Monday, August 30, 2010

This Weeks "Mom-Monday" post Hey Kool-Aid

To my surprise this summer, two different 8 year old neighbor boys were home alone. I'm not certain how many days- maybe only a week or maybe off and on.  My son got mixed up (emotionally) when two of them were house-hopping and he felt ditched when they'd run to one house or another and he had to stay home, hoping they'd come back. They were going between their empty houses looking for something to do and I don't allow my 7 year old into homes that have no parents. So, I suggested they hang out here but they really just played video games, then ran off to one empty house or another then turn up again. Apparently I'm not the only parent that faces this  - worrying about all those kids riding bikes in the middle of the street when no one is watching them. I recently heard from a friend that runs a daycare in an adjoining neighborhood and all the "latchkey" kids gravitate towards her house during the day. It reminded me of the label we would give the house where all the kids wanted to hang out - "The Kool-Aid House".

Do you remember the old commercials with the happy mom serving Kool Aid to a zillion kids in her yard? At least she knew where HERS were and what they were up to.  Are you a Kool Aid mom?  If so, what do you do when you need a little break from the troops running in and out? I work nights, get up early to get kiddos off to school and sometimes I need a short nap before dinner, but my sons will be buzzing in and out with their friends. I stop and think, "Do I really want to send those kids home to their parentless homes?" I imagine 10 years into the future when they are all teens, trying to figure out where to hang out.  I usually tell my teen and pre-teen sons to keep an eye on the younger ones for 20 minutes while I sneak-rest. I dread having my kids announce to the whole neighborhood, "You can't come in 'cause my mom's takin' a NAP!" while my own kids are running in and out! I've attempted to sneak into my room and leave the door open (I listen while I rest - just in case), however,  my kids and their friends tend to end up in my room to ask me some "important" question - awkward.  
I noticed Sunday, my husband was taking a short post-church nap when the doorbell rang and the dog started barking right next to our bedroom door. It was the neighbor kids and their sister. I thought they were here to pick one of the other boys up so I called the boy to the door  as I  went back to my work in the kitchen. I quickly realized they had planted in front of the tv and were playing Playstation with my son and all four were shouting at the screen. I want them to know they are welcome and safe at our house, but sometimes I wonder if I need an "temporarily out of service" sign for my front door! While school starting will lessen these instances,  I'm wondering if any of you have this going on and do you just kick them out or find a happy-medium? Should I point at the neighbors house and say, "Hey look-she's got Kool Aid!"?

If you would like to join Mom-Monday just copy the badge onto your post from mycup2yours and leave a link.  (she's having a little technical difficulty with the linky so you may need to check back)


  1. I so admire those mamas that welcome kids into their home anytime day or night practically. I want to be that kind of a mom but, I also don't want to feel taken advantage of when they ravage my cupboards and make a mess in my house. My aunt was one of those amazing mamas and she just doesn't mind the mess or sharing her stuff until it's all gone so maybe it takes a certain kind of person to be that whimsical or un phased by the chaos. I want to reach out and help the kids around us but, I operate best with some boundaries so I don't think I will be a 100% kool-aid mama:). Power to you if you are though!!

  2. I agree with the first comment... I love hearing stories about homes that have the philosophy that everyone is welcome. :) And good for you for taking a nap now and then. When mama's rested and happy, everyone's happy, right? So glad you joined in today!

  3. Hi Genny and J&C! - Well I feel both ways - that's why I'm trying to find a happy medium. How can I win these little ones for Christ if I don't welcome them? These are the same kids I invite to church, tote along to VBS and teach. Still I'd love to hear how people find comfortable boundaries or if you just say "nope" when they come knocking.

  4. Well when I just had Tawni and she was little, I was that Mom while we lived in the house with a permanent playground fixture in the front yard. No kid could resist and I loved that the parents didn't mind the kids hanging out with us. I would send everyone to their own homes at dinner time though. For now with the little ones, I have had a break from that. Zach will have one friend over at a time and hide in the room playing PS3. With Parker making friends fast and furious at Kindergarten, I think my break may be over. Guess I better by some Kool-Aid and if they spill it on my rug--oh well. I won't even notice.

  5. So, Angela, is your house East or West of mine? I want to be sure I point the kids in the right direction!