I wanted to have a yes summer.
I want to be a yes mother — Mary Poppinesque, eager and willing to provide fun and fulfilling experiences for my little lovables.
I suppose in many ways, I am doing that. At the same time, I want to raise functional adults. I also want my children to understand that we are responsible for our own happiness even when we’re doing the less glamorous parts of life.
And let’s be real — it ain’t all roses and unicorns.
Chores can be fun, and taking care of the things we’re fortunate to have is a worthy lesson, and frankly, while I’m at it, I also think a little boredom is good for everybody and fosters creative thinking.
So children, for the love, PLEASE stop inundating me with the never-ending requests. It’s wearing this mama out.
“Can I play the iPad?”
“Can I please just watch this one YouTube video on how to do that thing on Minecraft?”
“Can I show Wallace this ONE little thing on Minecraft?”
“Can I get those remote control cars out of your car? I know I got in trouble, but I PROMISE I’m sorry and I’ll do what you say for the rest of the summer. Please, Mom, I promise, I just need to play with them for like, five minutes. That’s all…can I…please??????”
“Can we get a snow cone?”
“Can we go to a restaurant for lunch?”
“Can we get an ice cream?”
“Can we have a playdate with Ava?”
“Can I go to Carter’s?”
“Can Everett come over to our house?”
“Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I, Can I?!”
…on and on and on and on and on. Sweet Lord make it stop.
I’m feeling a little edgy this summer with the discontentedness.
I say yes a lot. We are beyond blessed and live in paradise on a beautiful island about five minutes from the beach where we go at least twice a week.
We have a pool in our neighborhood within walking distance where we swim most days.
They’ve been to several camps this summer and are participating on a swim team — all activities they’ve chosen, and they appear to be having a glorious time.
So forgive me, children, if I take issue with you always seeming to need more more more.
I’m not anti-technology by any means, but no, you may not sit in front of a screen from dawn to dusk. And no, you may not eat your way through a lazy afternoon. And no, I will not and can not play host to every kid in the neighborhood day in and day out.
I think I would have made a good 1980’s mom.
My mother was a teacher, and when she was on summer break after wrangling youngsters all school year long, she was done.
My younger brother and I got locked out of the house on the regular — If you’re thirsty, go to the hose pipe!
I’m showing my deep-south roots with that line.
And we did, and it was fine.
She also dropped our little asses off at the city pool when I was no more than seven, with just enough cash for a single-serving bag of chips and a drink each, and that was that.
No one drowned.
No one starved.
Last week was particularly rough in our household, so I pulled out the big guns and announced that we’re having a reset week — no TV time and no video games.
When Piers, my eight-year-old, starts on something he can not stop. I think Minecraft is an amazing game with loads of positives, but when it’s time to turn it off he has a complete come-apart. He’s also hyperactive, and the more he sits in front of a screen, the wilder he gets, and even though the games he plays and the shows he watches are age appropriate and relatively tame, he becomes volatile and argumentative in a way that doesn’t happen when he’s screen free.
I know there are a million schools of thought on how much TV time is best, and if Piers were of the more laid-back variety, I’d be less rigid, but if there’s a screen, he’s glued to it. Needless to say, we’re figuring it out as we go.
My seven-year-old is different and can take it or leave it, and overall seems better able to self-regulate, which is ultimately what I want for them. Those well-meaning folks at the baby shower weren’t lying. Parenting is no joke.
This tech-free week might send me right on off the rails.
So tonight we were at a swim meet and I overhead a conversation between Piers and one of the moms who was helping his age group line up for events. Some kid had brought a Kindle Fire and the mom was trying to figure out who it belonged to.
“Piers, is this your Kindle?”
He got this overly-embellished, starry-eyed look on his face and said, “I can only dream…”
The woman was taken aback, but she grinned, and said, “Calm yourself, Hon. It’s a Kindle. We’re not talking fine diamonds here.”
He’s rather quick-witted and nothing is ever lost on him. He quickly retorted, “You obviously have no understanding of how deprived I am when it comes to technology.”
She threw her head back and cackled out loud. Good thing he was blessed with ample charm and that she was blessed with a healthy sense of humor.
I held my tongue and silently rolled my eyes.
Child please, you haven’t the faintest idea about deprivation, but I’m a little concerned we’ve got a serious case of affluenza on our hands.