In support of Wendy at Things In Your Head with one of the best posts EVAH this week, I will admit it too- I really dislike playing with my kids outside. Go ahead and call CPS now, I’m not going to retract it. And since I gave up the running for Perfect Parent, I’m not real worried about losing out on that either.
As Wendy pointed out, when we were kids our parents told us to go outside and play, and we did. End of story. They weren’t expected to entertain us or be our constant playmates, thats what other kids were for. I remember being as young as two or three playing outside by myself in a yard that not only was unfenced, but had train tracks running through the very back of the lot. I can feel the gasps from here- How did you ever survive?? Back then there was a clear line between kids and adults. Kids played, adults did whatever adults did. Adults did not schedule their entire lives around what the kids wanted. If they could work it in, great. If not, oh well. I can’t imagine a person of my parents generation spending the entire day shuttling kids back and forth to school, sports and playdates, even if they WERE a stay at home mom. Yet like so many of my own generation, that is exactly how my time is spent.
Our lives are so child-centered it’s not even funny. John Rosemond is by far my favorite parenting ‘expert’, though funny enough is probably the most controversial out there right now. Why? Because he has the nerve to stand up and say that something isn’t right here. That a household should revolve around the parents, and not the kids. That kids should spend as much time on their own as possible, NOT being entertained by their parents. That all this ‘self-esteem boosting’ activity is actually going to do more harm than good.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t spend time with our kids. But there is a big difference between spending quality time, and micromanaging to the point we have no time for ourselves. How many of us have felt like we have lost ourselves in motherhood, and that we have to really work to discover who we are underneath the burp cloths and nursing bras? Yet how many of us could rattle off the name of every Blues Clues character or the lyrics to every Backyardigans song? Does that not say something about our priorities?
Our end goal in raising children is to make them completely self-sufficient so they can go off and make happy, successful lives for themselves. I’m not so sure I’m on the right path to doing that when they do not seem to be able to entertain themselves for more than 5 minutes at a time without needing my attention.
Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what we are pressuring each other to become?