We are only a week into summer and I texted my husband at 8am this morning saying that I am ready to officially resign from my position as cruise ship director. I am so done trying to keep my kids entertained all. day. long. I want them to be bored. I want them to have free time to play and imagine. But after having every minute of their day totally structured for the last nine months of their life, the transition to freedom isn’t always an easy one.
And the fighting. Goodness gracious…the fighting.
I’m definitely not going to win the “coolest mom” award on this post. It might even seem to contradict some things that I’ve previously written on my blog.
However, I fear we’re headed down a slippery slope when it comes to parenting and we at least need to start talking about it. For some reason, as moms, we have this strange belief that it is our job to entertain our kids all. the. time.
In case you aren’t convinced … feel free to browse Pinterest for a few minutes or visit one of the amazing blogs with activities for children. I too am guilty of spinning my wheels day after day, trying my hardest to provide fun experiences for my children … all in the name of being a “good mom.”
Yes, we want our kids to have a happy childhood with a variety of experiences. But this certainly doesn’t mean that the mark of a good mother is spending all her time creating and engaging her kids in those activities.
If the end goal of parenting for you is the same as it is for me (raising our children to know, love, and emulate Jesus), then “entertaining” certainly isn’t what the majority of our focus should be on. It should be focused on others, just as Jesus was. After all, the two greatest commandments are loving God and loving others.
So, what is a mother to do?
Meet their needs of feeding, changing, and bathing? Yes.
Teach our children? Yes.
Engage with our children in play? Yes.
Enjoy our children? Yes.
Play with our children? Yes, although not every minute of the day.
Encourage our children to think of others before themselves? YES!
Laugh with, tickle, and kiss our sweet babies? OF COURSE!
Entertain our children every minute of the day? No.
The fact is: When we make it our mission in life to make sure that our children are entertained and having fun, we are teaching them that that is what life is all about–them! It also can prohibit children from using their imaginations and their own creativity to come up with something fun to do on their own (which is a problem with my firstborn–I continually entertained him from birth to 2 years of age, when his little brother was born, and now he has a hard time self-regulating his own play).
Rather than going out of our way to find ways to entertain our kids, let’s go out of our way thinking of opportunities that we can serve and love others together.
What do you think?
Originally posted August 2014 on MomLife Today