Some Of Us Are “Street Light Moms”, And That’s Okay

My husband and I were chatting at the table, and our children were going crazy (what’s new). He told me that “they need to do something because they’re so bored”.

My thought: “Umm, okay. They can go do plenty of things. They are surrounded in toys, books, electronics, and water activities outside. Pick one kids.”

Some of you may have seen a short little video going around Facebook from a blog named “That’s Inappropriate“. If you don’t follow her, you should. She’s like my motherhood spirit animal. Her video basically talked about how she is not an “entertainer of children” and how it isn’t constantly her job to make sure her children are preoccupied.

Preach it, mama!

She made a reference to how her mother used to tell her to come back in from playing when the lights were on. Her mom wasn’t constantly filling her life with activities and crafts and such.

That was MY childhood. “Come back in as soon as the street lights were on!”, was something that we heard daily.

Why is this not the expectation anymore?

street light momsStreet Light Moms

Street Light Mom is just what you would think; a mother who tells her children to come in when the streetlights come on and does not plan every second of her children’s lives.

First, don’t get me wrong. I love and adore all of my mom friends who have things planned for their children to do. I look up to moms who constantly have crafting and play time and a list full of things that they have ready for their kids so they don’t ever get bored.

I am not that mom. I won’t ever be that mom.

I tried. Really I did. With my first, I was like “I will be a Pinterest Mom!”. To be honest, that really is what society wants from us these days.

But, like I said, that isn’t me.

I do make it a point to spend time with my children. We have “mommy and me” dates, we play together, and occasionally I have fun surprises and activities for them if they do get bored.

However…. for the most part:

I am the type of mom that tells her children to go find something to do.

I am the type of mom that points her children in the direction of the book shelf and tells them to go read.

I am the type of mom who will not watch over my children constantly while they are playing outside, even though they seem to think they constantly need my attention.

I will tell my children to go play outside.

I will tell them to go figure out something to do for themselves.

I will not sit and listen to incessant whining and fighting, and then think that this is my fault because they are bored.

My kids are healthy, they are learning, they are smart. I love to be around them and to teach them things, and I even like to go out of my way to try out new activities occasionally.

But, I don’t think it is my job to give them every last second of my attention or for me to make sure that they are never bored, especially when they are SURROUNDED in things that they could be doing. 24 hours is a lot of time to fill in a day. Not everything they do in those hours needs to be planned out by me.

I am a street light mom. 

*Cheers to all types of mammas and no judgement on how we raise our children*

joanna at motherhood and merlot


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  1. When I was a kid, I was supposed to come home when the sun was going down 🙂 That’s how I knew! I think there can be a balance between the two, and honestly I feel like I am in-between. I plan things out so we have an activity or two on our summer schedules each day, which I have to do since I work FT+ from home and they would drive me crazy & I wouldn’t get anything done otherwise 😉 – and they also have plenty of time each day to make their own decisions about their activities, and to roam the neighborhood and find their friends. But we’re also very lucky to live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of kids and the parents all know each other, so we know that if the kids aren’t all at our house, they’re at one of the other kids’ houses. I don’t think it’s like that everywhere, which is some of the difference between now and then.
    Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife recently posted…Cocktail Bliss: Spicy Strawberry MargaritasMy Profile

  2. I grew up as a street light kid and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I was always outside, playing and making friends with the neighbour kids. I loved the freedom.
    It’s definitely better than today’s kids, sitting inside on their computers/laptops/gaming devices/phones as soon as they’re home from school.
    I have every intention of being a “street light mum” myself when the time comes. Great post. 🙂

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  3. Me too! My kids are always complaining about being bored, but when they put their minds to it, they can be very creative. Also, if they get really bored, I find giving them chores is a good way for them to fill their time. Here’s some Windex and paper towels, kid. The bathroom sink needs cleaning! My daughter is still at the age where she finds that entertaining, and she does a good job, too!

  4. Hahaha I’m a street light mom too!!! My mom gets on my case about it all the time. She sees all these other moms crafting the day away and don’t get me wrong, I love to craft!! But not everyday lol… My daughter can use her imagination and entertain herself!

  5. I love learning about each parent’s unique parenting style. And there’s not judgment here! I was not a street-light kiddo or a street-light mom myself, but I can see the beauty and simplicity in it. Every year my girls would choose the activities that most interested them (dance lessons, horseback riding, Girl Scouts, theater, pottery classes, art classes, cheerleading, mathletes, swim team, piano lessons, art classes, voice lessons, etc.). And because my husband and I volunteered as helpers for many of their activities we made so many fun memories together as a family. Would I do anything differently if I could change the past? Not a chance! The girls are now grown and every single activity they participated in made them the beautiful women they are today. We are an incredibly close family because of the awesome memories we all share.
    Denay DeGuzman recently posted…Ham & Cheese Pockets | A Quick & Easy Snack You’ll LoveMy Profile

    1. I love that! I think it’s important to be involved with your children. Just maybe not every single hour of every single day making sure they have something to keep them occupied:)

  6. Never heard this concept, as I grew up in the boonies with no street lights, but I’m definitely like this! Although I do plan activities and craft with the kids from time to time, I don’t do it on a daily basis or go out of my way to keep the kids entertained.

  7. My parents were city kids, so they had the street light rule. I grew up in the woods with no neighbors or streetlights…but mom didn’t constantly entertain me. Sure, we did some stuff together, but most of what I remember from my childhood is playing with my toys and my imagination.

    I have played with my kids a lot, but I’ve never had four littles at once. And I kinda still like toys… But they need to know how to entertain themselves so mom doesn’t go freakin’ crazy.
    Denise Bertacchi recently posted…Use Your Noodle to #WIN an Awesome Recipe ContestMy Profile

  8. I’m a street light mom too! I think this constant entertaining of our children is going to backfire on our society. We have a generation of kids who don’t know how to cope and they don’t know how to cope with everything – happiness, boredom, losing, etc. As a person who is going into clinical psychology I see many offices filled with adults trying to work through their problems.

  9. I totally thought I would be a Pinterest mom, and I’m totally not! I do love doing some activities with kids, but I’m more of a mommy-daughter date kind of mom rather than a sit home and let’s play together all afternoon kinda mom. Sometimes I feel bad for not playing with Eve more, but I have to remind myself that she still gets ample attention from me. I also want her to learn to entertain herself, just as I did as a child.
    Bev recently posted…What do you crave this summer?My Profile

  10. I want to be a streetlight mom but in this day and age…I just can’t be. The world has changed too much since the days of “come home when the street lights come on.” But yes..I am not my children’s entertainment committee. There are plenty of things in our house that my children can go to to entertain themselves…and I make them do it.
    Jill Robbins recently posted…Open adoption (or lack therof) and all the feelsMy Profile

    1. I agree. I think it’s more about allowing them to be independent and imaginative, whether inside or outside, not so much going by the “street light” rule. 🙂

  11. I’m definitely a street light mom! I’m so thankful that we live in an area where I can send my kids out without worrying about them all the time. The boys have uncles who live just down the street and who are close in age to them, they all congregate at one house or the other and spend all day playing.

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