I remember growing up back in the 80’s and 90’s. I remember being alone often.
I don’t mean in a sad lonely way, I mean like, my parents weren’t constantly near me every second of the day.
Many of my fond memories are of me playing alone.
I don’t know if my parents actually sat down and organized games or crafting projects with me. If they did, I don’t remember it.
I remember them taking me to the park, and I know my dad and I played a lot of sports together.
But, there wasn’t this push for my parents to organize my whole day like I feel there is now.
My parents didn’t plan play dates either. I went outside and if there was another kid there, great, if not, then I played by myself.
I use to make up games on my own or pretend I was a veterinarian fixing all my stuffed toys ailments.
I read the book The Box Car Children when I was younger and became obsessed with pretending I was an orphan in my backyard. I’d make soup using a rusty bucket, water and rocks. I loved every second of it.
Summer times were filled with swimming and Popsicles. Having sleepovers with the neighbors in backyard tents. Exploring, climbing, freedom.
I can say I had a great childhood.
Now, as a mom I feel so much pressure to always keep my kids entertained.
I don’t know if it’s me or just the way the times have changed.
Everyday is organized. My kids wake up asking where we are going or what we are doing that day. When I tell them to just go play, my 5 year old will literally tell me she doesn’t know how (she’s a bit dramatic).
But seriously, when did the change happen? When did parents start feeling the need to make sure their kids had a productive activity happening every minute of the day.
All you have to do is look on Pinterest and see moms making up new games, making elaborate crafts or baking daily with their kids.
And the birthday parties! What ever happened to the days a parent just had to throw up a piñata or go get an icecream cake from Baskin Robbins? I’ve attempted several Pinterest birthdays for my kids and they were all a fat failure.
Don’t get me wrong. I like doing things with my kids. I love taking them to parks and museums and farms. But I think they need to learn to make their own fun. I live on a mountain for goodness sake. My kids should be exploring.
I get such a joy when I see my girls playing independently. Especially my 3 year old. She just looks at peace. She can sit for so long and make believe with her toys.
What I want for my girls, is for them to look back on their childhood and remember the games they use to play fondly. Remember going on treasure hunts in our backyard or playing in the tree house.
I don’t want them growing up to only remember all the organized playtime mom or dad put together for them. Because, really that’s no fun.
When they think of me I want it to be the times we read books and snuggled and those times I was their for them when they needed me.
Of course I want them to temember that I was fun, but I don’t want them to think I was the reason they had fun.