Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mommy School 2011-12: What I Learned from Thursdays

When school started in August, I made a decision.

After assessing the schedules of tumbling practice, piano lessons, homework patterns, Church activities and sports, I decided that Thursdays would be Denton-only days.  No friends.  No TV or computer. 

Occasionally something would creep into my carefully protected Thursdays that kids had to do--birthday parties, extra practices, school projects--but those Thursdays were the exception.  The kids learned that begging for friends or TV would fall flat, so they eventually walked through the door on Thursday afternoons with a slight sigh on their lips as they asked, "What are we doing today?"  Most of the time I have to say that they got excited about the activities I had planned.

The first Thursday, way back in August, we just swam together and ate otter pops.  Another Thursday I took them all to a dollar movie right when school got out. One time we got ice cream and played at the park.  One Thursday afternoon we all made nests out of pillows and blankets and we lounged around reading and eating popcorn all afternoon. Once we even invited friends and spent a few hours at the zoo.  Other times, we cleaned out the game cupboards or toy closets (these activities didn't go over quite so well, but Micah actually remarked that it was actually fun to do it together--who knew?).

I searched pinterest and marked crafts and science experiments to try--
Some were successful, like tracing all of our upper bodies with arms outstretched, one on top of the other, to send to Tucker for his birthday.

Others were not, like the time we tried to replicate these glowing jars. I would not suggest using glow-in-the-dark fabric paint as an alternative to the paint she suggests.  Doesn't work.

Since Brad and Ben were both out of town for the last Thursday of the school year, I surprised them with a trip to Barnes and Noble (one book each), Nielsen's hamburgers and frozen custard for dinner, then home to watch American Idol's final three on DVR.  Lily said it was the best Thursday ever.

They saw Thursday as a punishment--one whole day every week where they couldn't play with friends. A daylong sentence spent with siblings and Mom.  I saw Thursday as a gift--a gift of time with my four littlest kids that I will never get back.  Lily moves on to junior high in the fall, and because her release time from school will be so much later, she will no longer be part of our Thursday escapades.

When the beginning of August rolls around this year, you can bet I will reserve one day each week to enjoy my kids. 

And that's the most important thing I learned all school year--enjoying the journey.


  1. That first picture is so cute! I bet the kids eventually came to enjoy this time together and looked forward to it. I think it's awesome that you set this time aside and were purposeful about it. You're such a good mom!

  2. What a great idea, Jen. Your motivation for creating the family-only day is inspiring. I'm gonna have to think about this for my own yahoos. Thanks!

  3. I love that idea! If you don't schedule it it never happens! I'm totally stealing it!

  4. I've loved this series...something I need to think about...what HAVE I learned this year??

    This is the best idea....

  5. Junior high for Lily?! Crazy... I miss that silly girl. You should ship her up here for a few days. That would be a blast.

  6. This has been great reading while I am hanging out in the airport today! Love the idea of reviewing and consciously taking stock of what has worked and not worked.

  7. Fun idea. As I'm watching my two grow and yearning for the few more minutes before they are off into their adult life. Thanks for the idea.

  8. I think this is a great idea - something I would have done (if I had thought of it)but, alas, mine are now too old to do crafts with mom:( Enjoy & have a great holiday weekend.

  9. love it love it love it love it, jen!! i too really value and protect our family time, but it doesn't always work with our crazy schedules - i love that you've actually "scheduled" the downtime - a mom after my own heart ♥

  10. That is such a good idea. It really is crazy how busy kids get

  11. I love the idea of that "paper hug."

    And the whole Thursday thing in general...