Friday, June 27, 2008

If Play Is the Work of Childhood, How Come None of My Kids Gets a Paycheck?

"Children today do not have enough time to play."

"As difficult as it is, we must encourage unstructured free play for our kids."

Am I the only one who finds these quotes a bit, um, nuts?! All my kids DO is play. Not one of 'em did a lick of work today. Not one of 'em earned a paycheck. Not one of 'em did a single thing to earn their place at the dinner table. They are a bunch of free-loaders.

I have never been a joiner-type mom. My girls have never taken dance. No one in our house plays soccer. They wouldn't know a T-ball if it hit them in the face. Gymboree is a store we shop at not a place to have "Mommy and Me" class at. I don't like chaos and all these activities would seem to bring a whole lot of unwanted chaos to my world. I like days at home. I like all my ducks in a row.

My other issue is money. All these things cost lots and lots of cash. I don't want to spend my cash until I am totally convinced that it is something they will truly love and benefit from. Stalin-esque mom that I am, I also require them to kick in some funds for an activity. Yep. Caroline is forking over some of her allowance for this week's golf lessons. I'll probably let 'em hit VBS for free being that it's spiritual enrichment and all that jazz.

So back to unstructured free play. Um, I guess I'm a good mom cuz I spend most of my day saying, "GO PLAY!"


mommy24 said...

Our "2 job/day chart" is working wonderfully this summer...and no, our kids don't get allowance. We tell them that it's their contribution to the mortgage.

Other activities...yes, we're crazy with them. We don't force, however. If they want to do one thing at a time that's fine. $$$...yes, they cost, but let's be honest, we all find the $$ for the things that we love...whether it's eating out, nice clothes, a bigger house, vacations, Chr. Ed... I try never to use the phrase, "we don't have $$ for that.." instead I use "we can only spend it once, and that's not what we choose to spend it on".

OK, I'll get back to work while my children watch yet another wasteful horrible episode of SpongeBob!

Jen said...
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Leenie said...

Yep-Spongebob is a big one at our house.
I haven't put Abbey in anything yet b/c I don't really think she is a dance type of kid. I think she is going to be karate or soccer type of kid.
However, Aidan is in Baseball and although I really don't care too much to sit in the hot sun and go to the practices-- I am so proud when he gets up there to bat and makes a hit. He also makes new friends and has a great time.
I agree it is a bit crazy at times but we agreed to keep it to one activity at a time per kid. The excercise is also a good thing. Perhaps if you get the little ones in the same classes at the same time, it would be a bit easier.

Ann(ie) said...

I think you're smart to make sure it's something that a huge interest before you invest time and money!! And mommyhood is chaotic enough!

mommy to an angel said...

This is our first year for an activity and we choose dance and it has proven to be a big hit. I will not force her to go - if she doesn't want to do it, we're done! She has a month to month commitment, but I'm not going to be like some moms and drag their daughter into dance class week after week kicking and screaming. It's an excellent opportunity for the kids...if it's what they want to do! I too have met some friends in the process and have had a pretty good time.
Will I still do it when we have 4 kids (Lord willing)? I can't answer that until the day comes - I don't know how some of these moms do it running to this game and that game and Saturdays spent entirely at the ballpark, but your kids are only this age once and I guess they just choose to make the most of it.
To each their own though - if it's not for you, or your kids, then kuddos to you for KNOWING that and not forcing anyone into it!
On the allowance note - I was very tempted to tell Olivia today I would give her $1 if she picked up all her toys off the floor in the living room - I have told her about 20 times and there still remains toys - I actually came to my senses before offering it and put her in time out until she wanted to pick up HER mess - she has been in time out 3 times now, but each time results in a couple more toys being picked up! I'm just going to start packing them up if she can't clean them up!