Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
writing some wrongs
Joined
·
6,873 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I hope I don't come off sounding like a doormat or a limp dishrag here -- I need a little reality check. Y'all are really good at that. :D

We all want the best for our children. I define this, right now, as helping them to have the best possible childhood, in terms of teaching them to be good, responsible, moral adults, expanding their minds and skills, and in terms of providing happy memories, making sure they feel well loved and secure, etc.

You know what? That is a really tall order! Especially when you're a perfectionist like me. You'd never know I'm a perfectionist to look around at my home and life -- perfectionism doesn't mean everything IS perfect, it just means I feel guilty for anything less.

One part of this is being acutely aware of time passing. It is now mid-July and I feel like half of my kids' summer break has been wasted. I had such plans, so many things I wanted to do with them! I envisioned spending wonderful summer days in our new pool -- and the pool is still not up. I wanted to take them camping -- we will, but probably not till mid-August. I wanted to take them canoeing or tubing, take them to museums, etc., and I just don't have the money. I wanted to take them fishing and do other free things, but something keeps coming up. Like work.

I've been working really hard to earn a living this summer and it isn't going well. I've been applying for jobs and got a couple nibbles, and I posted already about how I feel about that and DD's reaction. DD has now come to terms with it. At least she says so.

I bought some school supplies on sale today and DD said how much she's looking forward to starting school in the fall. That made me so sad. I feel like they've not had much of a summer, I've let them down. I mean, I'm glad she likes school, but I wish they'd have more summer fun!

But I think back to my own summer vacations and they weren't all that, either. I wonder if my parents felt the same guilt? We had a pool but I wasn't allowed in it during the day because my parents were at work. I never went anywhere. We went on vacation out of town for a week each year, and that was a great memory, but upon reflection, I think it was a big deal for me mostly because I actually got to spend the week with my parents, not so much our destination.

So I'm thinking maybe my guilt is misplaced. Even if we did everything I planned, my kids might look back on their summer vacations and value something entirely different than I thought they did. Some very good things have come from this summer after all.

For one thing, both kids are getting much better at doing chores. I think they feel good about themselves for this. DD is learning how to drive the golf cart, and I think this will help her in a few years when she drives for real. Not having kids around constantly, like in our old neighborhood, has made them more creative and able to make their own fun and also bond as siblings (and fight like crazy) DD especially has learned a lot about herself in the last month or so, having been given such time for introspection. :) They've helped me with Avon sales and learned about entrepreneurship. DD became a "teacher" at VBS.

It might not be the life I would choose for them, exactly, but they are learning that life isn't always fair and you've gotta make your own luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,905 Posts
are they your goals? or are they your kids goals?

certainly some things you should push/encourage, as kids probably wouldn't try them on their own, eg, going to museums.

also, more than one way to skin a cat. don't have the time to assemble the pool? i remember fun summer afternoons just jumping back and forth thru a sprinkler. took only a minute to set up (assuming you already have a sprinkler).

lastly, comparing my neices & nephews summer schedules to my summers years ago, the seem grossly overscheduled. not sure whether it's kids or adults driving this. maybe just lack of neighborhood kids to play with, such that only scheduled activities allow any time with friends. dunno. but i enjoyed my unstructured summers, just romping around with the neighbor kids, climbing trees, catching fireflys, reading books.

--sgl
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
Its the simple and goofy things that kids remember the most. How about a family game of night time hide and seek? Its easy, and so different that the kids will remember it especially if you come up with some crazy places to hide. Don't forget to have everyone dress in dark clothes. I have also found that kids get a big laugh out of hearing stories where I did something funny or just plain stupid. Stories told around a fire pit are always good. Just have some fun with your kids. It doesn't have to cost anything but your time.
 

·
Be powerful. No other option exists.
Joined
·
38,869 Posts
You are *really* beating yourself up when there is no need or cause. I recognize this because I have done the same thing. :)

I highly recommend the book "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie. She suffered terribly from depression and anxiety, and in a moment of enlightenment, developed four questions to use when those negative thoughts gain control. You do need to get the book, but here's a summary.

