I believe they “invented” school away from the home all those years ago because of moms like me. My son is an angel at school and when I try to do school work with him at home, I end up so frustrated because he simply can’t sit still and focus on what I’m trying to tell him. I wonder the whole time who the child at school is? I’m glad he does well there and it confirms my notion that I was not meant to home school. Another reason I’m thankful for school away from my home is simply for the fact that I can’t “entertain” him for 15-16 hours a day anymore. I just cannot fathom how some people can home school their kids and I give them props for being able to do that. It is no small feat I’m sure.
That being said, we are almost 3 weeks into summer vacation and I have lost my mind 42 times already. There is a big difference between being a kid today compared to when I was one. I sometimes long for the days like in my childhood for my kids. Staying outside all day, only to come in to pee and eat. Inventing games to play with neighbors, putting on skits for our parents and practicing for days to do that, exploring the outdoors, riding our bikes everywhere, watching good movies in our PJ’s. I loved my childhood and I guess the sense of freedom I had, especially as I was growing older and proving to be more responsible. My parents knew the general area I was at, but didn’t “watch” my every move. I had rules/boundaries and I followed them because I didn’t want to get in trouble and have to be indoors with them. Life was great!
I’m not sure what exactly has happened between 1984 and today. I understand that parents are worried and scared of strangers and possible abductions, molestation, etc. Were our parents not worried about that too? I get wanting to make sure your child is playing safely so he doesn’t get injured, didn’t my parents think about that? When exactly did “helicopter parenting” take off? Why do kids nowadays feel like they are entitled to everything (mine included) and why do they get so bored so easily?
Case in point, the other day I was outside with Noah and Reagan. Noah will often go out on his “own” to play with the neighbors and I just require he tell me where he’s at. I really don’t worry too much about him and 9 times out of 10 he’s exactly where he says he’ll be and/or I can see him playing outside. Reagan only being 3 requires me to be outside with her and I get that if no one is “playing” with her, she requires attention from me or ideas on what to do. Now the other day I was sitting in the garage watching Reagan ride her bike and Noah and his friends came down to my house. At first they were riding their bikes in the driveway, on scooters, etc. being kids but then they’d stop and stare at me. “Go play,” I’d say tired of everyone just looking at me and/or hanging on me. “There’s nothing to do,” said Noah who has only been outside about 20 minutes now. Mind you, these kids have trampolines they can use, swing sets, yards and yards of land to play baseball or football on, I had the baby pool set up and our crazy hose attachment sprayer thing on, they have bikes, scooters and now some have electric scooters as not to overwork their young legs, we have a farm in our backyards with some wooded areas for exploring, my gosh, the list goes on and on. I rattle off about 10 things they can do like I did just now and these kids are just wasting time circling around me in the garage. I said, “Noah, get your Nerf guns and try to make to the tree without getting shot, or set up targets and shoot them, do something.” Still just walking around the garage. After they knock over a few things I finally get up and force them out to figure out something and play. 10 minutes later they are back. They splashed around in the pool a bit, sprayed each other with the hose thing and then are back to swarming around me like bees.
If I’m inside then they come traipsing in and out, over and over, like a heard of cattle again, not really doing anything but making a mess, annoying me and letting bugs in the house. Go play I say over and over, and honestly sometime I wonder if they know how to just “play”. Now some days are better than others and Noah isn’t up my butt as bad and before you get all “he needs attention from you” on me, I do try my best to spend quality time with him everyday. We even do family things together and I treat him and Reagan to a special lunch occasionally, but it gets old having to constantly keep an eye on Reagan and entertain her and try to get Noah to figure out ways to play EVERY SINGLE DAY. I want him to be a kid and play with his friends and be able to entertain himself independently, but it seems if he’s done with the 3 or 4 things he can come up with, he’s at a loss. And heaven forbid if the neighbor kids are not home, then I have to listen to him bicker and fight with Reagan all day. Like nails on a chalk board those 2 can be. “It’ll be good having 2 kids, they can play together and be best friends”. That’s true about 15% of the time 🙂
From what I’ve been hearing from other moms and reading on my Facebook feed, I’m not alone. Mom’s everywhere are crying out for cheap ideas to entertain their kids during the summer. My pinterest is filled with ideas from the super moms who make homemade obstacle courses or have bins of boredom busters. I pin them and look at them and think about how great of an idea that is or we should totally do that and then days turn into weeks and I haven’t tried it.
I’m just not sure what or when the changes to childhood happened and I want my kids to grow up and look back on their childhoods with fond feelings like I do. I didn’t go to camps (maybe a short sports camp here or there), or on exciting vacations all the time (my sister and brother are much older than me so when they were older and out of the house we didn’t really do family vacations much anymore), I didn’t have a neighborhood like my kids have filled with so many other kids and options of things to play with at any given time, yet I had fun. I figured it out and had great summers. Once I was a little bit older, my friends and I would ride our bikes to the pool and spend our days there. We don’t have that option here but have neighbors with pools 🙂
I feel like something got lost in the last 3 decades and our children are loosing all the good things that make life fulfilling and fun while they are young and its being replaced with kids who need 18 hours of constant entertainment and have feelings of entitlement and wants, and when they want something they want it now. I’m trying so hard to teach my kids that they are not entitled to anything and trying desperately to get Reagan to stop whining about everything, but that is a constant work in progress.
Maybe I’m just overreacting and need to understand that Noah is still young and needs to be pushed to come up with things on his own. I tell myself that one day he won’t want to be around me at all anymore and I’ll miss this time. Maybe I need to adapt better to our changing world and not be so pissed that this day and age of instant access to everything at our fingertips is not going to go away, but get more and more advanced. Maybe I just gotta give up the notion that everything should be how it was when I was young and just let my kids annoy me for the summer. Did my mom and dad have these internal struggles when I was a kid?
I don’t know. I have no answers. All I know is there are 68 more days until school starts back up and I’ll have a first grader. I hope he’ll one day look back and have feelings of happiness when he thinks about his summers off of school and not of sadness because his mom was crazy and loosing her mind. Only time will tell.