Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is Mundane OK?

Sorry for the recent lack of pictures but lots of thoughts have been going through my head but not a lot of camera time to take pictures-- so, you are getting lots of narratives.

With lots of time taken on my off work days to complete adoption paperwork, my sweet little girls are spending lots of downtime being board. They are watching lots of TV, doing lots of coloring and just sitting around being board. I am not normally a sit at home and watch TV mom but I have to say that has been the way things have been for the last month. I feel guilty for letting the girls just sit around and play and not giving them lots of activities to do but a part of me wants to get rid of that guilt because is it really THAT BAD that my kids just chill? The mommy guilt really gets to me but I keep thinking that letting my kids chill should not be a source of guilt.Yes, they are probably watching too much TV but it that really that bad? They go to preschool 4 mornings a week so a chill out afternoon is kind of nice.

I'm starting to realize with our new little one coming home in spring that we are going to have to have a bit of a new normal. With 5 kids and 3 little ones, I think we will probably be spending more time at home just playing and chilling. If that is going to be more of the new normal, I need to kick the guilt thing because if I don't, I think I'm going to be feeling guilty all the time.

So, what can I do about that? Are lazy afternoons and doing nothing Fridays (they don't have school on Fridays) OK? Is it OK to just have maybe a couple days a week where we go out and do something-- other than preschool-- OK? I am just such a busy person and like to be active that these down times are freaking me out a bit. I hear other moms talk about all the activities their kids are in and that they do this and that and those are the times I look at the girls schedule and I feel bad. Honestly, a lot of our time centers around the boys hockey so we do go to hockey together as a family but the girls are just not in a lot of activities right now. I don't see this getting better anytime soon-- especially adding our new little one to the family-- so how do I get OK with this?

Anyway, any input would be appreciated. I honestly am struggling with this right now and would like to have others weigh in if this is OK or not.

Thanks for the input and also for all the help so many of you are willing to give with regards to clothes for our new one. All of your generosity is amazing and I thank you so much for that!!!!


  1. I read something recently that has helped me a lot -- one of the greatest gifts you can give your children in boredom. Sparks creativity, imagination, a wee-bit of self-reliance, etc. I've read a lot on simplicity parenting, and down time is a wonderful thing, and some argue it's actually much better for our kids than activities. To each his own, of course, but to strike a balance between the two is probably perfect. Good luck!!

  2. We love hanging out at home! We also love doing free/cheap things as a family like hiking, biking, camping. It is such a relief to not spend a bunch of money & then have disappointed kids!

    We have camp fires, jump on the trampoline and watch movies. It is a RARE treat to take them to the movies (even the cheap seats!) we let them do one sport per season (Mya hasn't started yet)

    We don't have a lot of extra cash, plus we think it's better for them to understand that we don't have to always be busy and that money doesn't grow on trees :)

    We, too, are preparing to do even less with another one! Just because it will be that much harder to get out with FOUR kids :)

  3. I personally think that as a society kids are RUSHED and too scheduled. I LOVE downtime. We spend ALOT of time chilling at home. Kate has a HUGE drawer in our kitchen filled to the brim with art stuff and educational "workbooks/activity books" She paints, does playdough, "reads", draws, cuts while I get my stuff done. Also, the best $ I ever spent was on a really good art easel. One side is chalk the other dry erase and there is a spool for large rolls of paper. I think I got it at Ikea??? Anyway, she draws, writes letters, paints everything right there in my kitchen. Luckily, the paint wipes right off the hardwood floors:)

    We do watch some TV but I try to intersperse that with computer games (Starfall, Reading Eggs), quiet book time, kitchen play, and art. When I have let Kate watch a lot of TV (or any of my kids) because I am sick or need to get things done...I have noticed they are kind of grumpy. not to say it doesn't happen sometimes...I just need to limit it.

    We also play a lot of games. We love Wii bowling and tennis. We also play catchphrase, memory games etc...

