Do you remember your summers? Were you required to read, go to academic classes, or practice math? No, me neither. Mr. Geeky and I revisited the kids vegging out issue this morning. He thinks they’re vegging out too much. I say, meh, whatever. I vegged out in the summer and look how I turned out. The thing is, I overscheduled myself this summer. And when I’m not scheduled to do something, *I* want to veg out. I spent the first part of the summer working almost every day, even weekends. When the last conference was over last week, and the family was gone, I balanced out doing work, cleaning the house, and having fun. I went to the dog park, played WoW, and watched a couple of movies. When the family got back, the Sunday before July 4th, we continued to laze around a bit, and I’ve pretty much done very little work this week. I went into work Tuesday, and I poked at a project yesterday, but today I woke up feeling a little ill, so I’m planning to take it easy.
The thing is, I’m lucky. I should take advantage of that luck, of having weeks of free time and not spend it doing work or thinking I should be doing work (which is really what I do when I’m not doing work. Witness the writing of this post to justify said not doing work.). When I was Geeky Girl’s age–that is, 12–I went to the pool almost every day, or I played at a friends house or we went to matinees. When I was Geeky Boy’s age–16–I did have a job, but I didn’t work the whole summer, and I still went to the pool when I could and I took at least a two-week vacation with my family. I didn’t not, at any time, do any kind of enrichment activities. I was a smart kid and that just wasn’t the culture then. Now, as I think Mr. Geeky and I both feel, the culture is different. It feels weird somehow to tell friends that your kids are actually just hanging out this summer, not working, not going to camp. Geeky Boy is going to a class every afternoon from 1-4:30. It takes 45 minutes to drive there. When he’s not in class, he’s on the computer. And therein lies our trouble. Nowadays, kids’ leisure time is more likely to take place in front of a screen rather than at a pool or hanging out at a friends house doing something non-screen related. And that makes me anxious.
When I was a kid/teen, my parents didn’t much care what I did in the summer. Or after school or at night for that matter. Somehow, we all now feel like we have to structure our kids’ time, even their leisure time. Is that fair? Does it help or hurt? I really don’t know, but I know I both don’t like it and feel uncomfortable when I’m not structuring their time enough.