a lot less crossing off lists of fun things to do. I know that my kids are growing up faster than I can keep up with. I realize that I will look back on these times with them and will miss the silly, funny personalities that they have. So, please, don’t get me wrong. I will still bake cookies with them (which we did today with orange chocolate chips sent in a care package! -thanks Tonya!). We will carve pumpkins and paint popsicle stick creations. We will watch movies and have dance-offs. But now, it won’t be because every minute of our days need to be scheduled. It won’t be because the Facebook/Pinterest police are in my head subconsciously judging my parenting based on iPhone pictures and copious amounts of glitter under my kitchen table. Now, we’ll do it because we want to. Because the time is right, our attitudes are positive and our spirits are sweet and ready. Won’t you join me? Let’s teach our kids how to be involved in their playtime, rather than be passively entertained. And if you won’t join me, how about you just keep your judgements to yourself. Because my kids have a game of Ninja warrior to play as I sing along with REK and make dinner.
Stick to it, gal! Proud of you.
Children need to exercise their own imagination in order to develop. If we provide all of the entertainment, we do a disservice to them and their future success.
Let the people say, “AMEN, sister!!!” I’m backing you 100%—-but that’s because I did it that way with mine. : )
Aah, memories… During our times off from school, there was an unwritten lockout rule at our house. You’d be thrown outside in the morning and you knew not to come in until dinnertime. She had things to get done and she wasn’t going to let four hooligans get in her way. Yes, Mom would bring out P&J sandwiches at lunchtime so we had no starvation issues. And she’d permit us to go inside to use the potty, so we didn’t have to build a makeshift outhouse. We were like birds who all claimed their territory! We clearly understood the house was Mom’s nest and the outside was our domaine!
Funny thing. We never got bored and we never held the lockout against our Mom. We thought all Moms did this. It was amazing all the things we figured out to do with our time…on our own.
Maybe that’s where my independence started, maybe that’s where I got my creativity, maybe that’s where I got my get-up-and-go! Thanks to all Moms like Heather and my Mom who understand the right dose of, “You’re on your own on this one.”