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Do We Have a Lazy Family?

A “friend” made an observation about our family the other day that stuck with me. I put the friend in quotes because Matt was quick to point out that this particular woman seems great at offering her “advice” and opinions in an attempt to seem like she has it all together but she’s not so great at being supportive and genuine. Is it crazy that I didn’t notice those character traits until he pointed them out to me? Off topic. Anyway- this person mentioned that we seem to stay home a lot and don’t really get out and do stuff as a family when we have free time.

At first I laughed it off, making a joke about how we are homebodies. But she kept talking. And I kept getting more and more annoyed. Her opinion is that we are not making enough memories with our kids, we are not letting them experience new things, and we are being lazy parents. Huh. Maybe there is some truth to what she was saying. We are homebodies. But is that a bad thing for our kids or for our family?

I read quite a few family blogs and I do notice that these blogs do a weekend recap that makes me tired to even read, let alone try to do. These families seem to pack a month’s worth of family activities into every single weekend. They post fun pictures and amazing recaps showing happy smiling kids and cheerful parents. Every.single.weekend. Are we just abnormal?

We do tend to stay home when we have free time. Our kids play outside. They play with each other. They do chores and watch movies and play video games together. We just don’t seem to have the disposable cash to run around to every single thing going on in our city. We do house projects and go out to grab dinner, maybe rent a movie from Redbox, watch the NASCAR race, catch up on laundry….normal everyday household stuff.

Are we cheating our kids? We do fun stuff- the circus, Disney on Ice, our neighborhood festivals in the Spring, Summer & Fall….but is it enough? I think a lot of our current lifestyle has to do with the upheaval stemming from my battle with anxiety and depression. If I’m honest, I’ve been battling it since Maia’s birth almost 9 years ago. It got worse after each kid was born. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I think back to my life 10 years ago and I don’t recognize myself anymore. 10 years ago we had 2 kids, Matt and I both were working full time, we were still foster parents, we lived near my parents and saw them several times a week. We were happy and young and carefree. I feel like I’ve aged 30 years in just one decade.

Maybe I’m having a midlife crisis? Matt suggested that. He won’t be suggesting it again, believe me. But maybe I am. I know a lot of my restlessness stems from coming out of my wintertime depressive mood. It happens every year. I feel alive again and now I want to change all the things in the house and change our routine and do things. I hate this restlessness. It makes me reevaluate everything in our life, including our parenting, and that’s not always a welcome thing. So I sit here and wonder if we are cheating our kids. If we are being lazy.

How much do you do on the weekends? Do you pack in as many family fun activities as possible or do you have lazy days around the house?

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  • Lara Foerster

    I always felt I had to keep my children busy and if we ever stayed home on the weekends I was neglecting them in some way. My fiance and I have a business that requires lots of traveling time, and then after our day of commute and errands which includes the childrens sports and after school activities which runs us at least 3-4 days a week on top of our work week. Now we aren’t including trying to keep up with the cleanliness of our home and home cooked meals every night so that we can wind down and communicate with each other from our 5am to 6pm sometimes 8pm or even 11pm when my daughter gets back from football games on friday nights could shes in band. My kids and us are worn after the week. My 8 yr old son looks foward to pjs all day with video games in his bed. I actually know he prefers it. Sometimes your body needs a day a week. I feel as long as theres hugs love and some family time as simple as a home cook meals together goes a long way. Dont get me wrong a little seasonal activities I love to do with my family pumkin picking sledding ice skating pools beaches theme parks we do par take in but how the heck can you keep up with no rest and exhaustion how would you expect to do those things. Lazy family days are good my book and certainly necessary.
    Sincerely
    Momma still in her pjs at 2pm on a sunday

  • ColacX

    Im the youngest son of a lazy family. Trust me your kids will grow up resenting your family because it sucks. But on the other hand you seem to at least be able to talk with your family so thats different from my parents. But I have to agree with the part about memories. The only memories your kids will have left of their parents is when you die, bad memories… So make some good memories, it doesnt have to be expensive (though it helps). Start easy, start slow.

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t think that the way your raise your kids is bad at all. I don’t have kids, but recapping on my childhood, I would say that some of my best memories were when I went outside and played in the neighborhood. I’m not sure why this “friend” would be so rude to say that to you, but I doubt that her saying that has anything to do with you. People are naturally narcissistic and care mainly about their own lives, so if she is constantly commenting on your life, she must be comparing it to hers and feel threatened. If she truly felt like her life was better than yours, she wouldn’t say anything. She is probably trying really hard to create the perfect family with all these “memories” that she is creating and upset that you could have a happy family without all that hard work. Her life probably isn’t as perfect as it all seems.

  • My husband and I work full time, non-stop through the week. I teach 2nd grade and tutor afterschool, and my husband is a network admin at a small college. We are tired on the weekends! At least one day a week is our “lazy days” where my husband, daughter and I stay in our PJ’s until at least noon just hanging out and relaxing. Our daughter has ADHD and just doesn’t do well with constant go go go — she needs her down time! I feel sometimes like I am being lazy too but I think all the running around from here to there is over-rated. It’s more important to me that we enjoy some actual time together on the weekends instead of our crazy weekday routine of go to school/work, get home, do homework, eat dinner, shower, go to bed. We recently built a back porch onto our house and we have been enjoying hanging out in the yard and using that! It’s excitement enough for me 🙂

  • JJH

    Me and my fiancé have 5 kids (combined. We both work full time, and Saturdays are for errands like grocery shopping. Our kids HATE it when we have to leave home on the weekend. They just want to stay home and play. They are in school all week, and on weekends they just want to stay home.
    We camp a lot in summer and fall. That’s enough activity. They do a bit of sports, they have their friends over, we go swimming. That’s plenty of opportunity to make memories. I just can’t bring myself to sign my kids up for all kinds of activities, because(quite selfish of me)I just could not sanely handle being in my car hauling kids around after I’ve worked all day. I think healthy meals around the table as a family is a more important daily feature than sports and activities and being on the run continuously. What good am I as a mother if I am stretched to thin and trust me, I get super bitchy when I am stressed.

  • I love lazy days at home. We do some fun outings, but they are widely spaced out. I don’t feel like I need to entertain my kids constantly or pay a lot of money for what we do all the time. That would exhaust all of us and make us broke!

  • elspeth

    I only have 2 things to add to what others have posted:

    1. Let the kids drive their activities. If they bug the shit out of you to do something, there’s the indicator of what “memories” they want to create.

    2. Kids don’t remember the money spent on them during childhood. They remember the time spent on them during childhood.

    I’m betting your kids are just fine.

  • The “entertainment extravaganza” imo is not healthy. Kids learn how to entertain themselves, relax, be together as a family, USE THEIR CREATIVITY, etc when their time is not hyper-scheduled. I love love love that my kids can entertain themselves and do fun stuff I never would have thought of when they are left “to their own devices” (and also not sucked into electronics).

    I have 5 kids too. And not only does the money thing dictate activities, but also the age spread. (2-9). I have found we can take normal things and make them fun. I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up pizza and we take it to the park. Go to different parks. Take a “nature walk” at a more rustic park (state park types). But you can also have special times at home. My kids are dying to do a science experiment day (bring it on, Pinterest). Picnics for supper in the living room. Often times the most memorable things come out of times when you have the least money. Because you get creative and intentional about being with your family.

    If this chic’s comment moves you to be more intentional about making “family time” more special, then great. But don’t get mommy guilt for it. You’re doing a fine job without the peanut gallery.

  • You ARE making memories with your kids. Memories that your family enjoys. Memories of spending TIME instead of MONEY together. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  • L3

    No. Your kids are learning to entertain themselves without spending tons of money. Do some fun things, movies at home (who can afford to take a family of 6 to the theater), and enjoy the calm lifestyle. Frantic mothers that stage family activities so she has something to blog about make me nuts. I had 4 kids who are now 27 -36 with their own families. No one has been on a talk show this week, so I think I was a good mom.

  • People seriously ought to mind their own business! really. it is not about going tons of places. I think it is much more important to spend quality time together, if you ask me. and that can be done just as easily in your living room as it is at an amusement park. probably easier, if you think about it. weekends are about relaxing, to me. I don’t need to be stressed out needing to go out and make sure I do a hundred things with my son. you know, he spends some weekend days all day in front of the video games. and he loves it. and I find it relaxing. plus, like you I don’t have a million dollars to do everything he wants to do. so we pick our activities carefully. don’t worry that you are not going out enough. you are a great parent. don’t listen to that “friend”

  • You are making memories for your kids. You don’t have to go a new place every weekend for your kids to be happy or have memories. They will remember watching a race with you, or playing games on the weekend. My kids are 2 and 5 months so we don’t go a lot of places on the weekend. Heck, weekends are for grocery shopping which my 2 year old loves. Even when my kids are older, I don’t plan on making sure every weekend is spent running around the country seeing new things. I don’t think you are lazy parents at all.

  • I do not think so. From my perspective (granted I only have one kid) we do SOOO much during the week- something every night. Husband works 6am-5pm and I work 9am-5pm after elementary school drop off. Monday night is date night which has slowly turned into sh!t lets go to Lowes bc our 50 y/o house hates us. Tuesday is Girl Scouts (Im a leader). Wednesday is horseback riding (kid and dad, I either work late or gym). Thursday is riding lesson. Friday my husband works late (did I mention he has 3 jobs? which he sometimes does 2 in a day). So when all the craziness does not spill into the weekends (Im out of town 3 weekends in May alone), we happily sit at home in our pjs and enjoy the peace because we know come Monday morning (at 5am) its going to start all over again. If your abnormal, I dont want to know what I am.

