Summer Rules

I did it. I made a NO TV rule today. One week into summer and I was actively watching my children’s brains melt as they stared at what my grandmother referred to as “the idiot box.” I’m not proud of it. But maybe like you, I have work to do. I can’t be on full mom mode, or chauffeur mode, or camp councelor mode. I can’t be at the beck and call of the whim’s of teenaged texted plans: Can you take me to the beach, no to the bowling alley, no to the tennis courts, no to the mall? And I feel guilty and even a little scared of the next two months because my work place during the day, is suddenly a house full of kids with needs. Who can get pretty ornery when they’re not met. Even though I know that they’re great kids. Everyone says so. I’ve actually caught myself saying, “Would you speak to your teacher that way,” like a broken record. But it’s not their fault that they live here and that they need to eat and that it’s rained all week and that they don’t yet drive. So yes…I’ve been letting them watch a LOT of TV. Hours of Disney dizziness and tacky reality shows that make me shudder with shame. I’m what’s wrong with the world. So today, when in between conference calls I heard screaming and a loud thwack and crying and I ran into the living room watching remote controls flying through the air, I laid down the law. With fear and trepidation, I said it: “NO MORE TV!” And “NO, I can’t drive you anywhere. I have to work. This is what I do all day while you’re at school. And you’re going to have to figure out something to do…” (and then I chose my fate)… “TOGETHER!” And I confiscated the remote controls and stomped back to my office, shaking a little. These kids are old enough to really know how to push my buttons– that’s what their generation knows how to do best, after all. Rapid fire communication through little spring-loaded launch pads, and with the total system overload of what just a week ago was a well-oiled schedule from work to motherhood…I am a faulty launch pad and they know it. So I took in a deep breath and waited.

And lo…what I heard was silence. And then discussion. And then more silence. And then laughing. For an entire hour. And finally, I crept into the living room to see what could possibly be going on– had they deliberately disobeyed me and turned on the TV? Has my sovereign reign as their mother weakened in the knees? Did I need to adjust my crown and raise my sceptor and banish them to their bedrooms with books for eternity? I readied myself:

Here is what befell my eyes…

There is hope in Park Place.


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7 Responses to Summer Rules

  1. Cindy

    When I really need to work…I break out the trans fats.

    • lauramunson

      I’d rather they ate a jar of Crisco than watch another minute of the Disney Channel! We’ll see how it goes…

  2. Kathryn Godsiff

    Too funny!! Good for you. My mantra was, “We live on (acres, from several hundred to 2000). Boredom is not an option.” You’ll be amazed and likely alarmed at what they come up with.

    BTW, the house we own in Sisters is on Park Place. You should come visit!

    • lauramunson

      Kathryn– You got to love sending your kids to the neighbors for eggs with dogs and bear spray! One minute it’s that, and the next it’s Hannah Montana. And I’m pretty sure that Hannah never carries bear spray with her! ox Laura

  3. Kelly

    WOW I am impressed not the pic that I thought was going to pop up! You do have good kids!

  4. Our family is on our first vacation in two years. As my husband and I loaded the last few items in our 1996 mini-van, we pondered about bringing board games along. Our eyes met and we knew that they would not be interested. The PS3 and various electronics rode with us. I wish we had made the decision to cut out the TV years ago. Our two boys are 15 and 17 – their friend, 13. You are braver than we – march on and part the waters for us all…

    • lauramunson

      Stephanie– I hope you have a great trip! My sister once told me (she has kids much older than mine) that it’s important for kids to learn how to be “bored.” I think that’s great advice. Even though my truck was full of soccer girls with their head phones on for the four hour drive over the Rocky Mountains for their tournament…on the same mountain crossing that Lewis and Clark hoped to make before they got shot at by the Blackfoot…I still caught them looking out the window, gazing at the splendor of the river and snowy peaks. May you catch your kids staring out the window of your mini van often, headphones and all. yrs. Laura

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