Happy Thursday! I feel like sharing some great links with you all today. First of all, my current favorite workout site. I love the fact that everything on Bodyrock TV can be done at home with very little equipment, and pretty much all of the workouts are 30 minutes or less. But they’re intense, and they’re kicking my post-partum butt back into shape. I don’t have a sandbag, which she uses a lot, but I’ve found that a 25 pound dumbbell works just fine. If you’re looking to shake up your workout routine, this site might be just what you need.
On a totally different topic, one of my Facebook friends shared a link to an article that perfectly sums up my views on parenting and what we want for our children. I do not care whether my boys are at the top of their class someday. I do not care whether they are stand-out athletes. It does not matter to me that they be the best at everything they do. I want them to be happy. I want them to be compassionate. I want them to be honest. I want them to feel fulfilled – but not stressed. I want them to succeed at whatever it is they set their hearts on, but I don’t want them to be overwhelmed with a drive for success that overshadows everything else.
My husband and I have not enrolled our three year old in any activities at all yet. This is his time to play, explore, and have fun, without structure. As our boys get older, we’ll let them decide what activities they want to participate in, but there will always be a limit of one at a time. I will be fiercely protective of their free time, because I feel like the fast-paced, goal-oriented world we live in will suck us into a whirlwind unless we actively prevent it. I feel strongly that life is not supposed to be one constant competition to see who is smartest, strongest, fastest, etc. I want my boys to stop and smell the flowers, so we will not be shuttling from one activity to the other for the next 18 years.
The article I wrote earlier in the week about children and money got several comments from readers who mentioned that activities significantly drive up the cost associated with kids. Just to clarify, the reason we have avoided activities so far – and the reasons we will limit them in the future – has nothing to do with money. We believe that life is better when it’s not so crazy busy, and that’s the life we’re creating for our boys. On a side note, we have no plans to send our sons to preschool either. This is also not financially-related, although I suppose it will save us some money. I guess you could say that we’re planning to homeschool for the preschool years. I realize that most kids go to preschool these days, but I rarely do anything just because most people do it. It seems like preschool has morphed over the years from being mostly play-oriented (sort of like daycare) to being much more academically-oriented, with parents feeling pressure to make sure their children are advancing academically as early as three years old. I firmly reject this ideology, and feel strongly that unstructured, creative play is the best way for the under-five crowd to learn and develop the skills they will need later on in life. There will be lots and lots of years of structured school and work for our boys. I want to protect their freedom to just play and be kids for as long as I can. I realize that other parents will make different decisions, and this is not a criticism of those choices. Rather, it’s an explanation of the choices we’re making for our own children, and nothing more.
Moving on… Another great link: A guest post today on Minimalist Mom, about the difficulties of simplifying and de-cluttering when you have small children. I can totally relate to this one. Right now, our dining room table is covered with paper, ink, crayons, and rubber stamps (our son has been making thank-you cards for people who gave him birthday gifts). We have a huge bag of crayons that never seem to find their way back into their bag at the end of the day, and various blocks, wooden trains, and Legos all over the floor, no matter how often we pick them up. The guest post was written by a blogger named Amber, and I clicked through to her site to find another great article. This one sums up exactly how my relationship with cleaning (and cooking) has changed over the years. I used to describe myself as someone who hated to cook, and hated to clean (or do pretty much anything domestic). These days, I love to cook, and I actually enjoy cleaning too. Somewhere along the way I told myself that I enjoy cleaning – or at least that I really enjoy having a clean house – and where the spirit leads, the body will follow. Amber mentioned that today is her 10th wedding anniversary, and today also happens to be my 8th wedding anniversary. So happy anniversary to both of us!