Monday, July 22, 2013


Do you ever wonder if mamas who have come & gone before us fretted if they were doing a good job or not raising their little ones or if our era is one of the first to do so?  We who have so much available to us to assist us in parenting. The technology & it's wealth of information, the experts, the freedom we have as women to be so independent  & to model so much for our daughters & sons.  The gadgets like bottle warmers & wipe warmers. The baby carriers so our hands can still be free instead of always having to set a crying baby down or cradle them or have them on our hips when a different need or duty arises  .The dad's who are more hand's on then men before them. Which I don't know about y'all, but I am so thankful for my man who could always swaddle our babes better than me with his eyes closed & still is the preferred bath giver to the boys in our house.  Might have something to do with the fact that he may or may not encourage a squall to take place in the tub.  I tend to be a little more businesslike & like to focus on the task at hand.  Who needs fun?  Let's just wash up & get clean. Writing that I admit his way is better, but boys just seem better at making big splashes.

I was reading Little House In The Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the other night & was struck how she purposefully mentioned how After the day's work is done that their mama would play with them & that if their papa happened to come home early he would be able to play with them.  It made me think, because so often I feel bad if I put my kiddos on hold so I can do the dishes or put a load in the washer or do some other necessary, but not fun, household task.  I know raising kiddos in 2013 is an entirely different ball game than it was back in The Big Woods of Wisconsin so many years ago, but I can't help but wonder if I have gotten to involved in entertaining my boys?  Granted playing with them & entertaining them are two different things. Even Laura's mama & papa played with her & her sisters.  But so often I put guilt on myself for tending to the things that need tending to. I am fairly sure my Grammy never felt this way as she shooed my mom & her sister out of the house for the day.  I know for a fact she would either leave them at home sleeping while she ran to the grocery store or leave them in the car.  Even as recent as when my husband was a child he & his brothers would be sent out side not to return until a meal time.

I have never really thought I entertain my boys too much.  They are both naturally inclined to play by themselves & with one another really well so I have always thought we were good in the hood.  It made playing games or pretend or playing catch with them really fun, because they weren't always asking me throughout the entire day to do something with them.

Then It happened.  Yard work day. My husband & I decided to dedicate a Saturday to yard work.  We wouldn't make any other plans & our hope (ha!) was to get a lot accomplished while the boys frolicked outside in the fresh air for the entire day. Well, I guess the boys didn't get the memo, because they were none to pleased to spend said day frolicking outside.  Initially they were pumped to help dad gather pruned grape vines & apple tree branches, but that only lasted a short while.  Then the whining & questioning began.  "Where are we going today?  When can we go in?  Can we watch a movie?  I don't wanna be outside anymore?  What is there to do?"  And that went on & on as you may imagine for a good chunk of time.  That is when it hit me.  My kids are too entertained!  Maybe not directly by my husband & I, but also by our culture & it's fast paced ways & by always being on the go & always having a schedule to keep.  I spent countless Saturdays at the house while I was growing up so my parents could work in the yard.  It was more of a novelty for us to go somewhere than it was to spend the entire day at home.

So we decided  to sell everything & move to the wood of Wisconsin in search of a slower & simpler lifestyle.  But that plan only lasted a few minutes, because we remembered we lived in the Midwest once-upon-a-time & the only thing that goes on in Wisconsin woods these days are competitions of driving snowmobiles over lakes & mosquitoes.  Lots & lots of mosquitoes. So then what to do?  How to maintain the tricky balance of being a grown up & doing grown up things & also fostering independent play & ideas in our kiddos so that one day when they go off into the real world they will be able to flourish & frolic & not need their mama to tell them what to do on their day off? I didn't have any timely epiphanies to accompany the realization that my kiddos live a fast paced life style that demands their attention & makes slower days more difficult to navigate, but I am hoping that by being mindful of that it will help me in weighing what we commit to doing, what activities they are signed up for & the overall pace that we set for our days.

Would love to hear what works for your family as you maintain the balance of schedule in your days, weeks & months.

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