First, you identify the thought that is causing the stress. Then, take it through this questioning process:

1. Is that true?
2. Can you *absolutely* know that it's true?
3. How to you feel/act when you think that thought?
4. How would you feel/what would your life be like without that thought?

There's a couple more steps, but that's the basic process. When you take control and examine the negative thought, it loses its power.

Get the book. It will make a huge difference in your life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
My fondest memories of childhood are the also the simplest-least expensive things that my parents could afford to do, like camping, or swimming in the local creek, or driving to a mountaintop to look at the night sky.

Some of the more expensive vacations were the ones that I have virtually no recollections of.

Having enough money and time can be a definite problem, time more so than money in my opinion. Sound's like you're doing the best that you can, I'm sure the children will appreciate you for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
My husband tells me he has very few memories of his childhood - mostly because it was spent with both parents working, and him alone watching TV or some other such thing. The onyl clear memories he has are of boyscouts. His parents gave him any material object they could - clothes, toys and TV, but he remembers little of it.

My parents had 4 kids and little money. Dad went on road trips to make extra money, but that wasn't horrible. My parents gave us what we needed, and not much else. We went camping several times during the summer, sometimes just for the weekend. We went Strawberry picking, Blueberry picking, Apple picking. We spent time watchign movies together and eating popcorn, and occasionally went to the town pool. I have so many wonderful memories, and I know I am one of the blessed to have such a lovely childhood.

Today, DH and I have 2 boys. DH works a lot because that's the nature of his job - but when he's home, he plays with the boys, we go berry and apple picking, we go camping when we can, or we sit and relax with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,638 Posts
ok, this may be late for this summer, but maybe not...

I've always used a 'summer survey' to help me define what my kids wanted out of their summer. The adults in the family fill out the survey too.

I make a word document, in the form of a survery.

Every person gets to say their most favored family activity. And their least favorite (talk about eye opening).

We each get to pick a chore that we will not have to do for the summer only. (nice vacation treat). Someone else, who doesn't hate it, picks up that chore.

Everyone, adults included, MUST choose something that they would like to learn, a new skill, a new craft, something. And we move heaven and earth to make sure that something along those lines happens. On years where finances were tighter, we made sure that everyone understood that they coudln't oh, say, choose flight lessons, but must be sure to be realistic.

We have funny little lists...

Rate the following 1 to 10 as how much you like them, and want to do them, 10 being greatest.

~ family picnic
~ stargazing
~ getting stitches at the ER
~cleaning the toilet
~going to the library

etc. etc. etc. You get the picture.

My survey is a page or a page and a half long, and includes an 'essay' on the 'what I want to learn this summer topic."

My kids have learned to kayak, fly fish, (another year, learned to tie flies), gotten a beagle and learned to rabbit hunt, quilt, knit,make pizza, rock climb, ;learned to play poker,you name it.

and I keep the surveys to look back on over time.

We each get to pick something for each child with each parent, and for each kid with each other. They look forward to these things enormously and it helps to keep us on track and see that it's done. Stuff gets decided upon and put on the calendar.

Maybe you should do a modified, half summer one! It's not about being perfect, it's about making sure that the family/kids come first and spend their summer in a productive way. We all get 'touch point' time.

Our kids friends envy this and have asked for surveys for their families to use.

You can camp in the back yard..., you can climb out on the roof and look at the stars... you can learn to make homemade pizza crust together....you can hike, locally.
Search the local paper for freebees, out nearest city has free music on thursday nights, bring a chair, and different styles of music each thursday. There's a local biking group that's free and fun. Our church provides 'pool time' each Wednesday evening by renting out the local Y outdoor pool and not only is it free for families, but it's good fellowship too. Some nights we take snacks and share.

Use the half of the summer that is left to the best advantage you can and do not spend any of it feeling guilty!~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,553 Posts
Time to start accepting the realization that your children are old enough to set their own goals and make their own plans in preparation when mom will not be around 24/7 to do it for them.

Now, Miss WannaBe Doormat (I'm so glad you get that, great progress), how about you pat yourself on the back for providing all the things your children need above all else, parents who love 'em, make 'em 1st priority, feeding, sheltering, and clothing them above average AND teaching them the importance of a good education.

