Soapbox = You may not want to read this posting because I may offend you with the opinion I am about to give ...
There are many reasons we are in Mexico for 1 year. One is to Slow Down. We started Oldest Son on the socialization track at age 4. By age 8 - he had played 10 soccer seasons, 4 baseball seasons and countless other activities and events. Then came Youngest Son and we started the same thing with him. So now we had twice the number of events.
We eventually stopped the many camping trips we had always taken since kids born. We stopped going to museums, zoos, aquariums, concerts ... our weekends were always booked. The kids are only 8 and 6!!!
No Extracurricular Activities in Mexico. That is the rule. We want our weekends back!
Yes, you are right. We CHOSE to do all those activities. You are so right. Mia Culpa. Do not get me wrong. Our kids are well rounded and we all had many, many fun wonderful experiences. More importantly, we all made many special friends through these years. But. I am tired.
So, how is it going so far? The kids have No Activities. These are my observations in just over one week:
- Play: The kids are having a great time playing together. They have not complained once. And we are not at the pool or beach all the time - adults still have to work.
- Chores: We have set higher expectations on their contributions to household chores. They are meeting and exceeding expectations. I think the biggest barrier in USA is we were just moving so fast from one event to the other that it was easier for us to just do it. Kids take longer. You have to Give Them the Time.
- Jewish Home Rituals: We have celebrated Shabbat and Havdalah faithfully. Oldest Son is reading the Shabbat Prayer book and we DANCED after Shabbat last night - around and around. We never did Havdalah in USA. We usually had something going on Saturdays or were just too tired. Youngest Son eagerly prompted us tonight for Havdalah.
- Reading: Husband is reading a Spanish book every night to Kids. Oldest Son then reads his book of choice silently (he has read 8 books in the series Animorphs since we arrived.) I read an English book to Youngest Son as we snuggle in his bed. We are reading about Juan Bobo (Puerto Rico folk tales.) Juan Bobo is naughty like Youngest Son so Youngest Son loves it! I personally have finished a book just for me and have started a 2nd.
- Family Outings: We spent entire day just hanging out at local village and beach. No agenda. Youngest Son sang like 8 verses of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" on our way. I was just so thrilled to be there to listen. Oldest Son found Rubber Ball in ocean. He was so proud. Kids played and played with it outside when we got home. So what? In USA they had several balls just like this - the difference is Oldest Son acquired it himself in an "adventure."
I think we just start too much too early in USA. I am all for enriching our kids. But do we have to start at age 4? Could we just wait until say 10?
So - we will continue to see how this evolves for our family in Mexico.
And ultimately, we will see how it affects our lives upon return in a year.
Not sure how this particular Soapbox will play out. I am always open to learnings and change.
10 months ago