Does This Bragging Make Me Look Preposterous?


via Pinterest

With the rise in social media, it's so easy to put whatever it is that you want out there. There are many positives to this, such as spreading the word on great charities, re-posting helpful marriage advice articles and of course, the meme's.

It's great for sharing our day to day life, documenting the first lawn mow of the year or the amazing meal we just made from Pinterest. It's a good tool to keep grandparents up on the doings on their grandchildren and also to tag your husband in whenever you come across a DIY project that needs to happen, like STAT. It's fun to share photos of friends that we haven't seen in forever and to document exciting events like concerts and weddings. Social media, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing. It's when people use it for inadequate purposes that gives it that negative aura. 

Take for instance, bragging. Also known as: showing off, boasting, gloating, crowing, showboating. 

Also known as: no one cares.

Yeah, I see your new Mercedes on Facebook. I'll raise you one paid off ten-year-old SUV that still looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. What's that? You bought the whole line of Armani over the weekend? That's nice, I hope it all stays in style. Just the other day, I got a new purse also...the cutest canvas style tote that holds all my stuff and is totally my vibe. Forty eight bucks. I got it at a store that also sells couches, which may seem weird to you, but I kinda like that off-shoot stuff. Not everyone has it, you know? 

And yes, I did see your pricey designer shoes. How could I possibly miss them!? Sillygoose, you only posted a photo of yourself wearing them — sole side out! — 39 and a half times. And tagged the designer on every social media platform. And mentioned them in your theatrical detailed caption. We get it. You have feet that need to be covered. We now also get that you are a gasbag braggart. 

Profound bragging is just so obscene and gross to me. Especially when there are so many people in need, so many people in the world who don't even know what they will do for their next meal. So much struggle and pain and poverty that some people (definitely not you!) have to endure and deal with every day. And yet, there you go boasting about how much money your hideous designer chandelier cost. I can't tell you the animosity I feel when I scroll through my social media feed and see a post about St. Jude's hospital, and the very next one is from some chick showing me her new Tiffany's jewelry purchase. Bragging isn't cool. It's narrow-minded and unoriginal. And it's just in such poor taste.

It's funny. Those who have worked from the bottom up are usually never flamboyant with their wealth. Some of the richest people I know wouldn't dream of instagramming their car emblem. Some of the even richer people I know are so low-key about it, you'd never guess they were loaded. What's more, they are some of the most fun, interesting and real people I know.

I'm not saying people shouldn't enjoy their wealth, not at all. That is part of The American Dream — making a good living, working hard, enjoying nice things. And shoot, I wouldn't turn down a hundie if offered to me. We all love to be able to take a nice vacation every once in a while, and splurging isn't a sin. I love a quality pair of leather boots just like the next person, but I spend the money on them because of the comfort and sustainability, not so I can showboat and toot my horn. (And can someone please tell me why Uggs are so looked down upon? I constantly get made fun of for my Ugg love — mainly from my nonjudgmental family — but I am Uggs-and-Bikinis all the way, ride or die.)

It's fine to own luxury handbags, and it's fine to be photographed with your expensive purse if you happen to be carrying it the second someone asks to snap a pic. But if you're showing me the coffee you just ordered, there's really no need to "discreetly" place that overpriced LV conspicuously in the same frame. Why not just show me your coffee? Which, if we're being honest, what you are really going for here is pretending to show me your coffee and maybe the manicure you got today but bam! diamond ring, front and center. 

Motives. Everyone sees right through 'em.

Boasting about your weekly maid that comes and cleans your house is just so, so very uninteresting. Literally. It's about as interesting to me as all the in-utero fruit-sized babies that grace my Facebook feed. Show me how you work your ass off, volunteer at your child's school, make a house a home and know how to mow a lawn. Now I'm impressed.

It's exhausting playing the game of keep up and show and tell. I was at a dinner once where someone mentioned a vacation they had just gotten back from. Someone else at the table piped in with a lavish vacation that they had just taken last month. And I kid you not, then someone entirely else told us of how he is going on a vacation for three weeks "just because he can." It went back and forth and forth and back with these three people and then a few more joined in and everyone was trying to state their case that their vacation spot was the most extravagant and otherworldly and the one-upping that was going on just about did me in for humanity.

