Between the fact that this is the rainiest summer I can ever remember and the return of ma' achin' back things have been pretty chill around these parts. Last week especially there was a lot of me laying around and saying things like, Go play. Sometimes I'd switch it up and say, You can either go play or do some chores. Thankfully, the two big girls usually scamper along because if they were to call my bluff it would have been my undoing. Zuzu was pretty easy going, often tagging along with her sisters or just needing a snack. However it took her a couple of days to realize I wasn't going to pick her up, so she started bringing me books to read to her while we lay on my bed, which was a pretty sweet deal for us both. Luckily the sun is starting to shine a little more and slowly my back pain has been easing. (Thanks for all the back advice...I'm going to therapy next week and will probably still get a cortisone shot to nip this pain for a while, fingers crossed.)
So right now a lot of this is out of necessity, but truth be told, this lazy, unscheduled way isn't all that out of the ordinary. I don't like to be super busy, running around all day and over scheduled. I definitely like to go on outings and I usually do more of those, but when it comes to the day-to-day I don't have a big game plan. We have a lot of art + craft supplies that the girls can access anytime, but I don't often lead them in crafting activities. Although, for the record at the end of the school year I did sit down and make a list of crafts to do with the kids this summer--I was aiming for one a week--of course now I can't find the dadgum list. Anyway, I think this lax attitude in scheduled or unscheduled time has a lot to do with my own childhood--I spent a lot of time playing on my own, sometimes with my older brother or friends in the neighborhood but I don't remember having this expectation that my parents or grandparents (who we lived with for several years) were going to entertain me. Yes there were outings and going to the pool--but even those things were often done by ourselves as kids because of a safe small town and close proximity.
Thus, as a mom I've never really thought it was my job to play with or entertain my kids. Of course I definitely do engage with them and like to do fun things that would be considered 'entertaining' but again not on the daily. To be clear the girls have still had activities like swimming lessons, PSP just started violin lessons and soon we're going to have a super cute, power chair riding cheerleader in the house! (This is both exciting and a little terrifying.) And there are little things like the caterpillar turned butterflies that we got to watch and subsequently let go. So we've definitely had these fun little things--maybe more that I realized when I started this post--but often I just send them outside and watch their imaginations open up.
I don't really know what to call this type of parenting--maybe intentional unintentionalness? I don't like being over scheduled myself or for my kids and I believe there is a lot to be gained from children having completely unstructured downtime. While I don't feel bad about this--especially under the circumstances--this is one of those aspects of motherhood where I sometimes wonder, Is this the norm? I know there is no 'right way' when it comes to these things, but I am curious to know how many moms out there have some sort of game plan when it comes to your children and down time? First do you try to limit 'down time' to begin with by keeping them active in summer camps, sports, music or art lessons? But in the absence of scheduled and paid for activities, do you have a game plan for most of the week--like crafts, daily outings, and/or play dates? Or do you just wing it? And further, do you like your current situation and how things are structured or are you craving a change?