Edit ModuleShow Tags

Parental Indiscretion

Open Season


Published:

Illustration By Kristina Micotti

Rachel Laing

For the longest time, I avoided getting caught up in the Enrich-a-Thon that modern middle-class parenting has become.

As I listened to other parents griping about shuttling their kids from dance to baseball to capoeira to Minecraft-coding camp in  their desperately uncool minivans (sorry, Odyssey drivers: yes, it is a minivan), I’d say to myself with a smug grin, “Not my kids. Mine will get by on their charm and fine conversational skills honed over a home-cooked, balanced dinner.”

Of course, with their peers being completely clueless about world politics and social justice, pretty soon Ben and Georgia were clamoring to try out some of the things other kids were doing. Fair enough, we said, but each kid was STRICTLY LIMITED to one activity at a time.

Then, before we knew it, Greg and I were splitting up so one of us could go watch Ben’s baseball game while the other whisked Georgia from her softball game to her vocals lesson, followed immediately by her guitar lesson.

By the time we all sat down to taco shop takeout, everyone was exhausted and cranky, and we all performed poorly on the conversation-skills front. (But at least we weren’t in a minivan!)

So much of parenting is doing exactly what you vowed you never would. But it’s also about deciding what’s worth struggling for. Do you take the baby to the ER in the middle of the night or wait for the fever to break? Do you let your kid blow his big class project to impart the perils of procrastinating or stay up late helping cut out cardboard figures for a diorama? Are the daycare tantrums signs that your toddler’s a budding sociopath or is it just a phase? I’m sure it’ll all turn out fine, you’ll think. Then, in the middle of the night: JEFFREY DAHMER’S MOM PROBABLY THOUGHT BURNING FLIES IN A CANDLE WAS “JUST A BOY THING.”

This summer, our big dilemma was whether to give in to the kids’ desire to stay home all season. On one hand, staying home sounds like a recipe for way too much TV and nagging me to take them to the pool when I have to work.

But part of me has always wondered if, by always having a camp with structured activities, constant supervision, and rules, they’ve missed out on that special summer boredom that leads to great adventures (and, in my case, a few rounds of stitches). 

Both kids also asked if they could attend wildly expensive camps that relate to their respective passions—Ben to a UCSD video game development camp and Georgia to an acting camp. 

Can today’s kids have unstructured fun? Is spending what was once my monthly rent on a week of camp bound to disappoint? 

The experiment starts this month, after our family vacation. They will each do one week of camp. Ben is doing Digital Media Academy, and Georgia is doing Theater Arts School of San Diego. The rest of summer is going to be boredom city. I’ll let you know the results. And please: If I reveal that I’ve purchased a minivan, send help.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

On the Job: Meet the Crossing Guard

Moray “Mr. Mo” Black pulls out all the stops to keep kids safe and brighten their day

Celebrating Women: Meet San Diego State University's First Female President

Adela de la Torre on how she rose to the top and her vision for the school’s (possible) expansion

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Ice Fishing in Space—and Coming to San Diego

The prolific scientist brings his touring show An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies to Civic Theatre
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  2. Good Night, Cafe Chloe
    San Diego’s beloved French bistro is closing due to California’s unfair labor laws
  3. The Best of San Diego 2018
    We crown 103 winners in food, shopping, fitness, kids’ activities, and more
  4. Javier Plascencia Eyes Barrio Logan
    The award-winning chef is all over Mexico, but looks to make a San Diego comeback
  5. Stop Killing Chloes
    How California is very knowingly killing the mom and pop restaurant
  6. First Look: El Jardin
    Native chef Claudette Wilkins goes from Bracero to Top Chef and, finally, to her own dream
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags