Today a blog post popped up in my Facebook feed. I clicked because of the title What Would My Mom Do? and I stayed because, although it was a Today Show article, it was wirtten by well known author Jen Hatmaker.
I've loved Jen for years, I fell in love with her the first year I attended MOPS. I've led her books in book studies, her book 7 has rocked my world, but most of all I love that she is Texas. My northern friends don't always get her. But she is every ounce of Texas. Her heart, her life, and her ministry always make me nod and say Amen.
Her article today made me chuckle and read portions out to Adam. I was really on Facebook when I supposed to be blogging. I was wandering for inspiration, and eureka! I'd found it.
Jen's calling for us Mamas to lay off the highly scheduled summer, the hours of screen time and perfectly portioned reading agendas. She's harkening us back to our childhoods' where we were told to go ride a bike, lay outside under the tree, make a new friend.
Yes! Make me feel less guilty for being the mom who failed at her Summer Schedule last year. I had everything perfectly portioned. An hour or two of school time to practice handwriting or math skills or reading. A new park every week with a grand, new adventure every other. I'll be honest, I'm not sure we even made it on one grand adventure. Soon I'd thrown out the schedule and barely made sure we had enough sun screen on as we headed to the pool day in and day out.
I realized something about me, us, as a family during that time. We all just wanted to decompress. The kids were tired of me being up in their business all the time, and to be honest I was pulling my hair out coming up with new math problems for the almost first grader to do. So we found our new routine, the kids played outside in the mornings while I read, or cleaned, or did laundry, or got things together for an easy supper later in the day.
The kids knew to not come in unless they needed to use the bathroom. They knew they were allowed to look both ways to cross our (very quiet) alley to go to the neighbors house if their kids were out. They knew how far they could ride their bike and not get in trouble. They knew and respected the safety boundaries and knew that if they followed them, I would not bother them. I didn't care if they got dirty, or a minor scrape, or if they wore shoes (except on the bike). I didn't care how high up in the tree they climbed (as long as they could get down without assistance of an adult). They were kids. Then we would pack everyone up, head to the gym, eat lunch, and go to the pool until dinner time. Those days were not every day, but they were the best days. They were the days when we all fell asleep easily.
Sometimes when friends find out about our loose rules for outside play, they raise an eye brow, or defensively tell me why that wouldn't work for them. I mostly smile and nod, or sometimes push back a little. Why isn't it ok? Didn't most of us grow up that way? I distinctly remember drinking a whole summer out of a hose or if it was an awesome day, getting to drink that fruit punch out of the plastic barrel shaped jugs.We turned out ok, if not more than ok. We all managed to make lives and dinners and produce our own children. Most of us have held steady jobs at one point or another. We are alright, likeable people.
I want my kids to play with the neighbors and figure out how to say no to peer pressure or work together as a team to reach a goal. I want them to make up their own rules to games and cheat a little. I want them to have bruises and skinned knees and tan lines.
I want to be on Jen Hatmaker's team. She'd have the coolest matching tshirts anyway, but can I drink Diet Coke instead?