Orbiting children

Posted on July 2, 2011 by

My husband and I have a very traditional perspective on family life. We live our life, and our children live it with us. It’s now lunchtime on a Saturday, and our children have joined us in:

  • mowing the lawn and tending the garden (pruning),
  • washing and changing the towels and bed linens, and hanging them out to dry,
  • taking a trip to the library,
  • making a shopping list,
  • evaluating math texts,
  • making pancakes and some fresh mulberry syrup to go with them,
  • creating a siphon with a garden hose to drain the pool,
  • and washing the cars.

When my mother called us just now, she asked, “When are you ever going to do anything with the children?” I drew a blank. I do everything with the children. My daughter’s sitting on my lap right now, and she helped me to pick out the picture for this post. But then she expounded, “You should take them to the zoo or the pool, or something.” We do that, but rarely.

I suppose we have a rather old-fashioned relationship to our children. Other than teaching them their lessons and occasionally playing with them, they’re just along for the ride. We point out things to them, explain what’s going on, and allow them to help as they can, but we rarely do something “just for them”. We speak mostly to each other when we’re together, and we don’t allow the children to interrupt us.

We see our marriage as the core of the family, with the children on the next layer.

Modern parenting is very different from what we had as a child. My own parents did not raise us the way they expect us to raise our children. That wasn’t the norm back then.

When my mother came home from work, she checked our homework and then told us to “go play”, which is what we did until dinner. Then we got ready for bed and played a bit more until bedtime/storytime. The hours between homework and dinner, and dinner and bedtime were independent play. Our time, our problem.

Most modern parents feel like they have to provide their children with constant entertainment, and I was no exception. When they were younger, my tendency was to smother them a bit. Now I supervise and advise, and sometimes take part. Since these children aren’t so much effort anymore, I sometimes wish I had more of them. But that… as they say… is another story.

Posted in: Homemaking