Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just me and my mom.

I'm always on the lookout for great books. Chapter books for Liam that are engaging and funny without having the word "fart" on every single page. Great read alouds that the whole family can enjoy. Picture books that tell a story and draw us in with fantastic illustrations. Grown up fiction I can't put down. Non-fiction that isn't preachy. You name it, I've probably requested it from the library.

Yesterday I picked up a big stack of books I had on hold so this morning, Finn climbed in bed with me and we started reading. But after just one book Liam and the friends who spent the night woke up and Finn ran off to play.


It was sweet while it lasted though. We read Just Me and My Mom by Mercer Mayer.

Finn loves these books. We already have Just Me and My Dad and Just Me and My Little Brother and he knew from looking at the back of the book that there were more Just Me and My... books so he asked if we could get them from the library.

Atta boy.

I was pretty excited to read this book and find out what kind of awesome adventures this kid would have with his mom. He and his dad go on a one-on-one camping trip and he and his little brother do all kinds of great stuff together. I was sure his mom would be just as fun!



She looks about this happy on every page.

This book made me so sad! As it turns out, his mom was not that fun. She was kind of stuffy actually. Their big day out was a trip to the city where they went to some museums and a fancy restaurant and a department store. Which I'm sure would be a super fun day for some kids. But for Little Critter? It felt like a missed opportunity.

Poor buddy.

I mean, it's not like I've never dragged my boys to a department store (and by "department store" I obviously mean Target). I've even taken them swimsuit shopping. But we all knew up front it was going to be torture. Nobody thought we were having a special "me and my mom" sort of day. It was just one of those things we had to do so we could get back to all the stuff we like to do.

Why couldn't the Just Me and My Mom book be about something they like to do together? Something that's super fun for both of them?

I really hope it's not because Little Critter's mom is taking herself too seriously. I hope she knows that she can be the fun one sometimes (a lot of times!) and still get her job done. Sure, there's a lot of stuff she has to do to keep the world spinning. But that doesn't mean she can't be fun and silly and a little unpredictable once in a while. I don't mean irresponsible, No one has to do the dishes ALL THE TIME. Why not take off the apron and get down in the dirt?

Have fun.

Do something unexpected.

Feel your heart skip a beat.

Play with your kids.

Be silly.

Have an adventure together.

They'll be grown ups soon enough and then they'll probably LOVE spending the day in the city. Maybe save the fancy restaurant for then and have ice cream for dinner now. Why not?

No, seriously, WHY NOT? I'll bet you a million bucks you can't answer that question. You know why? Because there is no reason! We actually don't have to act like grown ups all the time. It seems like we do but I swear that we don't. If we knock off the whole, "You're the kid and I'm the mom and that's why" nonsense, life will go on! Dinner will get made (and 99.9% of the time it won't be ice cream). Teeth will get brushed. Lessons will be learned. And those long days we all talk about will be way more enjoyable for everyone.

Block print by this super fun mama...

And if not, you can go right back to wearing your stuffy dress and dragging your kid to the department store for your special time together. I will probably be outside somewhere acting like a kid.

(PS - I know not everyone has the opportunity to spend the bulk of their days playing. But I also know, judging by how happy some people are to be sending their kids back to school, not everyone would WANT that. It's not 'this is better than that'. It's make the most of what you have. There are plenty of stay-at-home-moms or homeschoolers whose favorite time of day is bedtime. Mothers who wait desperately for their partners to come home so they can hand over the kids, have a glass of wine and complain about how much their day sucked. Trust me, I've had those days too. But the days when I choose to make this life with my children an adventure rather than a burden are always our favorite days. I'm grateful that most of the time, I can make that happen. And super grateful to have found a merry band of pranksters to spend our long days and short years with.)

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