I’ve noticed something since I quit working to be a full-time mom: there are a lot of moms out there who make it seem like they do a lot of stuff with their kids. Some are super crafty, others are into the education game, and others just do a lot of stuff. For four years, I’ve felt like I should be doing more with my kids and yet we never seem to really do anything.
Case in point: my kids have been playing together for over 3 hours today. Downstairs, or in their room. Far away from me. Completely independent of my supervision. It’s like I’m only here in case of emergency. I’m a red fire-alarm: break in case of fire.
Of course we do things. We go for a walk almost every day and then play outside. I don’t let them play freely outdoors if I’m not with them, since we’re on 4 acres of unfenced, treed land and I haven’t successfully implanted them with invisible fence trackers… They come with me to get groceries. We go to Little Beans or Cafe O Play once or twice a week. I take them to swimming lessons and dance class. But other than that??
We don’t do much.
If they ask for a craft, I’ll let them explore the craft cupboard on their own. GLITTER FOR ALL!! If they ask to bake something, we do. If they bring me a book, I read it. I make sure they get dressed before supper time, and wash their faces and brush their teeth. Sometimes they help me vacuum.
But we really don’t DO much.
Even as a mom to newborns, I wasn’t a structured parent. The most I did was feed on a 3-hour schedule because, let’s face it: there were two hungry critters begging for boobies. It was schedule, or let my skin grow into the fabric of my glider. But we didn’t do baby signing, or tummy time, or anything developmental. Heck, I kept my kids off the ground as much as possible for fear that they would learn to move :) Despite my best efforts, they did learn to sit, crawl, walk, run, and talk back.
Nowadays, my girls have vivid imaginations without my involvement. They sing and dance and play together. They fight and cry together. Occasionally, I call them to the table for food. More often then not, they don’t want to eat lunch because they’d rather play.
I make no excuses. My husband knows I have it pretty easy most days. Of course there are hairy, tantrum-filled days. The bugz are four! But I can’t say I have it hard. He goes to work. My kids watch themselves. I blog and play with my puppy and clean my house a little. It’s a pretty charmed life.
Our life is one big ball of free play.
So when I sit here, not having directly parented my kids for over 3 hours, I start to wonder: am I screwing something up? Or is this relaxed lifestyle just what we need? Am I fostering independence by letting them make their own day-to-day time table, or am I hampering their ability to transition into the “real world” full of clocks and deadlines?
Or is it all just a farce? A facade? Are there actually stay-at-home moms out there that are really doing lots of stuff with their preschoolers every day?? Is every day organized (to a degree), with structured time for learning, playing, crafts, TV, outside play…?
What are your thoughts? Is this lazy parenting, or am I just going with the flow? Is this the parental equivalent of unschooling? Where do you draw the line in your own house? Do you really do it all, or do you just like to pin lots of kids’ activities to your Pinterest boards?
What do YOU do all day at home?