One-upping. Also known as: no one cares.

I mentioned that my family likes to go camping during the summer and you should have seen the looks of pity thrown my way. (I would like to also mention that I don't attend those kind of dinners anymore. I prefer to eat my food sans the salty taste of over-inflated pride, thank you.)

It's like the time Rob and I went to Vegas one year and stayed in one of the nicest hotels on the strip (see here). It was a blast, we felt like high fliers and we had the time of our lives. Things change however, and the next time we were able to make it to Vegas, we ended up staying in probably one of the cheapest most beat down hotels on the strip (see here). It was still a blast, we still felt like high fliers and we still had the time of our lives. Because it didn't matter to us where we stayed, how much our room was, or how many stars our hotel was rated. We had a real good time with real good people and the same real hot sun shined upon us all

Keeping up with the Joneses? Ppsssshh. More like schlepping it with the Smiths. It's so much more fun, believe you me.

Look. Having nice things obviously doesn't make someone a bad person. But if those things define you, then I'd say you've got a problem. If you feel the need to show off and grandstand with all your stuffs...well then, you have fun with that.

I'll just be over here in my camping chair. With true friends, a warm bonfire and worn-out Uggs.

You know, in the real lap of luxury. *wink

The Case Against Bras


via Pinterest

I wrote earlier this week regarding The Case Against Homework and The Case Against Electronics that I figured I should also write about the case against something just as — and maybe even more so — crucial: for the love of all things, can we just get rid of these metal contraption boob crushers!?

I'm talking about The Case Against Bras.

I don't know why I'm so passionate about the subject but dammit, I am. (Probably because I have boobs and don't like being told how to harness them. Let's run with that.)

Look, I'm all for women making their own decisions. If it makes you happy to wear a bra with hardware sewn in then by all means, rock on. I'm not here to tell women what to do or wear, I'm here to announce that I won't be letting anyone else tell me what to do or wear!

Specifically, the bra. Also know as chest chokers, mammary muzzles, over-the-shoulder boulder holders and a plethora of other stupid names probably created by men. (Full disclosure: I love men. I'm also not here to downgrade their worth. But just as all men and women are not created equal, neither are all men, which we will get into in a moment.)

Real talk. Bras are uncomfy as they come. 

Not only are they annoying and ill-fitting, but they have the potential for some serious chafing. There is a reason why the various meme's of "the best feeling in the world is taking off your bra at the end of the day" are so popular and get re-posted over and over again: it's because it really is the best feeling in the world! The feeling of taking off one's bra at the end of the day evokes such a strong reaction in us women that it has become a major daily triumph. Something we look forward to and desperately yearn for. But why should we have to go through pain just to get to such pleasure? I understand the sentiment "pain before pleasure" when it comes to sports dedication or intense schooling or birthing a baby for crying out loud: some things we must simply endure in order to come out the other side of bliss, but our boobies? Our soft, sensitive, precious boobies? 

Pain and boobs should not a partnership make.

And marketing companies aren't stupid, they know how to hook women into buying multiples of these torture devices by compartmentalizing their "many uses." You can't just have a regular bra, you also need a "t-shirt" bra and a "strapless" bra and a "halter" bra and a "racerback" bra and a "multi-use" bra and a "sexy time" bra - nursing, padded, plunge, push-up, adhesive and stick-on bras, oh my!

Our pain = their gain.

Not to mention, there have been many, many articles written on how bras can actually hinder our health! If that's not reason enough to go braless, I don't know what is. And back to the vanity aspect of wanting to look our best, science has proven that not wearing a bra actually helps our boobs not to sag. According to a study, scientists have found that not wearing a bra actually protects your breasts from gravity. This is because it forces women to have better posture and it also forces the body to develop the muscles that lie underneath the breasts, which aid breast support and lift. (Also see: 9 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing A Bra.)

I say it's time we take our boobs back into our own hands! (Literally, don't forget to self-check our breasts on the regular ladies!) They belong to us and we should treat them with respect. 

Speaking of respect...

