The Summer of ‘Yes’

We are back from our two week vacation to California. The remaining weeks of unencumbered summer stretch before us. I love not having to set the alarm, love the idea of stay at home and hide from the heat days. Lovin’ the 90° pool water.

But I am sick to death of parenting. I can not say “please brush your teeth” one more time.  Six plus years of saying it multiple times a day is enough.


My favorite peak name at Yosemite is “Cloud’s Rest”.  The peak just to the left of Half Dome.


So I am taking the summer off from parenting (except in the event of true danger of course). No more teeth brushing reminders (the cost of any cavities will come out of his college fund).  Snack away my son because I am not doing much for dinner these days anyway. Okay, don’t shower or comb your hair, the only place we are going is in the pool anyway.  Yes you need to be in bed by 9:00p at the latest but you can stay up and read as long as you want.

And while I know the answer will not always be yes at least now I am offering alternatives: “No”, we cannot go to the park at 11:00a.m when it is already 100°, how about going in the pool instead?

My favorite photo from our trip to Yosemite.

Because my son would happily play on the computer 12 hours a day we sat down together and wrote some agreed upon guidelines which I printed out and placed next to the computer.


  1. No more than 4 hours per day. (Be honest!)
  2. Only use the computer when time is available. Don’t forget to:
  • Play with friends
  • Go swimming
  • Eat
  • Play with your other toys. (Legos, cars etc)
  • Do chores and errands
  • Go places and do fun things
  • READ!
  1. No computer use after 6:00p.m.
  2. Stop using the computer when you feel cranky or frustrated. (Or when Mom says enough!)
  3. Do different things on the computer. Don’t play Roblox or Minecraft for 4 straight hours!
  4. Remember that using the computer is a WANT not a NEED.




Personally I would prefer a 2 hour limit per day but I am trying to be flexible and open minded. (I am also secretly hoping that after a week or two he will get kind of sick of the computer and move on to other things.) The great thing about this list is there is no arguing or discussion. I merely say a number and he gets it. Yesterday for the first time I did not remind him of rule #3.  At 6:30p.m. his father reminded him because he needed to use the computer. At first my son tried to argue about the consequences and I simply  said if you don’t want to follow the agreed upon rules then we eliminate any computer use for the rest of the summer.  Hardcore and Easy-Peasy at the same time.  Guess who spent three hours in the pool today, read a book and finished building the Lego set he got for a good report card?  Guess which mother and son are both perfectly happy?

My second favorite photo from Yosemite.

Welcome to Summer!



This is what the sky looked like most of the week

I spent last week in the White Mountains of AZ and I loved it, despite the fact that it rained everyday. We still managed to get two good hikes in and two good campfires, one afternoon one and one evening one.

Six mile hike to the West Fork of the Black River

One thing I noticed was despite being in the trailer for so many hours I did not miss my computer or tv at all. I didn’t even think about them. When we arrived at our campsite I turned my phone off and didn’t turn it back on until we got home.

Instead I read my books, worked on a needlepoint project, watch the rain and played games with the family. As soon as it would stop raining we would walk around the campground or down to the lake. I never felt bored or trapped.

“Fire Pit Lake”

Once we got home I was reluctant to turn on my computer and I started to think about my computer usage.  Of late I have deleted some of the blogs I used to follow.  Some had become repetitive and some made me feel bad.  (Why can’t I be the fun mom like that?)  Part of me really dislikes Facebook.   I originally got an account so I could post pics of my son for far flung family members and reconnect with old high school friends.  I turned off some of the feeds into my account but I am realizing that maybe FB isn’t such a great thing.  But how do I stop myself from checking it?

Having a computer is like having an eating disorder.  You can’t just stop eating and I can’t just chuck the computer.  Okay, I could but there are practical uses of the computer:  my writing, paying bills, researching things to do, making reservations etc.  So now I have a goal of trying to wean myself off sites that I don’t really enjoy.  I am not too far gone.  I don’t spend hours on the computer everyday going through Pinterest or reading blogs.  I have already downsized my blog list.  I think I am ready to stop reading the comics online everyday.  (When I cancelled the newspaper I realized I could still read the comics online but it has come to feel like a chore as opposed to something I look forward to.)  My biggest challenge will be not checking FB every time I sit at the computer.  I am going to continue my “French Lessons” on Duolingo which I need to do everyday in order to progress.   The key is to be more cognizant of what I need to do when I open my computer and stay focused on my goal.

For me the computer is a good servant but a bad master (Gretchen Rubin, “The Happiness Project”).