I am a hot mess year-round. This means that even when summer makes its appearance on my doorstep, I don’t suddenly morph into a Pinterest Mom when I’m not paying attention.
There seem to be a lot of Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer Lists blaring at me from every which way. I’m going to be shockingly honest-I won’t do a single one of them. I’m not the mom who will teach her kids how to make the Eiffel Tower out of pipe cleaners. I refuse to create things from kits.
I most likely won’t even plan educational trips to the nearest museum.
Gasp! What kind of mom am I? How dare I deprive my children. They must suffer so!!!
I’m the kind of mom who doesn’t structure every minute of our day.
I’m the Mama-type that actually makes her kids get up at a decent time, even in the summer. I still make my children do their chores. In fact, if they dare utter the words “I’m bored” they know Mama will find something for them to do. And they probably won’t like it.
My kids get pushed outside a lot. Even if it’s hot. I do slather sunscreen on them and provide water but they’re expected to spend a fair amount of time running and jumping and bike riding and using their imaginations.
Our neighborhood is wonderful and safe and we know our neighbors. But even so, we have ground rules, like stick together and never go in someone’s house unless Mama says it’s ok. My oldest three are 11, 7 and 4. They have to roam together or not roam at all. I refuse to run off to the craft store for all of their creative ventures. I’m a firm believer in recycling-use what we have to make something awesome.
Summer food? What can you make on your own? Reading? We will get books from the library by the truckload. And video game time? Saved up for rainy days or occasionally weekends/some nights. Every day? Not a chance.
Am I the meanest mom on the block? Are my kids totally deprived?
I don’t think so.
I think I’m teaching my kids about responsibility, that if you want something you’ll need to work for it, and that using your imagination will take you places you never dreamed-until you did. I’m showing my kids that sibling love, aka your best friends, are your playmates for life and the ones you can depend on.
Maybe you think I’m a little off my rocker. I’ll admit, with four kids underfoot it’s entirely possible.
However. I look back on my summers filled with things like making cities from cardboard boxes, catching lightning bugs in jars, creating perfume from flowers (weeds) and then trying to sell them to neighbors, taking naps under trees and using our front porch as everything from a fort to a dentist office to a school to Spy Headquarters, and I want that for my children. I want them to play until they pass out from sheer exhaustion and joy. I didn’t stop learning in the summer; I learned real and important things that I couldn’t get in school. Playing with my siblings taught me that they were my best friends. Being in charge of them while we were outside taught me responsibility. Creating things from nature or recycling taught me to use my creativity in new ways
So I hope my children will look back on summers someday and wish for their kids to have those same “deprived” summers.
Just like I did.
You can also connect with me at My Pink Champagne Life (Facebook and Instagram) or @MyPinkChampLife on Twitter!
(All photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Meredith Shafer 2015