Now that we've covered banning bras in the name of comfort and health, what then do we do about the social stigma of it all? Even after all my convincing, I doubt most women are going to walk into a job interview sans bra. (Unless the job interviewer is a man, then let's be honest, you will probably get the job. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a win-win.) The headlines are always the same: "Braless Jennifer Anniston out on the town!" "Chrissy Teigen At Dinner Without A Bra!" "Judge Judy Presided In Court Today With Exposed Nipples!" I mean, how is this even actual news?! People still, in this day and age, get hot and bothered by seeing a woman breastfeed! 

But it is. It's news because still, people are afraid of the breast. People are offended by seeing the mere outline of one of our most natural body parts. People are apprehensive and can be downright defensive about the notion of going braless. 

And by people, I'm mostly referring to insecure women.

Sorry. I didn't want to go there, I really didn't, but I can't gloss over the fact that it's mostly women who have such a problem with the anti-bra movement. Men sure don't give a crap (clearly) and there can't possibly be any other plausible reason besides insecurity when it comes to other women giving any consideration to the state of my unrestricted boobs. 

So what if it makes you uncomfortable that your man is staring at my boobs! You know what makes me uncomfortable? Your man staring at my boobs!!


And I get it, men are visual creatures, they just are. I'm not trying to take away their God-given right to ogle pretty little things, but do some of ya'll gotta rubberneck it so hard? And just in case no one has told you yet, you won't stand a chance with that exposed bosom you covet so badly when you gawk like a muttonhead. (Here is where we circle back to "not all men are equal." I know not all of you guys are crude, lewd, eyeball challenged people — most of the men I know are respectful and sure, may take a quick peek but they definitely don't let their eyes linger there like they've never come in contact with one before. Grow up and act like you've seen a pair before, it's attractive.)  

I promise you that I'm not going braless to lure your man in. I'm sure most other women aren't either. Sure, there are some hookers out there with the sole intention of dressing in a way to nab themselves a treat, whether taken or not, but those animals are in a whole different category of debris. Most women, most decent women who choose to go braless are doing so purely because honey, it just feels good

Look. I'm not at all advocating for the total baring of boobs. I'm all for being classy and modest (except when I'm not) and protecting our self-worth by respecting our bodies. I certainly don't think self-proclaimed flaming feminists who shove their bare boobs in our faces and who use them as a juggling act in public is empowering to women whatsoever. It's not. Behaving in that manner is vulgar and tasteless and does absolutely nothing to legitimize the imperative value of women.

What I am advocating for is simple comfort when it comes to our boobs. That and lowering the stigma of going braless. That's all. Comfort looks different for every women, and if it makes you uncomfortable going without, they make some super cute soft bralettes that don't contain any materials that would set off a metal detector. 

And as I said earlier, if wearing a wire in your bra is the most comfortable for you, no judgement here.

I'm just asking that you do the same. 

The Case Against Electronics For Kids


But I really, really want one.
Don't care.

But all my friends have one.
Don't care.

But I neeeeeeeed one.
Don't care.

You're the meanest mom ever.
Thank you, I try. *wink

And there you have it.

See, I despise overconsumption. It can be in many forms, but for today, I'm talking about the overconsumption of electronics for children. Screen time is such a passionate issue with me and it is something I refuse to give into. I really don't care what everyone else says, I really don't care what everyone else is doing and I really don't care if my kids hate me because I won't buy them a game console. 

I mean, there literally isn't even just one care anywhere in there for me to give. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty that my boys have never opened an Xbox on Christmas morning. It doesn't keep me up at night racked with remorse that my kids don't have their own TV in their bedrooms. And it sure as hell doesn't give me conflict over whether or not to buy my boys an iPhone. 

The day my kids have an iPhone is the day they can buy one themselves. 

To be honest, I sometimes feel the need to stretch so far to the other side that I've fantasized about taking my family and moving us all to some remote island with not a single plug-in to be found. No shoes, no shirt, no shitty plastic newest edition handheld.

Alas, we don't live in the middle of Tanzania so I try and reign it in as best I can. As much as I believe that for the most part, kids should be using their time exploring, creating and building, I understand a little give and take is par for the course.

My kids each have an iPad. Not an Apple iPad (too expensive and unnecessary for their age), but one I got from Amazon that was designed strictly for children. I have to approve and download any app they want, and they don't even have the option of buying things online. (Don't even get me started on spending real money on virtual stuff — I just cannot comprehend such silliness.)

