There’s Not Enough Time To Do Nothing

How’s your summer going?

Ours is going well, actually, I think. As usual we are doing our Summer of Awesome, and as usual, some activities slide by us as we run out of time and energy. But that’s okay, I think.

Yesterday, we were planning on going downtown to Fortissimo, the army/navy concert on Parliament Hill. But everyone was tired, and when I tried to rustle up some energy from the crowd, Captain Jelly Belly said this:

“There’s never enough time to do nothing.”

And it was pretty eye-opening to me. I mean, I only take them on outings now twice or maybe three times a week, at most, because I have to work some days. And on work days, they have all the free time in the world, which often leads to bickering, and angry discussions over minute details of who-said-what and what-means-what, and people lolling around in the office asking me for the hundredth time ARE YOU DONE YET BECAUSE I WANT TO GO TO THE POOL. So I didn’t really think that they were hurting for “down time,” if you see what I mean.

But I guess they do value their bum-around-the-house, do-nothing kind of time, and I also guess that that is what summer is all about. So rather than fretting over the fact that we missed Fortissimo for yet another year, I decided to embrace it, watch some Jeopardy, and go to bed early. Win win.

We have seen some good stuff, actually. We’ve been to the new Museum of Nature ice gallery (awesome) and the new Museum of History Canada gallery (a little heavy on the reading, my kids got bored there after an hour or so, but still totally worthwhile for any interested adults, I learned TONS about our own country). We’ve been swimming a few times and to the library and to the mall. We’ve been to the Art Gallery to see their new Canada area (great), to Saunders Farm (good as always – their new Bunnyworld made it 100% WORTH IT for my youngest), and to Classic Car Night at the Hazeldean Mall.

In between, we’ve been working at home and I’m so, so happy with that. In the past I’ve made the kids do homework each day in the form of English or math worksheets, and that’s work for me in that I have to prepare it, convince them to do it, talk them through it, and then mark it. And I have to say, it has not translated into any fabulous turnaround in their school marks, either.

So this year, I decided to offer traditional homework as an option – but also offer a set of chores as an option as well. These are outside-the-everyday chores that involve life skills and also getting my house in order. For example, each had to do a Bedroom Deep Dive – where we took everything out, cleaned all surfaces, then evaluated everything before it went back in. Each was able to produce a couple of bags of garbage and a whole bag of clothes to donate – not sure if that makes me proud or embarrassed.

They’ve also done things like clean out kitchen cupboards, wash down the kitchen chairs, and pack lunches for a day trip. Soon they will each have to take a turn making dinner – planning it, preparing it, and cleaning up afterwards. We had a baking day where they each had to be in charge of baking something on their own and they’re each taking a turn doing the laundry and taking out the garbage once this summer.

Maybe that’s why there’s “not enough time to do nothing.” But they can suck it on that one, we are DOING THIS, and man, I feel great about both their skill level and the status of my house.

One last thing that they could choose for “homework” – I invited them to start a blog, and on any given day, do a blog post for their homework assignment. Only one kid took me up on this, and to my shock, it was Gal Smiley. Captain Jelly Belly loves to tell funny stories and crack people up; Little Miss Sunshine is a Chatty Cathy who tells you every detail of every aspect of her life. I thought both would be blogging naturals, but it’s my quiet one, the one who actually hates writing, who struggles to get through English class each year, who chose it.

She’s actually doing it too – you can read her blog here.

The other day she woke up and said to me, “I was just thinking about some things and decided to blog about it.” Proudest Mom Moment Ever!

2 thoughts on “There’s Not Enough Time To Do Nothing

  1. I wish I could hire you to plan my summer! You’re an awesome mum, doing all these activities with the kids.

    I feel summer started late this year. It didn’t feel very summery for the first couple weeks of July with that rain. Even Canada Day was a bit of “meh” this year :-/

    I love your son’s wisdom. A while ago, Mark started saying “we don’t/won’t have time to do XYZ” and I felt guilty because it should be my line, not his. I’m trying to be more flexible… it’s hard sometime because time (or lack thereof) is something that stresses me out.

  2. Isn’t it great to balance out the nothing with the ‘clean out the cupboards’ and stuff like that? I had my kids wash the cars. They still need to do the inside, which is less fun (no hose, for one thing), but they’re learning that the not so fun stuff is part of life, too.

    Just yesterday at dinner I asked what everyone accomplished during the day and when it was my turn, they were staring at me with open mouths. None of them realize that a simple task like ‘going grocery shopping’ can be so time consuming (because it includes things like put food away, prep for meals, deal with freezer/fridge items in backup fridge)… One kids said he watched videos and practiced his hockey shots on the driveway that day. That was his day. He’s starting to see that my request to peel carrots or prep the salad or empty the dishwasher continues to be part of the every day life, regardless that he’s on summer vacation. 🙂

    Having said that, continuous dialogue to balance out the ‘do nothing, relax’ side of summer vacation includes all of us, including the adults. Right? Because ultimately my dillydallying includes things like read blogs and comment, or post my own blog posts, something they don’t necessarily see as me relaxing (and it is, to me, very relaxing).

    But it certainly sounds like summer is going well for all of us! So far, so good, and still so many weeks left!

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