I am not an entertainer when it comes to my munchkins. I'll have a catch, play a few games and read books. But most of the day, I'm more of a "find something to do that doesn't involve video games, television or me" mom.
This is serious truth-telling.
There have been times I've sent my kids on playdates, and the mother has organized activities planned. Stuff like crafts and games. The playdate is supervised and "run" by the mom. One mother I knew in New York used to rotate playdates for her kids; they took turns. She put so much work into a playdate that she could only have so many every month.
If I called and it wasn't her child's "turn" for a friend, there was serious thinking involved.
While I'm not knocking this mom, because she was super awesome, that is just SO MUCH WORK. My style is more laid back, more "let me know when you need me I'll be in the laundry dungeon" kind of thing.
I spring to action for the 3 "S's": Snacks, Screams and Squabbles.
My way of parental involvement is geared toward life skills, such as involving my kids in folding and bathroom cleaning. We pull weeds and load drinks into the fridge.
I consider myself the "site manager."
I have a very goal oriented mind. And if I need to get things done, I need to get things done. If my kids need something to do, they are more than welcome to jump in. The water is always warm. Hence, the most dangerous two words in my house are "I'm Bored." They will win you reading time, chores or a position as my assistant for whatever it is I'm currently doing.
I do feel the need to stipulate that I do treat my kids to parks and movies and the mall. We go swimming and go for walks. I'll help them make obstacle courses and teach them games I used to play. They are not ignored and they are disciplined quite frequently.
Most importantly, we talk.
But playdates? And downtime at home? You're on your own. Call me when someone is screaming, squabbling or in need of a snack. With four kids in the house, there is always someone to play with when you need a friend.
If you want a friend over, even better. No daily prep or organization required. In my house, it's called GO PLAY. I'll supervise, I'll listen and I'll watch. But entertainment is not my thing.
Just remember this house is not a free-for-all. Good behavior is expected, and trust me, I know when you're not behaving. And if I don't know, I will find out from one of the other munchkins in the house.
I'm wondering, what's your parenting style?