Let your children learn to entertain, motivate, etc. themselves and they will thank you later -- from other post here I think that's about when they are having their own grandchildren :)

Now, lets work on learning to love yourself as much as you love those children.

Hugs,
Marlene
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
I think lots of moms have some guilt over things they wish they could have done differently in raising their kids. I know I sure do! I was just telling my own mother how I feel so bad for neglecting my ds this summer. But you know what - he's happy!

He is having to learn a lot of things this summer, and is being handed a lot of new responsibilities. He is also learning how to take care of himself, and how to manage his own freedom. He certainly isn't always doing a good job of it (in my eyes, see my other post about the lazy teen..) but he is learning and that's the whole point of parenting, right? To raise your kids to be responsible adults who can make good choices?

Stop feeling so guilty. It is what it is, so make the best of it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,235 Posts
MarleneS said:
Let your children learn to entertain, motivate, etc. themselves and they will thank you later --
I was an only child, remote ranch, very few opportunities to play with other kids except during the school year .

Both parents and maternal grandparents lived on the ranch full time, didn't work "out" ... but I also don't remember a lot of times during the summer months that all four adults were "working" ...

There was usually one "community" picnic at the local dam ... usually 4th of July ... as many families as could get away went for the day, fishing, sometimes someone had a boat, swimming, occasionally (later) waterskiing. And once during the summer we tried to go camping up in the mountains for 3 or 4 days ... my father liked to fly fish, I just liked the 'adventure' ...

The older I got, the more chores I could do ... and if I wasn't doing chores, I was certainly entertaining myself ... playing with dogs, horses, cows ... reading ...

A lot of my fondest memories are actually of things I did alone ... and over the years, the way my life has turned out, I've always been grateful that I did learn to be self sufficient and actually, in most ways, prefer my own company to "socializing" ...

Neither of my children are like that, both were "city kids" for the most part ... the ranch was for vacations by then ... and the grandchildren (and their parents as well) seem to be a product of the modern mindset that how much you spend is the index to how much you are supposed to enjoy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
567 Posts
They just need you and DH. They would rather wash windows with you than play a video game by themselves. They might not SAY that, but it is true.

Do be concerned about their memory of YOU, not their memory of summer vacation. If a month went by and you were too busy, that will be ok in the grand scheme of things. Just make sure that years don't go by where you were too busy! That will not be ok.


Quit worrying so much, you are making me paranoid. :nana:

Kimberly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,388 Posts
The only reason you should feel guilty is if you promised the kids they'd be swimming in the pool, and camping, and doing XYZ and then you didn't follow through.

The rest is simply your own disappointment in goals that were set unrealistically high. Relax. You're doing the important things for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,221 Posts
Do the best you can with what you have and don't beat yourself up.

While we're busy planning what we want to do, life happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,400 Posts
Sometimes the best lesson you can learn is how to get through the times when there is nothing exciting going on.
 

·
STILL not Alice
Joined
·
19,808 Posts
My "problem" clients are the ones whose parents do everything with and for them, the parents who plan everything down to the last detail.

Kids NEED to be bored. That's how they find their passion. If they're not bored, they have no time to dream, to philosophize, to learn to enjoy their own company.

You're doing just fine, Mom. In fact, I sometimes think we parents do our best work when we make mistakes. We teach our children how to handle disappointment, how to learn from the experience, how to persevere in the face of a setback or even defeat.

Sounds like you have a good mix of activities and down time. Give yourself a pat on the back. :)

Pony!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,519 Posts
Your kids' summer sounds like all the summers I had when I was younger - and I turned out just fine and don't have regrets and am not planning on writing a book about how my parents denied me a "proper" chance at growing up.

When I was a kid - back in the 'good old days' - we could go swimming if we hauled the hay in and had the vegetable garden weed-free by 10 a.m. That wasn't a joke. This was after our usual chores. When there was a heavy dew - we couldn't even start hauling hay by 10. My parents usually broke down and took us on one canoe trip between hay cuttings. I didn't see my school friends - I didn't even call them on the phone, though after middle school, I did write letters to my friends ... 20 miles away!