  • Anonymous

    We do intentionally make weekend days family fun and I’m delighted my daughter lookds forward to weekends with us. However, we completely eschew the organized activities that cost money. A picnic, s’mores around the backyard firepit, attending a free concert in the park, and numerous other things that are low-key and free yet avoid the couch, the tv, and video games make our Sundays Fundays (as the 6-year-old refers to them).

  • Nancy

    No, you don’t have a lazy family. You have a healthy one. Here’s the proof.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200303/are-we-pushing-our-kids-too-hard

  • Yeah, we are homebodies too. I look around at my kids’ friends who go do things all.the.time and I’m glad we don’t do that! Those kids expect it, and since they do going out isn’t special anymore. I feel like those other families always have to “top” what they did last night, or the week before. Where does it end? Spending time at home is what I WANT my kids to want to do. Then when we do go out they appreciate it more.

  • Wolfette

    Hi delilah you can definitively throat punch this “friend” we love too being at home making what we want we are “geek type” parent and are not ashamed about that… I can cook clean and help my daughter when she is struck in video games ha and a lot of other stuff … Like you hearing or reading family putting a lot of activities in one week end make my head spin… My husband work hard every “working day” so I think it is totally normal for him to rest… Please don’t let well meaning persons walk on your feet your kids have loving parents who care about them / food/ clothes a house /toys : that’s all they need … So be proud of you delilah you are raising kids who will be strong independent adults !!

  • Make that: “Is NOT dependant upon how much money…..”

  • I’ve thought about this myself, but I came to the realization that making memories with your kids is dependant on how much money you spend or where you are. I have some pretty great memories of my childhood, and my parents never had money. It was very rare that we ever went out to eat or to a movie, and I think I’ve been to the circus once in my entire 40+ years. Oh, and I have NEVER been to Disney World. **GASP**

    My memories are of spending time with family – fried bologna sandwiches with my Papaw, picking strawberries with my great grandma, picking and shucking corn from my great grandma’s garden, watching my great grandpa work with his bee hives, backyard softball games, swimming in the river, playing in the sprinkler, being pulled on the sled behind my dad’s jeep, riding horses, camping, hiking, etc. Shoot! I had a mini-bike (a tiny motorcycle for those who may not know), and I rode up and down our street one ba-zillion times, or we’d tie the big wagon behind the lawn tractor and I’d take the younger kids riding around the yard. Of course, our “yard” was a little more than an acre. Anyway, I can go on and on. I know it seems like I already have, but there’s so much more, and that’s my point!

    Don’t let a nasty busy-body make you second guess yourself.

  • NO!! and by that I mean do not allow this “friend” to upheavel your life. like erin said it’s not an all the time entertainment extravaganza (by the way I’m so swiping that because its perfect), and life isn’t supposed to be. if we do that and we teach them that they will be forever restless if things are going. and that’s not good for them as children and adults. plus i find my lil guy appreciates the ‘special’times a whole helluva lot more when its not constant. i completely understand your anxiety/depression because i still battle it going on almost 8 yrs. we do pick one special thing per month (remember we only have one when we have more i’m sure it be more stretched out due to funds) to do. for example one month we did the rodeo with the help of cheapo tix from the boy scouts, this month thank goodness for scout fair because funds are low. i think it’s the quality of time spent togather. i still recap our weekends even if we do ‘nothing’ (from outside perspective) because i like to think about all the time/stuff we did togather. most of the time our happiest time is when we’re at home with daddy&lil man shooting arrows/bows while i’m on the porch chiling watching them.like channie said one blog i read said memories are made all the time,it doesnt matter where or what just that they are. the restlessness hmm, girl its…i dont know. i’ve trained myself to sit still during those times. or pick a completely new project that needs to be done to quiet my hands ya know? i used to do the same thing and then decide ‘oh crap, i really didnt wanna do that i was just more restless. it’s so freaking hard, just remember your memory making will be different than others memory making.

  • I don’t have kids, but I was one once. 😉 We did do some fun things, but it was not an all the time entertainment extravaganza. My mom cleaned house on Saturdays and I helped…or was supposed to. If the weather was nice, I played outside. We went to church on Sundays and had quiet Sunday afternoons. I’m an only child, but I don’t remember being bored or feeling like I was missing something. I had a very happy childhood.

  • I had the same internal dilemma myself a few months ago. We have 5 kids (foster and adopted) and we both work full time so basic things like making sure the kids are feed and bathed frequently can be exhausting. I was feeling like a failure and took some time to reflect and had a Zen moment. I want my kids to look back and feel that they had a happy childhood. Having financially and emotionally drained parents doesn’t really help that. What brings happiness is cuddle times, family dinners, inside jokes and having a parent who is present physically and emotionally. The kids won’t remember if those times happened in a park or on a couch, they will just know they happened.