Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Balancing Busy

Friday, July 6th, 2018

This is my (and your) affirmation for today:

Just because something works for other people, doesn’t mean it has to work for you.

My Facebook has been flooded with think pieces, sorry not sorry posts, and memes decrying “kids these days” and their need to be constantly entertained. Mostly they’re complaining about Pinterest Moms who schedule their summers so kids are always doing an organized craft or attending a camp or attending enrichment activities. “Kids need to be bored!” they shout, “It’s good for them to learn to entertain themselves!” “When I was a kid, my mom just locked us out of the house all day and told us not to get back until dinner!”

OK, first of all, your mama did not lock you out of the house when you were 4 and 2, which is how old half of my children are. Second of all, do you know how quickly kids get bored? 5 minutes. They’re bored all the time. They live in a constant cycle of dragging their poor, neglected bodies between horrible available options including millions of legos, dozens of ride-on toys outside, the sprinkler, unlimited Netflix, fort-building supplies, and their playing with the siblings I have generously grown with my own body as friends and companions.

Our summer calendar includes a lot of scheduled activities. I’m constantly watching Facebook for community stuff or checking the library calendar to see if there’s something at least one of my kids could go to. We do daytrips, late nights, meals on the go, ice cream for dinner.

I refuse to feel bad about any of it. No, I don’t *have* to fill their summer because I’m a stay at home mom (and judging people who do heavily schedule their kids during summer because they need childcare is some privileged nonsense – I’m VERY lucky “doing nothing” and “being bored” are even options). No, Caroline probably doesn’t NEED to go to 4 different kinds of camp. No, I don’t hate my kids and want to get away from them. We’re just trying to find a balance that works for us. So yeah, it probably does look like we’re ALWAYS doing something and ALWAYS going somewhere and my kids are NEVER bored.  But literally right now while I write this I’ve taken away their tablets, left them on the floor with a box of My Little Ponies and a bin of Magnatiles and told them to amuse themselves. It’s been 2 hours since they woke up and so far no one is fighting. I just know that won’t last forever, so pretty soon we’re headed out to the library.

NOTHING is as exhausting as refereeing bickering children all day, so yes please sign us up for some more stuff. When we need a stay-home-day, we’ll stay home. When people on Facebook feel bad about their own summer schedule, it’s about them, not me. I’m not raising or lowering a bar for anyone else (except for that trip to Disney World, because every month we’re not at Disney World is another month I disappoint my children).

So to be clear, the following options are ALL allowed:

Doing all the things
Doing none of the things
Making a long elaborate bucket list of must-do activities for the whole summer
Abandoning a long elaborate bucket list completely
Doing some of the bucket list but then taking time off
Going to no camps
Going to all the camps
Fulling intending to sign your kids up for camp but forgetting
Taking tons of pictures of everything
Taking no pictures at all
Letting the kids watch Netflix all day
Throwing out the remote and the tablets and declaring all technology off limits
Feeling like whatever you’re doing is wrong
Feeling like maybe your life would be better if you were just doing it the way that one Facebook friend is doing it
Giving up and not caring what other people are doing

And because I am the mom who chooses take all the pictures and do lots of things, here is some of our summer so far:

Our Whole Summer Is Like This

Monday, June 25th, 2018

On the first day of summer vacation, we went strawberry picking, spent the rest of the day at the lake, and then hung out at a local town carnival until bedtime. We ran into a photographer friend I know at the farm, saw almost our entire Momfest group at the lake, and then bumped into one of our favorite Navy families at the carnival.

Maybe when my kids are older we’ll have super relaxed, unscheduled summers. But right now I need them to stay busy and tired, so they can’t complain about being bored or try to kill each other. Today is the fourth day of summer vacation. We dropped E off at the airport, went to a playground, walked a couple miles around a park, caught a ton of Pokemon, took Evan to a coding class, spent 2 hours at the library, ran some errands, went to karate and it’s still not bedtime. I love summer. The weather right now is fantastic. But if the kids ask for one more snack I’m going to sell them.

