Whatever Happened To Playing Outside in the Neighborhood?

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This is a guest post by Kathy Chlan – check her out at Unfiltered Mom.

In today’s society, we are so concerned with raising exceptional, intelligent children. But as I sit here thinking, I realize something. We are consumed with perfection, that we have forgotten that they are children.

Holy sh#t! What if our parents were like this?? We would be different people and have had different experiences. I loved my childhood – dysfunction and all!

When my kids were little and I was involved in “play dates”, my husband would ask “What the hell are play dates?” I would proceed to tell him that they are organized play for our children. His response was that it was basically more for the moms and it turned into an “eating fest”.

Organized play? How sad that really is. To this day, I tell my boys about all the fun I had growing up on Mansfield Avenue with the block parties and kick the can at night and tag. My boys looked at me with blank stares and asked the infamous question, ” Your Mom let you play outside by yourself?”

I began to laugh uncontrollably! Hell yes, she did and so did all the other moms. In the summer and on the weekends, you would get up, eat breakfast and out the door you went. Who the hell knows what the Moms were doing- maybe they were smoking and drinking wine. I hope so.

You would leave in the morning and knock on kids doors. The day would be consumed with an assortment of games. And of course, not everyone got along! I was in a ton of scuffles and sometimes rolling on the grass became the best game for me. But you were outside.

Your mother would open up the front door at dinnertime and yell your name. It seemed all the moms did it at the same time. It sounded like they were from a horror movie with all of their screams sounding different. It’s not that you could actually hear your moms voice, you just knew, “Get the hell home”. And what was funny is, you could be a block or so away and you heard the screams. I often wondered if all the moms had a secret, like they had a crystal ball and knew where you were and what you were doing.

The phrase, “I have eyes in the back of my head,” was used often and my mom ALWAYS knew when I did something crazy. Years later, we all realized the moms were communicating and I guess that’s where the crystal ball came in handy.

I say to all the moms out there, “Let’s welcome back outside play. Open the door and let your kids go”. We need to let them be kids and experience how to get along with everyone. You don’t have to be best friends, but you remember that your mom would Kick your ass if you ever left anyone out! Stop the insanity of raising “perfect” kids. I guess I just want my circle to get bigger. Misery loves company.

And let’s be honest, if anyone took my kids, my husband and I say they would be bringing them back immediately. Who the hell would want them!

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