With those iPads come strict rules. They only get to play them on weekends - non negotiable - and their time is limited. I google every new game they want to download and check parent reviews. My children also aren't allowed to play a lot of the popular "kid" games out there. (Seriously, do some research. The popular game Roblox that every child loves? So many parent reviews say as much as the moderators try to keep it PC, it's super easy to breach the restrictions and many parents have witnessed pornographic subject matter while their kids were playing. It isn't uncommon. Further, I thought "youtube kids" was an app designated towards, well, kids. That is until I was standing over them watching a video and I heard, "I'm gonna kick your ass!" Delete.)

Also, the second they get upset while playing their iPads - whether it be because a game isn't working properly or their brother made their character die in Minecraft - is the second I walk up to them and take them away. I refuse, absolutely refuse! to let electronics be a source of dissension in their lives. If it is making them unhappy or grouchy, it's gone. And I always explain to them my reasoning - I tell them iPads should be fun, and since they get to play for such limited time, if it makes them upset or agitated, it is working in a negative way and isn't benefiting their precious minds and souls. 

TV time is limited also. Again, they aren't allowed to watch television during the school week. It simply just doesn't come on when they walk through the door after school. The content of what they watch is again approved by me. I know one day I will have zero control over what they do/see/experience so I'm using the time I do have to hopefully lay a solid foundation. 

I've even gone long periods of time with no TV and iPad at all! I just ban it completely. Sometimes they make me so angry that I go into my "that's it we are living like they did in the stone age" mentality and then that's exactly what we do. I remember thinking their questions of "but why can't we play iPad? Why can't we watch TV" would never end but amazingly, after a week or two, they do! It's a learned behavior to get addicted to that stuff and it takes a new learned behavior to become un-addicted. 

I would also like to point out that when my kids are home from school, I am never watching TV myself during their waking hours. I never sit down on the couch and turn on a TV program for myself to watch until they are off to bed lights out. Do as mommy says and does, isn't that right? 

Mommy could definitely get her own face out of her iPhone more often... *hangs head in shame

What do we do to fill our time? We read, we paint art projects, we build Lego cities, get pulled behind the 4-wheeler when it snows and when it's warm outside, we basically live and breath the outdoors. I didn't buy myself my own Razer scooter for nothing. I'm getting the motorized one this year, you know it.

We spend money on outdoor things: bikes and trikes and trampolines and tree swings and obstacle courses. Even in the summer, the screen time rule still applies. Out. The. Door. Don't whine. 

Look, I get the whole 'different strokes for different folks thing'. Some families may have no problem with having an Xbox in the house - a few of my good friends have game consoles for their kids and it seems to work out just fine for them. I know my kids, and I know that even if I gave them limited play time, it would be a constant source of discord. They would want "just 5 more minutes" and "but why can't we play it now" and I just choose not to even welcome that battle in the front door.

Gotta go though. Tarzan is naked out on the trampoline and the neighbors are starting to come home from work. We aren't completely uncivilized over here.

(as I google property for sale in Tanzania...) 

If you want more anti-screen time proof, you can read this or this or this or this
All very informative and from people who have actual professional stats to back it up!

A Day With A Woman


via pinterest

I woke up before my kids this morning. Usually they are the ones up way before me, as I enjoy my sleep and not so much the freakish early hours loved by the littles, but today I wanted to get up before them and have a little quiet time to myself.

I poured myself some coffee, curled up on the couch in a big fluffy blanket with the dog at my feet and thought about how amazing it is to be a woman. I get to have this life, the one I chose, the one I always knew I wanted. No one ever said I couldn't have it (or if they did, I just didn't listen) and sure, there were obstacles along the way but nevertheless, I persisted. And yes, maybe I used a bit of my womanly charm along the way but what fun would it be to never cash those in? ;)

Being a woman is pretty awesome. I love the femininity that comes with being a woman - our curves, our tenderness, our compassion, and when we want to be, I love the badassery that only the most bona fide of us can accomplish. We hold so much power, us women, and it's not a responsibility I take lightly. I would hate it if I used my power in a way which made a fool of me - of us - as I never want to be a part of regressing our gravity and value to the world. We are so important, so very important and paramount in this existence and we must handle ourselves in a way that always proves our worth, not destroys it. I'm choosing to lead with positivity and love, what about you?

