As social media feeds are jam-packed with the grand summer adventures of others, I cannot help but feel pressured.
We should be taking more trips. The kids should be doing more social things with others. We should really see that movie, visit that pool, or make that project.
Here’s the truth: I just can’t.
Here’s the secret: I don’t want to.
As a family we have made the decision to do less this summer. A decision just as much about the fact that I am working from home as this weird phenomenon: my kids want to stay home and hang out with each other.
I know I should be grateful for this weird twist of fate but, to be truthful, it has caused much worry. Why don’t they want to have more sleepovers? Shouldn’t they be begging to invite friends over? Sure, they have great friends who they have fun with but, more often than not, they are fine hanging together.
This is not to say that all is perfect. They fight. A lot. Since there are three of them, inevitably one person is always left out. If I have to intervene with one more petty squabble I may pull my hair out. In the meantime, I need to shift my focus to embracing the family togetherness and fun because I know it is fleeting. Once again, they are teaching me.
Lessons Learned From The Perfect “Anti-social” Summer Vacation
Boredom is Good!
I used to think the phrase “I’m bored” meant I wasn’t a good mom. My self-proclaimed type-A, pleaser personality often meant I coordinated, scheduled and crafted my way through my children’s younger years. Every day of the summer was jam-packed with baking projects, trips to the zoo, library, pool, playdates, lunch dates and reading times. No wonder I ran out of steam by July (ok, who am I kidding, end of JUNE). All this organization meant my kids never experienced boredom.
With the newfound joy of boredom on their sides, my kids have now discovered tree climbing, fort building, planning meals, made up competitions to see who is the fastest/bravest/smartest (some fighting may or may not have occurred in this process).
I know some of this newfound freedom is the fact that my kids are getting older. However, a majority of their creativity is spurred from their freedom to wrestle with boredom.
Siblings can be temporary enemies, but also best friends
While the moments of fighting are enough to send me to my favorite hiding place: my closet, with coffee of course. When the dust settles, my kids really do like each other. My eldest is the only one who can make his siblings laugh the way they do. My daughter makes it a daily practice to tell her younger brother all the reasons she is proud of him. Nothing warms my heart more than to see my youngest snuggle in a nest created by his older siblings…until that blissful moment is broken by an unwanted pinch or a joke that goes too far and the moment is shattered.
Not every event is “status update worthy”
Let’s be honest, who wants to see pictures of my bored kids strewn across the family room with idiotic looks across their faces because they are bored to crabbiness?
I am embarrassed to admit that there are times I feel pressured to capture a picture of the fun rather than participating in it. What is that about? This summer I am purposefully pushing the pause button when I reach for my phone. Pausing to decide whether or not it is more important for me to remember the moment rather than sharing it with the cyber world in order to have others scroll past it and, perhaps, “like” it. I choose to like it instead!
As we hunker down with each other this summer I feel like we are taking the time we need to reconnect and disconnect. This “anti-social” summer may turn out to be the one we all remember most.