Saturday, September 3, 2011

Questions of balance

Some days, I feel I'm a lazy mom.  I was just reviewing what I did, or did not do, with my kids the week I had off before school started.  I am afraid I just let them veg in front of the TV or with a video or computer game for too long.  I had no gumption to get out of my pjs before noon.  I spent too much of my time letting them do whatever with each other with electronics.  Usually, I let this get to me, but that week, I just let go.  I was tired from work and let my brain rot.  Rot on reading FB posts, emails and strange internet news.  Wandered around the house organizing small piles of stuff here and there.  Catching up on DVR shows.  Reading several different books at once: a guidebook on Maui, a book about weight training and the House of Mirth.

About noon I would realize I needed to get dressed and "do something."  And maybe feed my kids lunch.  Most days, lunch came at 1:30 pm.  I did take them to a museum and we spent quite a bit of time there.  They did have soccer practice at 5 pm several days that week, so I guess I felt justified in letting them veg in front of the TV.  Three days that week, I also got them to the pool and one day my daughter and I went to the farmer's market.  So I did make an effort to get us away from the house.  Just not really hard.

So I know other people who talk about writing in gratitude journals, taking walks at sunrise for inspiration, taking time to think and ponder on the meaning of life, finding time to exercise, wanting to make sure that they spend as much time as they can as a family without TV, video, or computer.  I feel a pang of guilt, because I feel I am not being a deep person, not making life meaningful for my children, not facilitating their sense of self and spirituality.  I feel guilty that I'm not spending more time with them.

Then I realize, I wouldn't be happy doing that.  I can't sit and be emotional and spiritual in front of my children.  I have to be matter of fact, open and honest but matter of fact.  Logical and straight from the hip.  I also want my me time, which, I guess, for me, is to spend some time on the computer web surfing.  I surf for information, often reading news articles and Wikipedia, for questions that come up.  I relax by watching goofy SyFy shows and just letting my brain turn to mush.  I don't want to spend every waking minute with my kids, I want them to find ways to entertain themselves.  Maybe they need to see me doing more reading, like when I lost an hour just reading about Maui and suddenly realized I should shower and work on lunch.

I ponder life's problems driving to work, always.  I have composed some awesome blog posts in my head.  But as soon as I get to work, they are forgotten, because I must deal with the mundaneness of work.  I probably get enough time to wonder as I drive to/from work and maybe I don't need to write it all down.  It is enough to think it through in my head.  I defy being there every minute for my kid and embrace the lazy parenting attitude. 

Come to think of it, when I was kid, I was outside, wandering the front and back yard and next door parking lot.  I don't remember spending a lot of time playing with my parents in elementary school.  They were doing whatever parents do and it didn't make a good or bad impression on me.  It just was.  So I think we have some time yet to get it all in and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.  It will come when it needs to and will shape our family life however it can.  They will grow up how they are supposed to.

Because that is just how it is.


Pseudo said...

I love teaching my students To Kill a Mockingbird, for many reasons, but one of those reasons is the way Scout and Jim and Del hang outside until they get bored enough to figure out a way to make life interesting. That is the way we all grew up. In the summer I went out, came in at lunch, went out, came in at for dinner or when the lights came on outside. My students complain of getting bored and I tell them "only boring people stay bored, figure it out."

Wild Child said...

There was an article I read a while back that said parents should not be entertaining their kids every minute of the day. I need to use that line, "Only bored people stay bored, figure it out," with my daughter. She's come to me a couple of times with that one. But she's also the one that runs outside and stays out there for hours with friends.

Anonymous said...

My mom led a pretty independent life while I was growing up and I respected her for that. Some of my middle aged siblings still continue to complain about that aspect of their youth. I was the last of the 7 kids, so I think things were different for me too. I am glad my mom took the time to read books, sew, etc. and still does. My dad likes to criticize her for having hobbies, but I think he would be better off with some!

As a kid, I remember playing with other kids, being imaginative, enjoying school, etc. which is totally normal!