Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm a Mom- Not Your Personal Concierge

Concierge sur le grill

Yesterday I took my son to a birthday party for a girl in his class and while he was running around I had a very interesting conversations with one of his classmates' grandmother.

We talked about how these days it seems as if parents are over scheduling their kids. It seems as if, at least in my experience, that parents feel like they need to make sure their children are always having fun. Kids need to be signed up for a bunch of different activities, have play dates (hate that term- so lame) and be taken to indoor play places to jump around. These are preschoolers and toddlers I'm talking about here.

As far as I am concerned, there is such thing as over stimulating children. Preschoolers do need some structure in their lives but when it comes to play time what they really need is their helicopter parent mommy to butt out and let them be. Signing your three, four or five year old for an activity is wonderful but signing them up for a bunch of activities as well as having them go to pre-school is just too much. When do they get to use their imaginations and have free time? When do they get to hang out with their mommy and siblings and just chill instead of constantly running from here to there? And what is up with play dates? When did we as adults become so sissy-fied that we call kids going over each others houses play dates? Why must we schedule dates for our kids? Whatever happened to just calling to see if so and so wants to come over- are your kids that busy that you need to pencil in play time with a friend?

If you really look at parents who do these sort of things you have to ask yourself- are they doing it because the kids enjoy it or are they doing it because it makes them feel like a good parent? Good parents have a very active role in their kids' lives, right? I beg to differ on that one a bit. I believe that a good parent does have an active role in their kids' lives but know when to step back to let their kids gain their own sense of independence. If you are running your kid around town at age three then lordy, lordy- I feel bad for you when your kid is a teenager. They will think that you are their personal concierge and expect you to keep them occupied at all times.

So you may think I'm completely off base here. You may look at me and think that because I don't coddle my children, bring them to the newest indoor play area in town, have them signed up for ten different activities each and don't desperately make play dates for them each week that I am a lazy mom. But that is all fine because at least I seldom hear my kids tell me that they are bored, even when we are sitting home doing nothing. Boredom doesn't exist in a home where kids are encouraged to be independent and use their imaginations.

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