Your kids will be just fine. I think it is mom that needs to adjust her expectations. If you are having a hard time on the wage earning end - those other things won't happen AND IT'S OKAY. The river/pool will still be there. The campground will be just as good in August.

You have my permission to not feel guilty any more. Disappointed that things didn't turn out the way you wanted them - okay but you don't need to feel guilty. Your kids will end up being just fine in spite of all the "things" you think they missed.
 

·
writing some wrongs
Joined
·
6,873 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Pony said:


You're doing just fine, Mom. In fact, I sometimes think we parents do our best work when we make mistakes. We teach our children how to handle disappointment, how to learn from the experience, how to persevere in the face of a setback or even defeat.
I hope you're right, because I made a doozy of one today. :rolleyes:

I sat down here after reading the responses thus far, about noonish, and thought -- you know what? I don't really have anything pressing today, let's just go have ourselves an adventure. I told them I was taking them someplace, wouldn't say where, just said they should dress for walking, good shoes. They finally got me to say "yes, it's a park," and to give the initials, J.B.S.T. and C.G.

I'd been there before a few times, before the kids came along; in fact, it was DH's and my very first day outing together. Nooooo, I didn't need a map. I knew where it was. :p Of course, I was wrong. I was kind of right, just got a little turned around...took about twice as long as it should've but we found the place, John Bryan State Park / Clifton Gorge , outside of Xenia.

See, it's really cool because there are tall cliffs on either side of a river, waterfalls, caves, a neat hike. They enjoyed it a lot.

Then after hiking for about an hour, Mrs. Tour Guide here said "hey, let's go this way," and proceeded to lead them on another two-hour hike away from the car, insisting that Any Moment Now Real Soon the trail should curve back the way we came and loop around. It never looped around. Fortunately I brought money so I could buy them drinks at the campground at the opposite end of the park...where I got a map and saw how badly I had been mistaken. Two hours later (and with a lot less whining than I expected) we made it back to the car. Yeah, that's a total of 5 hours, even with a slightly shorter path coming back. (groan)

Amazingly, my son still wanted to look for a geocache spot near the trailhead. We never found it, but guess what?

They want to go back!


I just LOOOOOVE THOSE KIDS!!!
 

·
STILL not Alice
Joined
·
19,808 Posts
edayna said:
I hope you're right, because I made a doozy of one today. :rolleyes:

{edited for bandwidth's sake}
Then after hiking for about an hour, Mrs. Tour Guide here said "hey, let's go this way," and proceeded to lead them on another two-hour hike away from the car, insisting that Any Moment Now Real Soon the trail should curve back the way we came and loop around. It never looped around. Fortunately I brought money so I could buy them drinks at the campground at the opposite end of the park...where I got a map and saw how badly I had been mistaken. Two hours later (and with a lot less whining than I expected) we made it back to the car. Yeah, that's a total of 5 hours, even with a slightly shorter path coming back. (groan)

Amazingly, my son still wanted to look for a geocache spot near the trailhead. We never found it, but guess what?

They want to go back!


I just LOOOOOVE THOSE KIDS!!!

I don't think that was a mistake -- I think it was a grand adventure! GOOD FOR YOU!!! :goodjob:

Pony!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,388 Posts
Pony used the exact words I was thinking of.
Mistake? That was an adventure!

I LOVE Clifton Gorge! Only been there once, but it is b-e-a-yoo-tiful!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,905 Posts
edayna said:
Nooooo, I didn't need a map. I knew where it was. :p Of course, I was wrong. I was kind of right, just got a little turned around...
[....]
Then after hiking for about an hour, Mrs. Tour Guide here said "hey, let's go this way," and proceeded to lead them on another two-hour hike away from the car, insisting that Any Moment Now Real Soon the trail should curve back the way we came and loop around. It never looped around.
gee, i can't for the life of me imagine where your daughter gets her "OK, I know what I'm doing" attitude from!! :p

(sorry, couldn't resist the irony! no offense intended!)

edayna said:
They want to go back!

I just LOOOOOVE THOSE KIDS!!!
this is the important thing. they had fun. so what if it didn't go "perfect".

--sgl
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top