Being a woman is pretty awesome. As a woman, I get to have a husband. Someone who stands by me every day and protects and provides. Sure, I could protect and provide for myself, and I do, but no one does it better than my man. He's strong, he's steady, and who wouldn't want a God-fearing man whose life mission it is to honor and love them unconditionally? He bears my burdens and holds constant as my rock. He respects and upholds my femininity - because I myself respect and uphold it first - and he appreciates me for what I bring to the table. If this idea doesn't thrill you, then maybe you haven't found the right guy yet. Because speaking from experience, husbands are pretty cool dudes. 

Being a woman is pretty awesome. I get to be a wife! I get to be someone's world and their comfort. He knows my little quirks and yet he chooses to love me anyway, every day. We share life responsibilities together and I know I will always have someone to go though life with. I get to greet him at the door with a smile on my face; not because I'm oppressed and "it's my job" to do so, but because I love being one of the reasons he rushes to get home. I'm needed and I'm wanted. I enjoy taking care of my man because I know the benefits of doing so. It's incredible how the sweeter and softer I am to my husband, the harder he works to move mountains for myself and our family. He will never give up on us, and I will never give up on him.

Being a woman is pretty awesome. I get to take care of and nurture two little souls. My day isn't just solely about me anymore - thank God - and being able to love and hold dear these children of mine is a privilege I will never take for granted. No one can do it as good as I can, and for now, their well being is in my hands. Goodnight kisses, tight squeezes from little arms, fleeting glimpses of the men they will one day become, laying next to them and watching them sleep and being so overcome with emotions that you didn't possibly know a love like this could exist. It's a short, crazy ride, and I know I will miss it immensely when it's over, so for now, I will put every ounce of my being a woman into being the best mother I can be.

Speaking of those children, I think I hear little footsteps coming down the stairs...

Breakfast was busy, as usual, but I spent a little more time today making their pancakes extra special — arranging the blueberries into a smile, a strawberry nose and chocolate chip eyes, extra syrup. I tried to keep my composure when I had to ask them for the seventh time to put on their jackets, after all, they have kept theirs with me more times than I can count. I packed their lunches, kissed them both on each cheek and then sent them out the door towards the bus to take on the school day.

I then did a few more loads of laundry, vacuumed the upstairs for our guests coming this weekend, cleaned up the remnants of the kitchen and finally sat down at my computer ready to finish the articles I have been hired to write for the local paper. That's another great thing about being a woman; I can make the choice to stay at home and help with the income. I can make any choice I want, really.

At lunchtime, I'll take a break and pull out some ribeye from the freezer, dice up a few yukon gold potatoes in preparation and crush some fresh rosemary since I know it's my husbands favorite meal. I'll also pull out my favorite aqua vase as chances are pretty good he will be bringing home some of my favorite pink flowers. 

When it gets closer to the kids returning home from school, I'll get a snack ready for them because I know how hungry they usually are when they walk in the door. I'll kiss them both like I haven't seen them in months, but seriously, I really did miss them while they were away! They are the little pieces of me and an exact portrait of what the inside of my heart looks like.

I might take a look and see what the weather is like at the beach, as my husband surprised me with plans to take the family there in the fall. I know he knows how hard I work and this is one way he shows he appreciates me. 

After the long day is done, I'll sit back down on the couch with my fluffy blanket, dog at my feet and reflect for a minute on how amazing it is to be a woman. I get to have this life, the one I chose, the one I always knew I wanted. No one ever said I couldn't have it (or if they did, I just didn't listen) and sure, there were obstacles along the way but nevertheless, I persisted. And yes, maybe I used a bit of my womanly charm along the way but what fun would it be to never cash those in? ;)


It's pretty damn empowering being a woman.

The Case Against Homework


Getting creative, a top priority in our household

Let me just start by saying that most teachers are amazing. What you guys do is of the upmost importance in the mini society of children. It takes a special person to become a teacher - especially of the little ones - and how you do it I will never know. You are in charge of teaching my child the schooling he will need to know in order to succeed in life. Without you, he's doomed. (Because God knows I'm not going to do it. We all are given special gifts in life, and teaching a room full of kids with similar versions of my own child's amplified persona is most definitely not a special gift of mine. No it is not.)

But this post isn't about teachers (and for the record, my kids have had absolutely wonderful teachers so far in their schooling career). Rather, it's about homework, and my utter disdain for the massive amount of homework kids these days bring home. I recognize that some homework is beneficial and even crucial for older children (teens and high schoolers), but for the little guys who attend primary school, I am completely against it.

Let me explain. 

First, I would like to disclose that my two boys get zero screen time during the school week. I understand the absurdity of proclaiming to be against homework if I allow my kids to subsequently play on their iPads or watch TV. As much as I oppose homework for elementary aged children, I oppose screen time even more. (Come back tomorrow for "The Case Against Electronics" blog post.)

Monday through Friday, my kids get home at 3:30 p.m., after spending approx. 7 hours at school.

I don't know about you, but my two young boys have an intense amount of energy. So when they come home after a long school day, the last thing they want (and need) to do is sit back down and do more school work. 

My kids sit in a chair in a classroom for the majority of the school day. They are sitting at a desk, hard at work (fingers crossed) and learning from their teachers. Yes, they get recess (not enough, in my opinion) and they get gym class once a week. Woop!

Can I take a second and ask where the heck the arts went? Math and History are two very important subjects, everyone needs to know math basics and historical facts about our world. It helps shape us and gives us knowledge and perspective. But why, I ask, can't the arts be just as important? To me, and to many others, they are, but look at most public schools and the arts always take a back seat. They have been replaced by things more "important" and I get it, there is nothing I can do to change this sad fact, it is what it is. 

But the very last thing I am going to do is follow suite and act as if the arts aren't important in my own home. My oldest son Gunner is the definition of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Just ain't gonna happen. He beats to his own drum and gets reprimanded for "humming" too often in class. And again, I get it! I do! Him humming in the classroom can disrupt the other children from learning and he needs to learn how to follow the rules in certain settings. Schools need order and structure to work properly. Originality is cool, yes, but so is discipline. (And just for the record, he never gets in trouble at home when he gets bad marks for "humming." I just tell him to "try and keep it at home buddy" while secretly smiling to my rebel self.)

However, in my house? After being corralled and expected to fit a certain mold during the day? Hum away child! Hum wildly and loudly (outside please, you hurt my ears) and sing and dance and run and jump and for all that is holy, be a child!

By the looks of things, his interests and passions aren't going to lead him into a career of biochemistry. If they do, great! But wouldn't it be just as great if he turned out to be the next great artist or multimedia animator? You should see the kid draw...his talent is amazing, and he creates some of the most innovative lego structures strictly from using his imagination as a road map, that you would think there is no way he didn't use instructions to build them. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he says, "a dad and a racecar driver!" Very respectable life choices in my opinion and school isn't going to teach him how to do either of those!

So he doesn't particularly enjoy school - too bad - we all have to get through it. And regardless of how I feel about the arts being basically banished, I unequivicoly stress to him the importance of always trying our best, of putting in the effort whether or not it's what we want to do. Life isn't a constant party and we all have to do things we would rather not. Work hard, play hard. Life mantra.

My kids have a bedtime of 7:30 p.m. This gives us 4 hours after school to be together as a family. 

Now let me tell you what is very, very important to us during those 4 after school hours:

Play. I've always stressed, and I always will, the importance of play time. More specifically, outdoor play time. After sitting in a structured environment all day, kids need to get out in nature and just be. My kids are required to play outside for a minimum of an hour when they get home from school. It's more in the summer (much more - we're talking they are outside the majority of the day) but during the week, it's an hour. Which seems pretty insufficient when they have been sitting down for hours and hours on end. It's almost laughable - the amount of physical activity our kids get these days. Nonetheless, an hour is required. 

But see here's the thing: if they are having a blast and want to stay out even later than an hour? My precious child, have at it. Go. Run. Explore. Play. Use that amazing imagination. You are young and little and full of energy that needs to be released. I will never take play time away from you when you are soaring through literal fields of wonder. Your homework can wait. 

And when the weather warms up, they are going to have their own little garden to tend to, to take care of and to grow. It's something we are going to do together, as I want them to learn the importance of growing their own food. 

