Because I am so mean. The end.
I think this could sound crazy, but now that I’m emerging from toddlerhood I am realizing so many ways that I have prioritized things that entertain my kids. There are so many FUN things to do here in Dallas, which is a blessing. But now my crew is 5-9 years old and they often expect to go from one FUN thing to the next. There was a time we went to the Dallas zoo, then met friends at Chicken Scratch for an early dinner. On the way home, one asked “Mom, what are we doing next that is fun??”
UHM NOTHING. NOTHING FUN EVER AGAIN, I’M SORRY DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO TAKE ALL OF YOU LITTLE PEOPLE TO THE ZOO! YOU’RE WELCOME FOR YOUR LOVELY LOVELY LIFE!…I did not say this. But in this moment I recognized that I can fight the entitlement to things all day long. [We pay for experiences not stuff, we give to others, we practice saying no or wait to things we want etc. etc.] BUT that doesn’t affect their entitlement to experiences, which can run just as deep as the entitlement to things.
I started examining our lives and recognizing how I can tend to look for things to do that entertain them so that I don’t have to engage. I look for things that are fun because I want our lives to be fun. But often the opportunity to be bored causes children to create instead of consume. And by allowing my kids to be constantly entertained hinders that.
In trying to make more choices that allow my kids some space to be bored, to create, and to get curious I have also noticed how my own boredom can fuel my choices to be constantly entertained. An example is that at the Perot Museum my kids will all be quite happy in the Children’s Area downstairs. For hours they will build and pretend and explore. But after a while, I get bored sitting there. We drove down there and parked and packed lunches for goodness’ sake, let’s make sure we see it all, I can think.
However, when I have experimented with making a different choice — to let them play the whole time in that creative young space without herding them on to another exhibit — I notice they will make up new games, and engage new friends. They will use old toys in a new way. It’s something I love to see.
Yesterday a friend and I went with our 8 kids to the Heard Museum in McKinney. It’s a wonderful outdoor space, and you should check it out if you haven’t yet! It was pretty empty and we let our kids kind of free range all over the place. We sat 50 yards away on a hill where we could see(ish) and hear (if they yelled for us). They played for hours, uninterrupted. At some point we looked over to the small house village where were playing pretend inside and noticed that the 6 big kids we brought were climbing trees to get onto the roofs of these miniature houses and using tree branches as brooms to sweep off the roofs. As you do. This was such a sweet moment for me because I wasn’t mean mom-ming, trying to avoid fun at all costs. They were having fun. The difference is they were entertaining themselves, and they were creating and not consuming.
And I need a little more of that in our lives these days – what about you?