When I was a kid my backyard was my playground. Yes, we would venture out to areas close by to visit with friends and explore but we weren’t always going to every park, play center, splash pad, etc… in a fifty mile radius of my home. Today, it is so much different. Being part of a few mom groups I’ve quickly come to realize there’s this belief that if you are not out visiting all of the above mentioned (plus a few more I haven’t) everyday, if not a few in one day, then you are denying your children a good life. One of the groups I’m in, but no longer really participate, had this feeling of competition regarding the kids’ activities. I would listen to them say “oh well he’s in this, that, and that, and that…etc…”. Then the other moms would respond with their list, hoping to one up the other. I was always amazed. Don’t get me wrong, I love for my kids to get out of the house and experience parks, zoos, their favorite “jump jump” place, but I also don’t think I need to have them off and running as soon as they get up to go from place to place to keep them entertained. Now that we are in an apartment I do need to get out of here more often out of necessity. There’s no backyard for them to play. Thankfully, there is a nice grassy area that is a great substitute for a backyard that they use to kick their soccer ball and just run around. I like for them to use their imagination and have to work a little, so to speak, for their fun. Building things out of rocks, playing in the dirt and mud, making forts in the middle of a bunch of bushes and plants, to me that is as important as taking them to the endless entertainment centers. Yesterday I took the kids to a new “jump jump” place and they had a blast. What’s not to love, a bunch of trampolines you get to go completely crazy and run with a pack of same age kids. It’s nice for me when there’s another mom that is fun to chat with while the kids play, and thankfully that was the case yesterday. But that’s not always the case. I’ve said before that I’m not a competitive mom and really don’t get along with that type. I don’t want to feel like I have to get approval from a bunch of women by showing my exceptional parenting skills, which I have I just don’t feel the need to advertise (yes that was meant as a joke).
When we get a backyard again my kids will spend time playing there. That’s not to say we will stop going to all the fun places, but they won’t be the necessity and I won’t be trying to cram in as many places in one day that is humanly possible. There will be a happy balance, kids will be happy and mama will be happy. My kids will appreciate the fun extras rather than expect them.