Kids do a lot of things, but they do NOT keep you young. They drive you crazy, they make you sleep deprived, they make you fat, and they turn you into a raving lunatic whenever you feel they are being mistreated or threatened, but they DO NOT keep you young. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe this is what all those Tiger Moms have discovered: They stay young by forcing their kids to do all of the crap that they wish they had done when they were younger, and live vicariously through their achievements. They wish that they had done better in school, so they hire tutors, pay for extra classes, and push their kids to constantly do better. They wish that they spoke a different language, or played an instrument, or that they were good at sports, so they push their kids into those things. Well, I wish I had done all that too, but I am really glad that I didn't. Let me explain.
If I had done better in school (and mind you, I did well), spoke another language or two, played an instrument, and convinced myself that I would only be a success if I were the world-renowned whatever, then I never would have gotten married and had kids. I would most likely be alone, unhappy in my life though thoroughly successful in my career. I would have not been satisfied to do what I am doing now -- staying at home with 4 little kids. I NEVER would have married at 24, started having babies at 26, and kept doing it for the next 7 1/2 years. But since I hated school, hated corporate America, and hated the rigid 8-5 work hours, I LOVE staying home (in fact, I don't want to go back to "work" in corporate America and I am avoiding it as long as I possibly can). And I had an AWESOME childhood. I did a few extra things when my parents had the time and the money and when I wanted to, but for the most part, I got to be a kid. I wasn't padding my college application at 7.
So as much as I wish I was more like "that" mom at times, I'm really glad I'm not. My kids are most often up and out of bed before me and are munching on cereal or Pop Tarts and watching TV. They usually go outside to play and are back inside within about 10 minutes because it is seriously 112 degrees here in TX, and there are bugs that could carry off a small child if you aren't careful. They then spend their days playing PlayStation, building cities out of Legos and wooden blocks, and making music videos on the digital camera that they then beg me to upload to YouTube so that they can "be discovered" like Justin Beiber. We eat PB&J for lunch and have an orange for dessert, drink Crystal Light mixed with Sprite, and then for dinner I try to have something with a vegetable or two in it. I rarely plan meals more than 10 or 15 minutes ahead of time. My kids are healthy, happy, and smart and I am not driving myself nuts for them to be that way.
Perhaps my kids would be super geniuses if I had their days planned out with math and reading lessons, piano and foreign languages, violin and Tai-Chi. But then I think about everything that they do -- building towers to reach Pop Tarts, locking me out of the house, etc. and I think, do I really WANT them to be super-geniuses?? Who knows what kind of crap they would pull if they were smarter or more stimulated. No, I don't think they need any more stimulation -- I'm not sure I could handle it.