It’s not up to parents to make sure their kids are having fun 24/7
Summer vacation is well underway and parents who stay (or work) at home with their kids are totally under siege. Who’s thirsty? Who’s fighting? Who’s continually up at dawn demanding waffles even though it’s freaking vacation? And the most dreaded of all — who’s bored?
One mom is getting the message out that keeping our kids entertained is simply not our job, and that’s great news, because lord knows we have enough shit to do.
Mom of three Meredith Masony is the voice behind the popular parenting blog and Facebook page That’s Inappropriate. Yesterday, she shared a video where she speaks the truth about the fact that it’s not up to parents to make sure their children are having a grand old time all summer — or ever.
She says, “As a parent, I have a lot of jobs. I’m a maid, I grocery shop, I do tons of laundry, I feed my children, I bathe my children, I remind them to brush their teeth because it constantly smells like cat litter, I drive the children to places because they don’t have a driver’s license of their own, but it is not my job to entertain my children. It is their job to entertain themselves.”
BOOM. I’m so glad someone said it. As I write this, my older child is writing a play that’s more or less a plagiarized version of “The Wizard of Oz” and the little one is twirling in the driveway singing songs from “Hamilton.” The best part? They’re doing it all on their own without me directing them. I won’t cop to nailing too many things as a parent, but guiding my kids to learn how to make their own fun is possibly my best work ever.
And as Masony says, that doesn’t mean I ignore them.
She explains that not being her kids’ daily activity coordinator doesn’t mean she never plays with or interacts with them, just that she’s not orchestrating their fun 24/7. “It’s not my job to dole out activity after activity and sit on top of them and watch exactly what they are doing,” she says.
Because as Masony notes, not hovering over our kids forces them to be creative and get to know themselves. If we’re guiding all of their play and filling every hour with pre-planned “fun,” when do they get to be themselves? To learn to navigate challenges and find out the things they enjoy doing most?
Conversely, if we’re constantly being our kids’ court jester, when are we doing chores/reading a book/taking a shower/staring off into the distance and regrouping? Moms need kids to do their own thing almost as much as kids need to do their own thing.
To the moms overwhelmed by the struggle to entertain their kids, Masony reminds them, “You don’t have to! Relax, it’s cool. They will figure out how to entertain themselves, I promise.”
“You have other things to do, and you don’t have to feel guilty about that.”