I’m Not Here to Entertain

I'm Not Here to Entertain

This morning, my mom came over to sit with my kids while I did some errands.  When I got home, she could tell something was wrong.

“I’m so discouraged!” I whined.  I went on to tell her how frustrating it is for homemakers of my generation to see homemakers of her generation (and before) and try to figure out how they did it all!  The figures in pretty dresses with trim waists trimmed with spotless aprons.  The clean homes, smiling children, beautiful tables set with dinners and crazy molded Jell-O creations.  Sparkling teeth, sparkling windows, sparkling water glasses that never were carelessly dropped and shattered on the sparkling waxed kitchen floor.

Mom quickly assured me those images were all fairy tales created to sell a product–an ideal that no one really actually lived up to.  Her next comment, and my response, really opened my eyes to the biggest problem I didn’t know I had.

“Send them outside,” she said.

“I feel guilty,” I said.

My guilt shocked her.  When my brother and I were kids, she always sent us outside to play so she could get her housework done.  In fact, she’d lock us out there until lunch time so we wouldn’t run in and out!

I’ve been thinking about this conversation all day, and just a little bit ago it hit me that I’m trying way too hard at this Homeschooling Mother thing.  I don’t know about you, but I think I spend a little too much time trying to figure out ways to entertain my kids.  I see awesome stuff on Pinterest that I want to do with them.  I collect books and project supplies and games that we never actually get to.  I feel guilty because the busyness of life often supersedes the adventures I want to have with them.

But, really, I’m not here to entertain.

I’m here to nurture, protect, provide, and pray.

I spend so much time trying to plan and execute the next big thing, that I fall short in too many little things.

My kids spent a lot more time than usual outside today…and I got a lot more housework done than usual today.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Comments

  1. says

    This was very encouraging! My little one is still young, but these are great words to remember for the future.

    Bekah,
    On behalf of –
    A Moment with MOM

  2. Erin O. says

    I so wish that was a real option for me! Our house is too close to the road to be safe. Bly a side yard and no fence aired with boys all age 7 and under means I have to be outside when they are. Warm, sunny days=no housework for me :(

    • Erin O. says

      Sorry about the typos! Should be “”only” a side yard “paired” with boys LOL

  3. says

    I remember my mother and grandmother shooing us outside when I was little! We actually expected it. It was weird to be allowed indoors for too awful long.
    Maybe I will start giving my kids (5, 7, 8, 13) the option – clean house or go outside. :)

  4. says

    I’ll have to just say that I don’t agree with the article author’s advice just to get housework done. I DO believe kids need some time outside, but I would do it as a supervised activity, not as a convenience to me so I could get my chores done. No, I’m not here to “entertain,” but everything I do with my kids is beneficial, even if it’s fun and entertaining.

    As my kids have grown up and moved away, I feel as if I spent too much time focusing on things such as making my house look good when I could have spent time with the kids catching butterflies or doing crafts.

    If I was writing this article, my advice would be to get the kids involved in the chores as part of family time and schooling and not making it a priority over doing wonderful things WITH them. They grow up TOO fast and that floor will get dirty again anyway.

    I have the children help with the housework, even when small, rather than banishing them outside the house so they don’t get in my way.

    I do know that we moms and homeschooling moms need time to ourselves for many reasons, but, just for me, I don’t consider locking my kids outside solely for the reason of making my floors sparkle.

    • says

      I don’t know the author personally but I think she is right. My mom sent us outside during the summer, unsupervised and we turned out just fine. There is nothing wrong with children having good old fashioned, unstructured PLAY! Our job as moms is not to entertain our children, but to love, nurture and guide them. In todays society kids seem to have structure, structure, structure, and no time to just unwind and be kids. Let them use their imagination and come up with things on their own. Yes when the kids are out of the house our floors will shine more, but there is nothing wrong with wanting them to shine a little now ;)

    • vincenza says

      There really isn’t a reason to over analyze the situation. This was a great article. My mom used to send us outside all the time as a kid. We helped do chores around the house on Saturdays after our morning cartoons. Then on designated nights I did dishes. My mom still sent us outside for free play with our friends and she would get the rest of the house clean or she would relax.
      I am sure the author wasn’t meaning that she only sent the kids outside to have her floors sparkle.

  5. christy Virgil says

    I happen to know Sarah, she is my daughter…Her kids do get involved with housekeeping and she has activies for them and with them every day. I do not believe sending your kids outside constantly is good, but I do believe that sometimes that option is good for mom and for kids. Sarah lives in a very small town at the end of a small cudesac. Her kids are well supervised. Good for you, Sarah. All mom’s need a break sometimes and kids need to learn how to play alone and together!

  6. says

    In today’s society, we are made to feel like we need to spend every waking moment with our kids… or, at least, that’s how I feel. I have felt guilty for doing chores when I “could be playing with my child”, but then I thought, “Why do I feel guilty? If I do chores, I’m feeling guilty because I’m not spending that time with my son. But, if I spend the time with him every. single. time. then I’ll feel guilty for not having a clean house, which means a safe environment for my son”. *Sigh* Fact is: children need quality time AND chores need to get done. So…. I think there is a balance to be found here. Personally, I don’t entertain my son for the sake of entertaining him. I homeschool him, play with him and plan fun things, but he also spends a lot of time playing on his own so that I can get things done. Is it a perfect balance? Nope! Some days I let the chores go so that I can soak him up. Other days, I feel like we barely spent any time together because I’ve been busy catching up on my to-do list {usually because I let it slide while spending time with him on a previous day}. I’m trying to find a way to balance it so that every day I get some good, quality time AND I can get some of my chores done…

    But… you’re right. Kids could use more outdoor time and you shouldn’t feel guilty for sending them out when chores need tending to, so long as you bring them back in and love on them like crazy. {Which, I’m sure you do…}
    Alana recently posted..His + Hers Decorating InspirationMy Profile

  7. says

    I enjoyed your post, Sarah.
    What struck me is that women a generation ago were bombarded with unrealistic images and expectations, too. I suppose there’s always been that comparison trap, the feeling of living up to a certain standard and image.
    Shooing your children outside for some fresh air and good old fashioned playtime so you can get your own work done is not cause to feel guilty. It’s good for them, and you! As a responsible mother, I know you are not telling women to be foolish and leave their children unsupervised.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart with us this week.
    hsmominmo recently posted..The Hidden Art of Homemaking – Chapter 10My Profile

  8. dianne says

    I like to remind the kids, “I am NOT the Cruise Director!” It’s as much for me as it is for them. My kids are farther apart and are just getting to where they can spend quality time together (i.e. time where they aren’t fighting). As homeschooling moms, we think we have to work overtime to make sure the kids are happy but it seems like the more we do for them, the less happy they know how to be on their own! Now aside from service being someone’s love language, I make the kids do a lot for themselves. With it being 107 during the summers days here sometimes, i can’t send them outside unless it’s to swim, which we do, but I feel perfectly fine also sending them to their rooms. If they ask me what to do, I tell them to read. But I only have 3 kids. And one is in college, So ya know. Not exactly the same! :D