  4. Oh I forgot about this too....when my kids are bored, the invent shops and museums in their rooms. They will take all their beanie babies/stuffed animals and make a "Zoo". They they make tickets and a booth and I tour the zoo. They put on shows . They have made rock museums too. I agree with Mary that boredom can spark creativity once they get used to it a bit. If kids are constantly entertained they do not learn how to make their own fun!

    Obviously, this has struck a chord in me:) I counsel too many families whoa re overscheduled:)

  5. I agree with all the other comments - it's good for your kids (and you too!) to have downtime...not every minute of the day needs to be scheduled. My two girls would sit in front of Disney channel 24/7 if we let them, so we started a new rule three years ago when school started - no TV during the week. I don't have anything against age-appropriate TV, other than the amount of time spent with it. And it was becoming a distraction in the evening (like, finishing homework quickly because Hannah Montana was coming on at 7). So we just set a new rule. No TV, no video games, no computer time (unless for homework) on weeknights. On weekends, watch it all you want...which is hard because our weekends are very busy). When the rule was first set, my oldest daughter (then 9 but now 12), she wanted to know if she could watch it when homework, chores, and piano practice was all done but it still wasn't time for bed. We said no, that is the time for reading, crafts, playing family games, etc. Painful for the first 2 weeks, but three years later, she not only is an all A student, but has like 100% averages in most of her classes. So, it has really paid off for us. However, when the kids go to bed at night, the TV does come on for us! :)

  6. I guess the thing is that the time that the girls have been just chilling is time that I have to work on adoption stuff or even write psych reports. I guess the guilt comes from the fact that I am not interacting with them enough and they are watching too much TV.

    I like the idea of maybe having some activities around to pull out to get them doing something on the boaring days. Yesterday they were just hanging out and I grabbed some old craft sticker things and they had a blast making these crown things. It was cute. I think if I can have little activities for them to do in the down time then maybe I wont feel so bad.

    I also need to get some more educational activities and things for them to do at the kitchen table. That will be easy for them to grab instead of TV. I wish we had a computer downstairs other than laptops so they could play on- but it is upstairs. Maybe I will get that computer up and running up stairs so they can start to play educational games.

    Thanks for the support and ideas. Im glad I posted this as I feel a lot of support that it is good to have this slow time.

  7. We don't have a lot of activities that we do, just a few. We adopted a little guy that is Deaf so we have more stay at home based things for our two. We don't let them watch much TV - seen enough brain scans on kiddos that shows what TV watching does while being educated on how to raise a Deaf child and get them the appropriate communication. We play outside on nice days, do crafts inside, play games...and have "reading" time everyday (even the 2 yr old). Sometimes I tell them to just entertain themselves. They both have "cleaning toys" that they will follow me around with when it's housework time. They have vivid imaginations! I read recently that we are raising children not really stuck. Down time is GREAT!!

  8. My 4yr old is not any organized activities other than preschool 3 days a week. She's an early to bed and early to rise kind of kid, so doing things in the evenings just don't work for us. And I'm just not into having her in THINGS. If you are on FB, friend "teach preschool" and you'll have LOADS of excellent educational ideas to do with the kids. Promise. Far more than you care to do, in fact! :-)

  9. It's okay. Don't set yourself up for failure by creating expectations of yourself that are too high. Downtime is not lazy; the body, mind, and spirit need rest. We get too little of it in this busy world.


  10. As a teacher with 25 years experience, boredom is a very good thing. :) I agree with everyone else that says that, because it gives a child a chance to "hear the inner workings" of their head and heart. Our world is way too busy and way too noisy.

    Kids today are over scheduled and over-programmed. They are exhausted! If it's too "noisy" in their lives, how are they ever going to "hear" what's true for them. KWIM?

    Both my girls have "offices" on a wheeled cart where they keep their activities (art, pencils, books, etc). They are both incredibly creative and I've never ever heard them say "I'm bored".

    Don't beat yourself up. Adoption paperwork doesn't last for ever. It'll get finished and you'll move on.
    Snick :)