I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical, by the author of The Honest Toddler, has stuck with me since I first read it over a month ago. Rarely do I read about or meet another parent that openly says, I’m not doing the crafts/themed birthday parties/surprise everything. It was refreshing.
I’m not immune to self-doubt and I often wonder, am I not giving my kids enough? Should there be more parties and surprises? Should there be more toys? Should there be more planned activities and crafts?
If our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could see the pressure modern mothers put on themselves, they’d think we were insane.- Bunmi Laditan
I’m thrilled that my kids amuse themselves most of the time, that they spend a lot of time “reading” a book out loud or constructing a village and acting out village life, the tragedies and the joys, with Duplo people, but is it the right childhood for the time they live in? When I see so many people doing more more more it sometimes makes me question our choice for less less less.
Our parents were around in case we needed something or there was accident, but they were not our main source of entertainment.- Bunmi Laditan
There wasn’t a lot of money during my childhood but there was magic. There was freedom to be out playing games with neighborhood kids until a sibling came to tell us it was dinner time.
I climbed trees. Tall, tall trees with no adult supervision.
I read stacks of books from the library during my summer vacation and went to the local beach with my siblings and friends. The only thing I can remember about my mother entertaining me was her oft repeated reply whenever I said I was bored: only boring people are bored.
Right now we live in a place that hasn’t quite caught up with the handcrafted/unique/themed extravaganza movement I see elsewhere. The half dozen birthday parties we have attended this year have all been mostly the same party: meet at one of the two gymnastics places in town, wear a superhero costume if you like, run around for a bit, have some sandwiches and chips, sing Happy Birthday, then take home a loot bag with a few trinkets and a slice of birthday cake in it. The invitation is Angry Birds themed, the loot bag is generic and the cake might have a superhero logo on it made by a creative Aunt. Loads of fun and a great celebration but certainly nothing you would see on the pages of Real Simple.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy living in a small remote town. Yes, the weather here is mostly terrible and there is no Starbucks and when I visit Paris or even Dublin I come back and it feels far too quiet. But what we do have, a quaint small town seaside lifestyle with an 80s level of freedom, is magical on its own. It’s something I’d have to fight really hard for if we lived elsewhere. It’s something I have to remind myself of when I have ex-pat moments/weeks/months and crave home and city life.
Has anyone else read Bunmi’s piece? Did it resonate? I know people that truly love going all out for parties and making things extra “magical”, it’s not a chore or a competition for them but something they love doing. It’s just not something I enjoy doing nor do I think it’s a requirement for today’s kids.
P.S. Back after a quiet spell on the blog due to some life changes. More about them soon plus an update on my In Out count for 2014.