Recently, a high school friend of mine posted a blog entry about how she felt that she had been slacking as a parent this summer. As in, she felt like she hadn’t provided her kids with enough fun stuff to do. We’ve all felt that way. I know I have. Just a couple of weeks ago I was feeling guilty that we had only checked one thing off the kids summer “list” of things they wanted to accomplish. In the very first paragraph, my friend mentions that our mothers never would have felt this way. This is totally true. Which got me thinking.
Our kids are so flipping busy. They are always on the go. I know I’m guilty of keeping my kids super busy during the school year. As a result, my kids go to Camp Mommy every summer. We try to do fun stuff, but after a school year full of being flat out, I call “time out” for summer. Of course, my version of “time out” might not be that slow going, ask Betty. She thinks we’re flat out all the time. Some of that is just my personality. (And the rest is my need to have my kids go to bed so tired every night that they sleep through the night. Without waking up and wandering into our bedroom to interrupt my blissful sleep.)
Anyhoo… I have yet to pay for any sort of summer camp. Partly, because I don’t want to spend the money and partly because I want down time, with my kids. I suppose if one of my kids wanted to do a week or two of some sort of specialty camp, fine. But nobody has pushed the issue yet. And why would they? Camp Mommy is pretty fun. Most of our friends have pools (and they all know that the answer to any invitation is always “yes”.) My parents have a lake house 25 minutes away. We spend 10 days each summer down the beach. There’s a zoo in our town. There are, of course, the days when Sue and the kids come over to play, and all four kids try to see who can make the best fart noises on their arms over lunch. The end result is that, yes, some days we are flat out busy here at Camp Mommy. Other days, not so much. I love the not so much days just as much as I love the flat-out days. Take this week for example. Monday we hit the zoo with some friends that we hadn’t seen in two years. Then they came back to our house to play for a bit. Tuesday we spent most of the day hanging with Sue and co, then Little Man had swim lessons in the afternoon. Wednesday we drove an hour and 45 minutes to visit a friend at the beach. Yesterday we finished back to school shopping and today we ran an errand in the morning and then have will have dentist appointments this afternoon. Yes, we’re busy, but it’s not all structured. Some of it is, but I love the ability to have a play date (or two) smack in the middle of the week. We can hardly keep up with our local friends during the school year, so it’s nice to make plans with friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years and catch up. Let’s not forget, I’m an Aquarian, and every once in a while I need time at home, in my bubble.
I cherish the play dates, both for my kids and myself. Either I get to do things around the house while they play with friends, or I get to hang out with the moms who are my friends. It’s a win-win. As the kids get older, I feel like homework, sports and activities will dominate their lives more and more. There is very little time for unstructured play during the school year. It NEEDS to fit in over the summer. There is something to be said for just hanging with friends or just having down time at home. After full school year, it’s almost like my kids forget how to just go off and play by themselves. Going off on one’s own and keeping busy is an important life skill, that seems to be slipping away from this generation. I’m one of those parents who is partly to blame for that, I’ll admit it. Well $hit. I don’t want to be entertaining these people when they’re 30. So yeah, I feel a little guilty that we haven’t hit everything on their list yet, but we’ll all get over it. 🙂