Premiere Column: Just Jennifer!!!
In Pursuit of Parenting Perfection, There Is...Just Jennifer
As a mom in 2010, I am a parenting anomaly. Here’s why: Unlike my other momma sistas in the parenting ‘hood, I don’t believe in putting my kids, Gabriel and Elizabeth, in lots of extracurricular activities. In fact, I think they should only be in one activity, if any at all.
I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor.
It’s not that I’m anti-activities. I’m just against this entire movement of over-scheduling children, adding further stress to already-stressed households. I believe in letting kids just…be. When I was younger, I loved being with my mom. Our big thing on the weekend was going food shopping. And I looked forward to it, every Saturday. Why? I just loved the time with her. We would walk (yes, we didn’t drive to the supermarket; it was only two blocks away!). We had amazing conversations; it was our Girl Time. We bonded over choosing bread and Entenmann's cakes and would talk about everything and nothing at once. Our talks were fun and profound, and they didn’t consist of being tossed a Happy Meal in a minivan as we sped to yet another soccer/chess/swimming/cheerleading class. Best of all: I was happy.
Now, it sounds like I lived in a cave and never did anything, right? Well, actually, that’s not true. My Mom enrolled my sister and me in ballet class for eight years. Miss Dorothy and Mr. Guy lived a block or so away (in the opposite direction of the supermarket, mind you), and once a week, me and my friends learned to plié and arabesque in Miss Dorothy’s basement. It was once a week, for about 45 minutes. That was it, and it was enough.
When we were home, we were with our family, talking, laughing, just being with each other…just being.
And that was just fine.
(Photo: Barbara Parris)