Monday afternoon I was busy in the kitchen throwing things in the slow cooker, making a week’s worth of smoothies for us and for Bay, whipping up Auggie purees and hard boiling eggs – pretty much anything that would keep us fed with something other than frozen pizza for the week. Baylor protested napping and Auggie woke up early from his so I
banished asked them to play outside for awhile while I finished. For about an hour and a half, they wandered, played, whined, played some more and then finally got settled into a game they made up. Everyone played nicely and complaints turned to giggles and belly laughs.
The entire time I was having pangs of guilt for not being outside with them. It was like the devil on my shoulder was telling me that I was a horrible mom for not playing with my kids. I tried to convince myself too that we played by ourselves all the time as kids and we loved it! Peter has told me the stories of how he and his buddies would “hunt snakes” with the pool cleaning equipment in the desert for hours as kids. And he’s a fancy lawyer so it can’t be all bad, right?
That night I read this article on someone’s FaceBook page. It makes a great argument for letting your kids get bored. It talks about how bordem, unstructured playtime and the freedom to run amok teaches kids how to problem solve. How to make their own fun and how to be self motivated. It makes a great point that at some point in life, no one will be there to tell them what to do or how to do it. Playing alone now will start to give them the tools to think outside the box and learn to fix their own problems.
I used to spend hours in the yard, the trees and roaming our neighborhood. I had tree houses, forts, made mud pies, tied the dog to the wagon and made him pull us, dressed up the cat, and had Olympic events with our friends. I’m not sure if it made me a better person, but it did make me an excellent mud pie chef.
So as long as I’m making healthy, delicious meals, I won’t feel guilty. And I’ll feel just a little guilty when it’s for Real Housewives and Nutella on graham crackers.