Thursday, January 22, 2009

easy going mommy

Whenever we have kids over I insist that there be minimal rules.
Someone wants to jump on Ark Boy's bed.
Sure, go ahead.
Someone wants to throw all the prefolds down the stairs.
Sure, go ahead.
Someone wants to throw all the alphabet magnets across the kitchen.
Sure, go ahead.
Nothing in our house is breakable.
If it is- too bad on us- it shouldn't be in a house where kids are welcome.
And "kids are welcome" trumps "that's irreplaceable!" any day.
Part of it is laziness.
Most of it is that everything can be cleaned up.
No need to stress kids out with unnecessary rules at this house.
Be gentle with others is a non-negotiable rule.
No food in the living room is negotiable.
No need to stress out parents.
This is not a house where they need to be on edge when the come to visit- always waiting for a loud crash/cry/indicator that their child has done *something*.

At least this is how I've felt up until now.
What changed all that?
Crazy playgroup (imagine 10+ kids ages 6mos to 8 years indoors- need I say more?) didn't do it.
In fact I like having playgroup here because I know I don't have to worry about my kids damaging someone else's things (maybe someone else's children- but that's another story).

We recently had a friend over.
She has two kids.
Her three year old son started frantically pulling alphabet magnets off the fridge.
Sure, go ahead.
Then he started flinging them into the living room.
Sure, go ahead.
His mom reminded him that magnets stay on the fridge.
I told her it was no problem.
So she didn't say anything more to her son.
Soon Ark Boy wandered over to get in on the action as did the boy's almost-2-year-old sister.
No problem.
As I watched I saw all three kids get more and more wound.

Then I realized.

My easy going minimal rule philosophy might not be best.
Instead of kids feeling relaxed as they get to just be
they get more and more wound up with minimal guidelines.
Maybe it's the difference between parenting one toddler (is he considered a toddler still?) and parenting several toddlers at once.
Ark Boy would never think to pull all the magnets off of the fridge (or throw things down the stairs.... jumping on the bed is another story- but not a big deal when it is ONE kid jumping on the bed). If Ark Boy thought to do something like pull the magnets off of the fridge his attention span with the task at hand would not last long enough to have all the magnets on the floor.

I think what I'm saying is:
there's a difference between what one kid can manage to accomplish (good or bad) and several kids can accomplish.
rules aren't always a bad thing.

I still intend to be the most laid back mom you ever knew but maybe not soooo laid back....
We'll see...
that whole laziness piece might be a bigger piece of the puzzle than I realize....


Kate@MKDPhotography said...

I think there are some kids that need rules, other kids that break rules, and others that have never heard of a rule...who knows which end is up or what is best to do! (Noah does take all the magnets--or most--off the door before you leave almost everytime) And as long as you're happy and sane in your space and when you go out, then who cares, right!?

Shalonne said...

I like the "no rules" philosophy myself :)I like to save my battles for "no hitting, no biting, please share...blah blah blah... I don't think I would want to try to impose rules on a visitor but leave it up to the parent what rules they want to set as they may have things they want to teach their child(ren) about visiting - or not. No skin off my nose :)

You're the best Sarah - don't change!!!