For about two and a half years now I have felt this societal pressure for structured, organized activities, schooling and the go go go mentality. Right around Hudson's third birthday all of my friends started signing their kids up for preschool and sports, dance classes and gym time. I was 100% the odd man out. I never felt good about putting him in these activities, dropping him off multiple days a week and fitting him into a structured adult lifestyle at such a young age. My friends would tell me how nice it was to have a "break", and while sometimes I get it, the majority of the time I just really love having them around. The conversations, naps together, crafts, errands, movies we've watched together are some of my favorite memories and they've happened because our schedule has gone at a much slower pace. Some days we wake up and have literally zero things we HAVE to do that day and those are some of my favorites. We aren't rushing around trying to get to places on time and squeeze in meals on the go, instead I have put a priority on having time at home unstructured together to just be kids and to just be with family. Hudson went through a phase where he would say he was "bored". I don't even know if he fully knew what it meant yet I'd just tell him to use his imagination! I've never felt the need to entertain our boys all day, kids are brilliant at doing that on their own if we just give them the space to do it. I really believe he has developed such an amazing imagination and creative ways of thinking and playing because of his time being "bored" at home. The games he and Riley come up with or the ways he turns normal household objects into the "perfect war weapon" or whatever it is for the day is the sweetest!
When I think back to my childhood I'd say 95% of my memories are spent at home with my brother and sister. We never did preschool and both of my parents were elementary teachers. They knew all the research, they knew what we needed to know before kindergarten and made sure we were prepared but they let us be kids. They let us have a carefree childhood, safe and slow at home, filled with lots of fun activities together and yummy family meals together. That is what I want for my boys. That is the kind of childhood I want them to look back and remember. Sure it's great to be on teams and learn those skills or learning how to sit quietly in a school setting but I really feel they have plenty of years to master those skills, that these five precious years they have at home with us are equally as important. They are character building and shaping their future in huge ways and I will protect their time and hearts as much as needed before sending them off into the world. I will do my best to help them be prepared, to teach life skills them but I will also do a whole lot of loving and holding too because in some ways I think that is even more important.
So when you feel pressured like I did because you're the only one you know of not signing up your kids for activity after activity I'm giving you permission now to be 150% okay with that. Even give yourself a pat on the back because it's hard sometimes to be that one doing it a little differently, if that's what your gut is telling you then you own it and be proud! After all, all our kids really need is a whole lot of love from us, cheering them on! And maybe a little more time to be "bored."