Dinnertime. A long lost tradition where a warm home-cooked meal is the norm. It's important for me that my family sits down and has dinner together. I want my boys to see me enjoying the process of preparing dinner for my family. I want them to help me bring in food from the garden, and I don't want to feel rushed and have them think that ordering in pizza three times a week is what dinner is supposed to look like. It takes time and effort to prepare a healthy balanced meal, and I don't want to be throwing in TV dinners at the last exhausted minute so my family can be fed. (And for the record, my husband cooks just as much as me, if not more. Boys can do it too! Also for the record - before my family calls me out - no, my children do not always eat what we eat, but my point about the value of family dinnertime remains the same.)

Books. I read to my boys every single night before bed. It's something I have always done and it is something I will never sacrifice. It is precious time that we spend together, and reading books is something that I think is extremely important. I never want to dread going upstairs because we ran out of time and now I have to rush through our reading time. I want to be able to say "yes" when they ask for "just one more, please?" and do it with a willing heart. 

Time with their father. I may get 4 hours with my kids after school, but my husband, their dad, only gets 2. Like most men, he works a full day and is up and gone before they leave for school. So that leaves him, their dad, only 2 hours a day for the majority of the week to spend time with his sons. My boys need time with their dad. My boys deserve time with their dad. So when they are using up that last hour before bedtime playing tag with their dad running wildly around the house, who am I to stop it? I might even let them stay up a little later for just "one more game." Dad time trumps after school math equations any day.

Someone once suggested to me to just let the kids stay up later, then they will have time to get their homework done and still have the family play time I value so highly.

Except, I know the importance of adequate sleep for my children. I know that if I keep them up later, they will wake up groggy and irritable and will do poorly in their classroom. I know their teachers have crowded classrooms and don't need more kids coming in over-tired and exasperated. I know their brain function isn't at top capacity when they don't get the proper amount of sleep that they need. Sleep is brain food, and I refuse to starve my children of those much needed supplements.

And also? My husband and I need down time together, just the two of us. It helps keep our marriage in tact and having a healthy marriage helps kids tremendously. 

The Case Against Homework is a trickle down affect.

So you see? Four hours, that is how much time I have with my kids after their school day. Teachers have their time to teach them essential schooling, and I have my time to help them be respectful teachable children. The teaching of morals and values should fall on the parents, as it is one of our most meaningful and paramount jobs.

I also don't shun homework the second they walk in through the door, either. It isn't like, "ok kids! Fling your backpacks out the window, now it's time to have some REAL fun!" It's not like we NEVER do homework, but I will admit it does take a backseat most days. 

If they have one page of math homework to do, we usually try and get that done. They also have a spelling test every Friday, and I know they get a sense of pride when they do well on it, so we have a time set aside each day to go up to their rooms and practice their spelling words. Some weeks go great and they get a good score on their test, other weeks are just "off" and they might not do as well. And that's ok, I just don't stress about it. 

I do, however, stress greatly the importance of just being a kid. Of getting outdoors and playing in nature and for the love of God, learning about things that schools can't teach them!

Because see, they are also learning very important things at home:

Learning how to construct cities and cars and buildings using only their imagination and a thousand lego pieces. 

Learning why and how we respect our siblings when they get sent to their rooms for 30 minutes while they think about their poor behavior. 

Learning about themselves and their bodies and what they are capable of when they go outside for an hour and construct a makeshift bike jump from materials laying around the yard. 

Learning to self soothe and direct their focus elsewhere when they get frustrated or bored, and are left to their own devices. 

Learning how to fix a broken Powersport ATV engine while they spend time with their dad in the garage, tinkering around. 

Learning how to be a good sport when they lose a game of Battle Ship.

Learning that time with family is just as important as time in school.

When their rope swing breaks and I tell them to figure it out themselves, they are learning that they do have what it takes, and that their abilities are great. 

Learning to just be a kid.

Because trust me, there will be plenty of times in their lives where they will be stressed and stretched beyond limit with all the pressures and expectations of the outside world. 

So for now, childhood it is.

(If you want even more proof that homework isn't good for little kids, you can read this and this and this and this and this and this - there is no shortage in what professionals really know is not in the best interest of little children. Why then, is it still happening?!)