We Mamas set the pace

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's those last lazy days of August when the lack of a daily schedule gets takes a bit of a toll and the idea of going to the pool again has lost it's novelty (for all of us).  We have certainly made the most of this summer, but lately I've started to hear a few too many comments like,  "What should I do now Mommy?", and "I can't find anything to play with Mommy" and "Where are we going today?...I don't want to stay at home Mommy!"

I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was your Cruise Director?

I admit, when I hear those comments, my instinct is to list a bunch of things they could be doing or playing with while scolding them about how blessed we are to have a playroom full of toys.  I've also been known to scan Pinterest for boredom buster ideas, worried that if I leave too much idle time, I am somehow falling short as their caretaker.

I have one child who has a hard time entertaining herself.  And one child who is pretty mischievous if left to his own adventurous devices.  So I've somehow convinced myself that they need a lot of filler stuff throughout the day and that being bored is somehow a really bad thing.

But someone told me recently that it's perfectly okay to let your children feel bored sometimes.  Boredom is actually an important bridge to creativity and imagination.  Such wise words.  And for me, it's sort of changed the way I've been parenting this summer.  I've released that idea that I have to be entertaining my children at all times.  I'm a pretty go-with-the-flow kinda girl.  But some days, how about we not trash the kitchen table with crafts and paints and projects?  How about we not sign you up for every dance class and team sport possible like all your friends?  How about we head outside and I can read a book while you guys make up a game?  And you don't need me to play it with you!

Perhaps some of you veteran mamas already knew this secret.  But it's been a really great one for me.  Because as soon as I ask the kids to find something to do on their own, they always come up with great ideas within a few minutes.  Undirected imaginative play is so good for them! And it also gives me an opportunity to see how their sweet little brains and hearts express themselves. 

Besides, I've always felt that the more toys a kid has, the more likely they are to feel bored.  It's kinda crazy how that works.  Recently, we moved our playroom from the main floor of our house to the newly finished basement.  I took that opportunity to clean out, purge, and donate almost half of their toys.  And they don't even miss them!  All it's done is create a more restful space for everyone.  It's been freeing to settle into a new found comfort with quietness and simplicity.  We mamas set the pace of life for our children.  I want the pace in our home to be restful with plenty of margin for creativity and imagination.  Don't get me wrong, I love to be out and about.  But I've realized it's better to be intentional about those outings rather than view them as filler moments to get through the day.

Anyone else struggled with this social norm that tells us our child has to be entertained every moment of the day? 

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