I’m going through it right now. This sad, frustrated feeling of not knowing what to do when your child doesn’t like the kind of activities you do. I won’t pretend I’ve mastered my disappointment in our differences on fun. My son is seven, that unique age where he is asserting the things he does and doesn’t want to do. I love the outdoors, hikes, camping, picnics, sitting and staring at trees, you name it. He does not. If I allowed him, he’d stay inside and play games and watch YouTube all day. He’d take a lazy day over an adventure in a heartbeat. I know what you’re thinking, too much screen time!! Don’t worry, I don’t actually let him do it. He has a strict limited time frame for that, which could be why he wants it so much, but I digress.
The other day he and I had the afternoon all to ourselves. Everyone else was at work or school, so my adventuring brain went nuts with ways to seize the day. Mom and son fun here we come! What do you want to do today? amusement park? costume shopping? hike? you name it! I rattled off the ideas for an hour at least, brainstorming what he might be interested in. Do you have any clue what he chose? You won’t guess, that’s how horrifying it is. He chose to clean his room! The horror, the exasperation, the confusion!
He wanted to stay home, and I felt gypped. Here we had a beautiful fall day with the sun shining, and he wanted to stay inside. I hid my hurt well. It’s not fun when they’re not into the same thing as you. Okay, I may have pouted a tiny bit, but it’s the way life goes. How many of us are into the things our parents are? It certainly doesn’t mean they don’t love us, and there are many times when we set out on a day hike or fall drive that I know he’s not into at all. So I compromised, and we made it fun. We put on music to work to; and I showed him some tidying techniques. We got it done quick, it looked great and he was so proud.
As I was vacuuming his carpet for him I dwelled on the notion that this is what I was doing with our mom and son time. It had nothing to do with him, it was all me. I’m a victim of the seize the day logic and when it feels as if I didn’t do so, it will eat away at my insides. In truth, I only needed to turn my own thoughts around. Hadn’t I been nagging him about this room? Now I could actually see, and clean his carpet. Didn’t we promise him a kitten if he could keep the mess maintained? Was he actually listening?
Maybe it wasn’t the way I wanted to spend the day. After all, I would never choose to spend a day cleaning. Still, a message stuck in him and he’s working towards his goal of getting that kitten. He listened, and he’s working on it! He’s not into the same things I am, no. He’s timid and scared of the world still. So, when I suggest venturing out into it and seeing what happens, he shrinks away. I am the adult and have to teach him about it slowly. Small doses, slow increments, and little by little he may see the beauty in the great outdoors. The things I love about it. The glow of a sunset without distractions, and the thrill of going someplace we’ve never been before. Perhaps it’s something he won’t truly appreciate until he’s older. Either way, I can’t force it and I will be so ready when he is.