I read an article here in the Daily Mail (a national daily newspaper in the U.K.) the other day, and I liked it so much I thought I would blog about it, even though it has nothing to do with traveling. It does, however, have everything to do with being a mom.
I don’t know how it is where YOU live, but here in the rather affluent ‘burbs outside London, some of the children have busier social and extracurricular schedules than most of the adults. I had both my children ( ages 8 and 5) doing several after-school activities last fall, and was so stressed by the whole routine: having to pick them up from school after I finished work, ferry them around, rush home to make a lousy rushed dinner, then rush them into doing their homework, bath and to bed that I decided to stop it all, cold turkey.
None of us were enjoying it, and it was costing quite a bit of money, so what was the point? We are all much happier and more relaxed now, and have saved money to boot. It’s so easy to get caught up in that hamster wheel of competitive parenting when virtually everyone around you is doing the same.
I am now happy to tell anyone who will listen that we come home from school, the kids play with their neighborhood friends, I (usually but not always) make a home-cooked meal for them, then we work on homework at a more leisurely pace. And it’s worked out great. I laughed in self-recognition more than once when reading the article above, so please give it a read if you have time…especially the part where the author complains about being bored at the park, pushing her child on the swings. Yes, it is lovely to spend time with your children but sometimes it IS tedious and boring, which is something that is still taboo to mention in certain circles.
For another refreshing perspective on modern parenting, I also recommend The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson, a columnist for another national newspaper here…very funny but also full of great ideas. The author/columnist also has a website devoted to the idea that old-fashioned “hands-off” parenting is better for parents and children. Give it a look, it will help you relax and enjoy yourself, and get off that hamster wheel.