Facing summer with her two boys, ages ten and seven, Pam Lobley was sifting through signups for swim team, rec camp, night camp, scout camp, and enrichment classes. Overwhelmed at the choices, she asked her sons what they wanted to do during summer: “Soccer? Zoo School? Little Prodigy’s Art Club?”
“Why can’t we just play?” they asked.
A summer with no scheduled activities at all . . . The thought was tempting, but was it possible? It would be like something out of the 1950s. Could they really have a summer like that?
Juggling the expectations of her husband (“Are you going to wear garters?”), her son, Sam (“I’m bored!”), and her son, Jack (“Can I just stay in my pajamas?”), Pam sets out to give her kids an old-fashioned summer. During the shapeless days, she studies up on the myths and realities of the 1950s. With her trademark wit and candor, she reveals what we can learn from those long-ago families, why raising kids has changed so drastically, and most importantly, how to stop time once in a while and just play.
Why Can't We Just Play is smart, funny, insightful, and refreshingly honest. You’d think that Pam Lobley and I would be opposites – tiger mom vs. play mom – but I loved and totally related to her determination to parent against the tide. Entertaining and endearing, this book reminds us that parenting can be at once the most absurd, the most humbling, and the mostly deeply rewarding thing any of us ever do."
— AMY CHUA, Yale Law Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America
When Pam Lobley came to the realization that the vision she had for her family life—lingering over books, laughing fits at bedtime—in no way resembled the panicked, exhausting mad rush of her days, she set out to re-create the 1950s. Literally. Why Can’t We Just Play? is her touching, honest and amusing account of the summer she gave her kids the gift of boredom and set a goal for herself that was both simple and profound: to learn to pay attention to her life as she lived it.
—BRIGID SCHULTE, author of the NYT bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
Pam Lobley is irresistibly funny and forthright, a breath of fresh air as she sounds off about the benefits (and downsides) of giving her two sons a summer with no obligations. Honest and clear-eyed, what sounds like every parent’s dream—a summer of family time and fun—becomes a rollercoaster of the good, the bad and the ugly. All-in-all, a great comment on how we could all use ