Since we started this vacation and until reinforcements arrive (T-minus 54 hours until Sheepdog is here!), I have removed many of the standard limits which I usually impose upon my kids. There have been no bedtimes, they may or may not have showered or bathed, Twizzlers and Smarties have become their own major food group, Kid D has learned two new slang/ curse words, and no one even knows where their shoes are anymore. And we are all thriving!
Of course I’m kidding. The first few days were fun and exciting and all “Let’s Eat the Forbidden Fruit!” but now the kids are just overtired, dirty and have stomach aches and splinters. Many of them fall asleep in public places in the middle of the day and/ or burst out in tears for absolutely no reason. And one of them is always not talking to another one for some reason. It’s like the first few days of Lord of the Flies.
Apparently, my kids crave order. They may think that they don’t want rules and limits, but I know that it makes them feel safe and secure and keeps them young for just a little while longer. And they may think that they want to grow up right this minute, but that’s not what is best for them. And I see it in their behavior and their language and their demeanor every single day.
See, I have been trying this little experiment for years now. I may take naturally to being a drill sergeant kind of parent, but I also want my kids to have memories of growing up in a house with a mom who was fun and silly and a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. So every once in a while (vacation is a great time because everything gets upended anyway) I let Captain Chaos run the show. And every single time it is fun for a few days. Until it is not so fun anymore.
So maybe tonight I’ll make a healthy dinner, but we can go for a walk to get ice cream afterwards. And instead of banning video games today, I can set a time limit so that nobody plays for eight hours straight and gets all crazy-eyed and combative. But I’ll tell you right now that Kid E is going to bed by 7:30 tonight and every single night thereafter. Because a grouchy, unrested Kid E is always miserable. Moderation be damned.
When we lessen or reduce our extremes we are more likely than not heading toward normalcy. And who doesn’t want to be normal? Moderation has the best chance of survival in the long run. It is just so hard for me to put it into practice. It is one of my Life’s Big Struggles.
What I am figuring out, slowly but surely, is that moderation is the way to go.
Isn’t it always? [Buzzer sound]. I guess I still have a lot to learn.
Oh! Now I get the saying, “All things in moderation, even moderation.”
This is not going to be easy for me.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…