My 3 Monsters: On Doing "Nothing"

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On Doing "Nothing"

I guess I'm just a horrible person to live with.  Or so I hear.  Daily.  I don't allow my children to do anything.  They can't wander around town on foot all day long in the 110 degree heat.  We only go to the water park once a week.  The movies, too.  Just the once.  Every week.  They can only use the computer for an hour a day.  Each.  After that they just have to sit around watching TV all day long while I clean.  All day long.  We never have any fun around here.  In fact, we never do anything.  At all.

Funny, because there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do.  And that's just the things I could do without leaving the house.  Really, there's so much more cleaning I could do, but  I try to limit myself to one task per day, never really getting on top of it.  Because I'm trying to make time for them.  The kids who are home now.  All day long.  I'm amazed at how many good books we're not reading with all this down time we have.    How many projects sit unfinished.  Or unstarted.  That my children have never once asked me, all summer long, if they could bake something.  Or play a board game with me.  Or for me to teach them something new.

I wish I could teach my children the joy of down time.  That when they are sitting around after our daily "event", bored to tears, they could be making their own fun.  Fun that doesn't involve going somewhere or buying something.  They could be feeling pleasure born from learning and creating.  From trying something new.  Or considering something they had never before supposed.  Really mulling it over.  Or the rush, followed by the peace, of emptying your brain onto paper.  Capturing that nagging inner monologue in writing and putting it to bed for a while.  I wish they knew how fleeting this time with their siblings really is.  How quickly they'll grow up and live apart from them.  How great it would be then to just sit and chat with them.  To laugh together for a while.  I wish they could see that when I'm sitting on the couch every morning, I'm not "doing nothing".  I'm soaking them in.  Saving every single memory to recall on a future day when I sit there all alone.

Because, really, most of the time we have in life is "down time".  The routine.  The rut.  The "events" are few and far between.  And if my children could just learn to enjoy a regular day they'd be among the happiest people to walk this earth.  Kids now days (at least my kids now days) always want to be out in the world "doing something".  I wish they could just see that, at least some of the time, they belong at home.  A home that nurtures and soothes.  Someday they'll see that just being in the presence of the ones who love them most is indeed something.  Maybe the best, if not the most exciting, something there is.


  1. Love this entry today. Hits right at home. Yesterday I was informed that I am the meanest mother alive. The only mother that expects her kids to do chores every day. And then won't let the little rascals spend all day in front of the tv. Sigh. Sometimes being a mom is really, really tough.

  2. Deb - your kids have obviously not met me because I have it on good authority that *I* am, in fact, the meanest mom alive. Have a great day!

  3. We can't ALL be the meanest moms alive can we??? I have 5 votes from my kids that it's me... am I in the lead just because I have lots of kids?

  4. I remember, I drove my Mom nuts doing the kind of things your kids are doing. Being bored and wanting to 'do something.'

    Now I am like you wondering how to get my kids to understand that contentment in the routine and the ability to entertain themselves with what is immediate rather than things they want, don't have, or that are somewhere else is the road to happiness and perhaps even joy.

    Fortunately, I can look at myself and say - well something worked for me so God willing, something will work for them.


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