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

America is the land of the free because of the brave, who we honor on Memorial Day each year. I selfishly hope it’s always a holiday I think of in the abstract and enjoy as the unofficial start of summer, rather than a day with personal meaning. So many families aren’t that lucky. I’ve never been a very good military spouse – I’m not good at volunteering for things, I’m never on committees, I rarely attend meetings, I don’t sign up for meal trains, I forget about bake sales and I’m so bad at military ranks, rates and jobs I’m still not 100% sure what my own husband does. All I know is he’s good at it and he’s gone a lot. I just need him to come back every time.

We had a great weekend that kept us very busy. The big kids had a birthday party, Caroline had a ballet recital, everyone over the age of 4 got to see the new Avengers movie plus we went to the parade and the lake. We also went to the downtown carnival, where I spent way too much money on a few rides and cheap prizes, but the kids ran into several friends and had a great time. The house is a DISASTER and we don’t have a single dry towel, but I’m so happy I can finally use summer as an excuse for my poor housekeeping.

My Week(359) in iPhone Photos

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

I think a month is the longest I’ve ever abandoned this blog since I started it 9ish years ago. I didn’t do it on purpose. I actually wrote a bunch of things that totally would have been blog posts in 2009 but ended up as Facebook posts because it’s 2017. We’re not even close to halfway through with this deployment and although we’ve found rhythm and a schedule that works, it’s exhausting being the only adult in charge of 4 small humans. Even when they have playdates or activities – and I am SO grateful for everyone who has helped – I play chauffer and social planner.

But it would be unfair to quit trying to document everything now, when I know E is looking forward to catching up on everything he missed as soon as he can. So onward and upward, once again.

Sunday:

All three, living their best lives

Mystic Seaport is our happy place

My eight year old beat me at bumper bowling

Monday:

We made slime every day for a week, then I got tired of scraping it off the floor

When both kids are awake and insist of being held at the bus stop

The CUTEST little soaps from The Rubber Ducky Soap Co

Tuesday:

Checking out the candy deals

Pretending he’s a big kid

Watching sissy do cheer

Wednesday:

I WON THE BUS WAR THEY MOVED IT HALF AN HOUR EARLIER

Trashing the car while waiting for Caroline outside ballet

Thursday:

I have a peach vampire in the house

OK, bye, just go be a big kid

Trampoline heaven

Friday:

The first of many, many vet appointments

HAPPY to go to school! YAY!

We put all those rocks in the kindness garden

Saturday:

Who can resist a selfie with a cow?

My little lambs

Another year at The Big E with friends

The Big E 2017

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Previously: The Big E 2010, The Big E 2011

The Big E is what they call the Eastern States Exposition up in Springfield, MA. It’s like the state fair for all of New England – there are buildings for Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Each state has at least one “thing” that is very very popular. Some of them are obvious (Vermont has lots of maple things) and some are less obvious (Maine baked potatoes are a BIG DEAL and I don’t understand). This year Connecticut had lots of craft beer and wine, so obviously we picked the right New England state.

This is the second time we went to The Big E with these particular friends and I could not have done it without them. Two extra adults means we can actually have fun instead of having one long, sustained meltdown that snowballs from Lincoln to all the kids to me crying next to the fried cannoli stand because I can’t take it anymore. But that did not happen! We had fun! And I only lost Lincoln once!

(I did in fact lose Lincoln, but Lincoln was never lost. He just decided to go back to where everyone else was waiting while I stood in the Maine building freaking out. At least I know his sense of direction is really good?)

I did not take many photos (by my standards) because 4 kids is still a lot of kids even when I have help. But I did better than our visit in 2014, which I never got up on the blog at all! I don’t have a single picture of Finnegan, because he was either chilling in his stroller or on me the whole day.

Fake eating fake lamb pops in the “you should eat more lamb it’s delicious” booth located next to the adorable lambs.

A very nice 11-year-old girl named Clara let us pet her sheep. She won a bunch of ribbons. I can barely keep a houseplant alive.

This is a singing refrigerator.

No one wanted to eat here.

Evan recently learned what a “photo bomb” is.

Baby lobsters at the Maine building.

Lincoln loves rides.

And that’s the end of fair season! Next up: FALL FUN SEASON. Time for corn mazes, pumpkin patches and cider mills.

 

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