Thursday, May 10, 2012

On Being a 50s Housewife

I am so much happier now that I let the kids into the back yard to play by themselves.  I used to avoid letting them out unless I could be outside with them, but in some recent (meaning months ago) escapes into the back yard while the door was left unlocked, I realized the boys do not need me to be in the yard with them.  I also recall stories that my grandmother would kick the kids out of the house at a certain point in the morning.  After going with it for a few months, I see such value in the time they are spending outdoors - we have less tantrums, less indoor messes (but there are still messes), better sharing and cooperation between the boys, more time for relaxation for mom, etc.  Every person at our house is happier.

So, helicopter parents, free yourselves.  They definitely don't need you standing right next to them.  I encourage any parents to expand your comfort level in letting your children grow their independence.  I'm amazed to peek out the window and see Dominic giving Liam a brotherly "lesson" about sticks, or pulling his little brother around the yard in the wagon.  Their relationship is growing, and in many ways it is easier to let go of my tendency to hover because I know they are there together.  I have recently felt very susceptible to the "put in a movie to get some 'quiet time' for mom" suggestion, and for a while we were watching multiple episodes of Planet Earth in a day, but we're back to one episode or less per day for Dominic before bedtime, and Liam is back to no screen time at our house.

My boys are covered in mosquito bites, but they've never been happier!


  1. I LOVE this post! I am trying very hard to NOT be a helicopter mother, but man is it hard! I find myself with moments of greatness where I'll stand back and watch her toddle away, trip and then telling her from afar "get up...dust yourself're ok". And then those crazy little thoughts creep in again and I start thinking "oh no...she'll trip and chip a tooth or crack her head!" But slowly I'm letting go. Go Vintage Parenting!!!

  2. My mom would kick us out of the house with a "Go play" too when we were young. I agree that it's better for kids. I know parents are worried about abduction and other horrible things, but the crime rate is actually down in this country. It's just that we have so much more access to media and information that we hear the bad stuff more and it scares parents into being overprotective.

    Good for you in figuring out what works for your family.