Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Jobs - Theirs and Mine

In this age of helicopter parenting and Pinterest (and yes, I think the two are related although that's a post for another day), I see a lot of my fellow moms knocking themselves out to give their children "The Best Summer Yet". Now, I want my children to have happy memories of their childhood. And I also want to protect them, within reason.

But I do not think it is my job to make their summers the best ever. Here's how I see our summer responsibilities:
Theirs: swim, slip n' slide to their heart's content
Mine: provide swim suits, remind them to apply sunscreen every few hours, supervise pool time

Theirs: go bug hunting
Mine: apply bug spray before they set off

Theirs: explore our neighborhood
Mine: supply Kool-Aid for thirsty explorers

Theirs: ride bikes
Mine: provide & apply band-aids as needed

Theirs: make new friends
Mine: listen to the stories of these new relationships, offer advice as requested
Theirs: catch lightning bugs
Mine: provide a clean jar with holes in the lid

Theirs: eat watermelon
Mine: remind them to spit seeds outside only

Theirs: set off bottle rockets, twirl sparklers
Mine: provide a bucket of water and supervision
Theirs: make forts
Mine: make sure we're clear on which quilts and towels can be used for this purpose

Theirs: make s'mores with our fire pit
Mine: provide the makings of s'mores ("Add marshmallows to the grocery list, Mom!")

Theirs: make memories
Mine: take a few pictures, provide snacks and Kool-Aid, treasure my memories of their summers

It is not my job to think up new games every day, explore with them (unless I want to), supervise their neighborhood wiffle ball game so it's "fair", take them swimming or to an amusement park or anywhere, really, unless their dad and I decide that's what our family needs to do. It's not my job to protect them from all bug bites, scraped knees, or boredom.

Yes, let's protect our children from the truly awful things in this world. But let's also help them be kids and actually enjoy summer. If we can remember what our jobs are, it will help us love summer just like they do.

What do you think a mom's responsibilities are in the summer?

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