A Day Off

Awww. It looks like my three kids are playing outside together so nicely…

Did you notice the key words there: ‘looks like’? It’s hard to tell for sure while merely glancing out the window while wiping the table.

Yes, there they are — jumping on the trampoline; haphazardly holding hands as they move in figure 8’s, then letting go in a burst of flailing limbs and peels of laughter.

I think. Those honestly could be terrified screams and tears. Either way, I’m not worried since I’ll obviously hear about it if someone really does get hurt!

See, today’s a day off from school.

(Did your heart just skip a few beats at that vital piece of info, too?)

Now, I have found that there are two vastly different parenting styles on days off:

First are those exuberant moms who wake up earlier than their kids to prepare a Pinterest-worthy breakfast (that the little ones actually eat!). Then it’s off to an action-packed, gold-medal star day full amusement parks, ice cream cones, trips to the zoo or roller skating rinks (probably all of the above), and whatever else their impressive mommy minds and bank accounts can muster up.

The other moms, however, try to hide in their beds with their pillows over their heads for as long as possible, feigning sleep (and, sometimes, existence). Once they are finally pulled from their beds (by the fear of who-knows-what-sort-of-food being ground into the couch cushions), these moms cautiously emerge, take inventory of the disaster, and then hunker down with chocolate — or something much stronger — while announcing it’s free time [all day long].

Clearly, pajamas are a must on such days; bras are optional.

Any guesses which category I fall under?!

OK, it’s not usually that bad around here and I’m not that bad of a mom — usually.

I am a believer though of keeping it simple, even on days off.

Since we had friends come play for the morning (while still in our pajamas), I expect my kids to be creative here at home the rest of the day.

I don’t feel the need to entertain them.

Sometimes I do have to shoo them outside — and lock the door to keep them out there longer than just 13 minutes.

Sunshine in the Pacific Northwest in January?! Yes, children, you will jump and run and get filthy outside because tomorrow it will rain (and not stop again until Noah sails by!).

Honestly, there is nothing inside a house that could ever compare to the pure adventure and magic waiting to be discovered in nature.

Oh wait, there is one thing my kids value and need more than being outside by themselves: ME.

While I’m all about letting them imagine and tinker and play on their own, my mama heart warms when they ask me to join them.

Be it action-packed days or long and lazy — what kids really want is love and attention, especially from their parents.

So yes, I’ll take my minimal-activity-planning, pajama-clad parenting approach outside with my little ones now.

After all, it is a day off from school!

Do you thrive on activity or do you prefer unscheduled play time? How do you care for yourself with either parenting style?

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