Charlie has been out of school for a week and yesterday we celebrated Henry’s last day of kindergarten.
Today we kicked-off summer by filling up the wading pool and breaking out the bubbles.
I’m excited for summer. Lazy days, time together and a little less rushing about. Though I’ll be honest, having three kids home all day long can stretch my patience.
We plan on giving swimming lessons a try and Henry will go to vacation bible school for one week, but beyond that our days are blissfully empty, save a vacation or two. And no, I don’t have a list of mom-directed activities or creative projects to tackle. This should probably scare me but it doesn’t. More and more I’m finding myself in the *old-fashioned* camp of parenting . I’m all about spending time at home with just our family. Myself, I can putter around the house and yard for days on end; occasionally taking a break to read a story, get out the art supplies or push a little one on the swing. I want my kids to learn this skill too. To be satisfied with puttering or playing by themselves or their siblings. Putting their imagination to work and finding contentment in the simple rhythm of each day. Discovering that they don’t need to be entertained at all times with the latest toy, movie, video game or by mom.
This might initially sound like the lazy version of parenting, but I can assure you it is quite the opposite. It would be much easier to simply turn on the TV, send my kids to a friend’s house or schedule a daily art camp. I have to be present and willing to let much of my schedule and personal time go. I don’t watch my TV shows when the kids are awake, I try to limit my computer use to when the kids are napping or having quiet time. I don’t check my e-mail or Facebook on my phone. I do this for two reasons. One I want to practice what I preach; if they can’t play on the computer or watch TV then why should I be able to? Two, it forces me to be present; I don’t ever want my kids to feel like they are competing with the TV or the computer.
I also want my kids to spend a good majority of their time with family and not their peers. I know this goes against the fast-rushing stream of popularity that our society pushes, but I’d rather have my children learn about the world through our family’s moral lens and compass than the often watered-down views of our society. My hope is they understand that when we go against the grain and say *no* – be it over a new toy, movie or activity – we are setting boundaries and limits for them out of love.
The thinking goes that if I set high expectations for myself as a mother, then I will also set high expectations for my children and I have no doubt they will rise to the occasion. This however, does not mean that I am even close to perfect. Far from it actually, I’m short-tempered and easily frustrated. I often find myself looking forward to nap time and cherish every minute of that down-time. But my goal remains the same.
Henry and his wonderful teacher of three years, Mrs. R.
I hope this isn’t sounding too *preachy-preachy.* These words are more like a personal pep-talk. Because more than anything I want to become more intentional with my parenting. And yes, I believe that it can happen. Even in the summertime.
Photos are from Henry’s end of the school-year picnic and *moving-up* ceremony as well as our *welcome summer* wading pool party.
Remember last year’s picnic? What a difference a year makes…this fall Mrs. R. is welcoming Charlie into her classroom as Henry moves up into the elementary classroom. What a blessing our Montessori school has been!