Three weeks and 2 weekends until we all get a break #Mentalhealth #Freerangekids

I looked at the calendar yesterday, figured out the kids just have 3 weeks of school until they get another break, this time Thanksgiving. Ordinarily weekends would be a break for all of us, but not the next couple of weekends. Life is just pretty hectic right now, gives me a little more understanding for how I was raised.

This coming weekend there are multiple events. Friday night is Jimmy’s school play. Saturday morning the little ones and I will be walking in the Veteran’s Day parade (Scout event, I’m not a veteran.) Saturday afternoon Jimmy has another performance, and I will be cleaning house. And then Sunday we are having the family birthday party fo Kim and Emily. So yeah, not much of a break in there for any of us.

The next weekend is Jimmy’s District wrestling Classics on Saturday, then on Sunday is our monthly game in Denver. So a busy Saturday, followed by a fun Sunday event. But still, not a quiet weekend.

But then, in 3 weeks the kids have a full week off. And I have learned my lesson, and will only be off 2 days. But those first 3 days are something of a break for me as I will not be focused or concerned with getting the kids to school. And that alone is a break for me.

Which brings me to a follow up on yesterday’s post. My mother commented on my post that maybe I would understand why she was so tired when raising 3 kids while researching, writing her PhD thesis, and then after that while teaching. I responded that I certainly understood why she was tired, and have nothing but appreciation for everything my parents did.

But I do think I understand a little more now about how I was raised. We were all pretty FreeRange Kids. We roamed the neighborhoods, took the bus downtown to shop without parental supervision. Rode our bikes or walked to school on our own (at least until I moved away from my school.) We had our responsibilities as far as chores, cleaning etc. (if we had left our house as trashed as my kids do there would have been serious consequences.) But for the most part we had a lot of freedom.

And I think that one of the big factors in that freedom was our parents just were tired. And certainly did not have the energy to organize ‘play dates’ or run us all over town for multiple extra curricular activities. We all played some sports, but certainly not like I think my kids have their calendars full (or at least I don’t remember it that way.) But I also don’t think there was the social pressure to have kids involved in lots of activities then the way there is now.

So when I talk about being tired from all of these activities, I certainly know that I am ‘preaching to the choir’ when my parents read about it. Of course my parents are both introverts like me, so that could just be a factor there. I know I let the kids get away with far more when I am home than Kim simply because I want to just curl up and hide some times. It takes real effort on my part to do anything constructive on the days when I am home alone with the kids. Thus my inclination to turn them loose on the world, to let them range freely as it were. And why busy weekends are so hard on my mental well being. And why I look forward to non-school days, because I can just get up, take of me, and get myself to work.

In essence, encouraging kids to be free range is a defense mechanism. And another reason there is such pressure against it, because our society does not have much sympathy for the introverted parents. The expectation as a parent is to be out there, doing stuff for and with your kids.

I am extremely thankful that Kim is not the introvert I am, and I don’t think the kids realize how much she does for them. And how little they would be doing if it was just up to me. Which is why I do my best to make sure that she gets her down time when she asks for it, because she certainly deserves it.


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