"I knew we were too busy all the time, and I knew we had become caught up in the parental rat race. I was exhausted by the pace and pressure that dictates family life today, and the constant feeling that if you let up for one minute, your child will fall behind. This is the cardinal sin of parenting today in the middle class: letting your child fall behind."
When I read this article last week (quoted above) I knew I was meant to read it, and I knew, for us, the idea of a 1950's summer was much more than this post, it was much more than summer. It was a mantra for life.
I can't count how many times recently I've said to people that the last six years have felt more like survival. Sure, parenting sometimes feels that way, parenting babies and parenting pre-teens (oy). But it's more than that. The last six years we've been parents of school-aged kid(s).
That comes with it's own kind of survival. To be honest, it's exhausting. I've been blessed to stay home the majority of that time, a few years in there I taught at the kid's school. But I've always worked. I ran my own business (a few if we're being truthful). I've worked freelance projects, written, photographed, designed - all from home, all while mothering my school-aged babies.
When I read the Huff Post article I thought to myself about the 1950's era. I thought of my kids. I thought of the age of digital devices and I thought of our decision to homeschool.
We love our Apple products, don't get me wrong. We won't be parting ways. Like. Ever.
But we also love dirt, and crafting, and nature, and kids playing in sprinklers, and reading books, and exploring, and laughing over silly games.
And I think one of the things I'm most looking forward to in our home educating is the freedom that comes with grasping onto a bit of the 1950's life. That kind of life.
It has felt, all these years, as though we rush through the week, barely hanging onto the ride, for the weekend to come, and pass, just as busy. Sunday night arrives and my stomach hurts, I ache, for the knowing of what's ahead.
Hurried lunch making, last minute field-trip-money-scraping, rushing kids out of bed, yelling that we're late, yelling that a shoe is lost, yelling that a backpack is lost, yelling because, sanity. is. lost. Then, we rush home from school to do homework, which drags some nights well past dinner, and on occasion, has to be finished the next morning.
It's all a rush, all of it, and it's tearing us apart.
So after church today, in the midst of finishing our final weeks of traditional school, we got a 1950's kind of day. It happened without intent, not one of us sat down to plan it. We simply opened the front door (daddy was working on his car), turned off the devices, and then the magic happened.
"Mom we made a fort out of boxes, come look!" Danny said, his face lit up.
There in front of me was the greatest box fort I've seen. Not because it was massive or perfect, no, it was great because it was there. Pieced together with tape, fully equipped with doors and windows, and the workings of little boys (and a little girl).
They ran through the sprinklers, dripped Popsicles down their chins, and imagined the best adventures in a couple of moving boxes.
It was just the kind of day we needed, it was our own version of a 1950's summer, of a 1950's life.
And I think we'll have a lot more of those, yes, I think we will.