During our "down time" I could always find ways to occupy my time, usually by playing with my three sisters (OK, full confession, it was really more like one or two sisters, as my baby sister, six years my junior, said I NEVER played with her growing up...but we've moved on and are good friends now). And if we complained of boredom, we were quickly directed to a chore that needed done, basketball or piano skills that needed practicing, etc.
Today, as the mother of two children, I always strive to ensure that my children are happy. Somehow, along the way, those efforts have garnered me a new title...that of personal entertainment director.
What are we going to do tonight?
Can you call so and so to see if they can come over?
Can we go do something...it's so boring at home?
I freely admit that I agree to many of their requests because it benefits me. While they're enjoying time playing with their friends, it gives me a much needed respite from the grumbling/arguing that often invades our days. However, it hasn't come without a cost, especially to my oldest son. He has come to rely on my scheduling activities that he has a horrible time when nothing is planned.
The situation usually results in a pouting fit (something I apparently did when I was young...enough so that my Daddy, in his infinite wisdom, wished that I'd have to deal with a pouty child one day when I became a parent...isn't karma grand? And yes, I have since apologized to my Daddy.)
I'm very aware of the problem and have been trying to ease their expectations...limiting play dates to once a week (two times at most). Encouraging them to find things to do on their own with a promise of finding things for them to do (aka chores) if they aren't successful.
It's starting to work...this weekend, after hours of laboring in the yard with us, Mr. B escaped to our back woods. He was busy building this:
It's his own private bunker (complete with wooden steps and ground cover to help hide his location.) He built it on his own initiative, with no suggestions from me. He spent hours working on it and the pride on his face when he showed off his efforts was priceless...I just wish he would have let me photograph him in his newest creation.