Confessions of an Honest Mom: Activity Charts Are Too Much For Me

Summer break is only two days away and while my little heart just skips a beat at the thought of ditching morning alarm clocks and carpooling and packing lunches for three whole months, I can’t lie. I’m also a tiny bit anxious.

I mean, I only have two kids but they have the attention span of a gnat, and let’s face it:  there are a lot of hours in the day to fill.

My kids have a playroom full of toys that ironically they never seem to play with voluntarily unless they are supposed to be cleaning them up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

Kids are jerks, man!

So help me God, I know I will lose it around the seventeenth time they come to me whining that they’re “bored”…which in all honesty will probably be within 90 minutes of the first day of the summer break.

So I started to think it might be in my best interest to be prepared. My Facebook news feed is suddenly filled with posts of moms touting their creative, glossy, laminated charts filled with brilliant summer activities for their kids to choose from.

“Build a fort out of sticks and clay! Play in the fort for an entire day!”

“Make homemade playdough/marshmallows/rockets! It’s easy!”

“Whittle a new toy out of wood!”

“Build a pallet garden! Teach your children the art of growing organic. They will naturally be super interested!”

By the way, can we all just agree that the pallet ship has sailed? Am I the only one who is totally over it with pallets? I mean, don’t get me wrong. A lot of cool and unique creations have come from pallets over the past few years. I get it! I’m not a hater.

It’s just that everyone needs to settle down already.

imageListen to me: I am not going to build a couch out of pallets. I do not want to eat my dinner off a pallet every night. I am no longer interested in building a bookshelf, or dog bed, or picture frame, or stairway to heaven, or whatever it is, out of pallets.

Can we all just agree to give these friggin pallets a break already?

Don’t even get me started on mason jars either. Again- I’m not a hater. Honestly. I have mason jars with handles- and I drink out of them. I serve them to my guests. I transfer them from the dishwasher to the cupboard while I think “How cute. How quaint.”

But suddenly it’s mason-jars-this and mason-jars-that.


“Decorate your wedding with mason jars!”

“Take a bath in a mason jar!”

“Eat a salad from a mason jar!”

NO! That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! Have you ever tried to mix a salad while its in a mason jar? Really, have you? It’s asinine. Unless you want to eat your salad in single ingredient order, layer upon layer.

But I digress…

So as I was seeing all these posts of other moms with their fancy charts of ideas to keep their kids busy, I started to think…Maybe I need a chart? It’s not exactly my jam, but I mean, I could maybe get on board with that? But then there are separate charts for chores. And then a third chart with a point system and smiley faces and frowny faces showing ways to earn/lose privileges on the other charts. It’s fascinating, really.

For two whole minutes I entertained the thought of getting into my car, driving down to the store, buying poster board, spending 5 hours on Pinterest, thinking of ideas for the chart, decorating the chart (Because chores are fun if they are written in glitter glue, you guys!)(Lies. All lies.)

Then I considered laminating that chart and of course making the other necessary coinciding charts- because without the other charts the whole system falls apart, mind you. And then lastly I considered trying to explain this whole complicated new system to my two children who could honestly give two craps about any of it.

Then I remembered that I am me. And I laughed heartily at the thought. Because LETS ALL BE REAL HERE; that sounds like a lot of work. Summer is my break too, dammit! I’m drawing the line, people! I’m drawing it right here.

I have much respect for all of you moms out there making charts. I really do. I wish I had it in me. But at the end of the day I really would rather just sit on my back porch with a cold beverage and a good book and just sidestep the whole gambit altogether.

I tend to fall in the camp of “You do your part around the house because you live here and it is your responsibility to contribute. The end.”

Maybe I really am just the meanest mom.

But hey, at least I know my own limits.

Now, before you start to see me as some cold, uncaring mother, leaving my littles to make their own breakfast and play with nothing but mud patties all day, you should know that I do have a few summer tricks up my sleeve to pull out, should times get desperate. I do have some plans.

We got a pool. Granted, it’s one of those above-ground, metal and vinyl contraptions but it’s big enough to fully submerge and splash around in, and as far I’m concerned that is a pool’s one and only requirement.

I invested in a plethora of water balloons, squirt guns, pool toys, and otter pops.

I bought art supplies.

I bought a leather-bound collection of classic children’s literature in the high hopes of reading a chapter every night in bed as we all snuggle blissfully. In retrospect this might have been a lofty goal, considering our children are professional bedtime stallers. We have been known to eat up an entire half hour between drinks of water, trips to the bathroom, discovery of imaginary boo-boo’s that “need” band-aids, and repeated threats of “Don’t make me come up there!”

Regardless, the books are there on the shelf, ready for use and full of promise.


There is also the massive undertaking of the Second Annual Road Trip with the other Amber and all five of our subsequent children. No husbands, no babysitters, no exotic locations. We do it old school- with lots of snacks, potty stops, and hours in the car making up games, singing loudly, and learning valuable life lessons like “If you pass gas in the car, you will be nominated to sit in the way-back in between the two tinies in their car seats. Because fair is fair.”

At the end of the day I suppose I do believe that summer is all about being carefree and having fun. I don’t believe it’s my full-time job to entertain my kids. 

So while some of the super-moms who have it all together will be busy glueing and laminating and being all ambitious and what-not, I’ll just be over here like,

“Do your chores. Here is a popsicle and a squirt gun. Have fun.”

Drop mic. Exit. 

2 thoughts on “Confessions of an Honest Mom: Activity Charts Are Too Much For Me

  1. Amber

    I just put some ideas in my phone today of things I can tell the kids to do when they’re “bored”. No charts for me! Lol! That sounds exhausting then by the time my kids have got the hang of our new “lifestyle chart change” the schedule will change again and it won’t be on the chart!
    Love you! Let’s keep it simple!

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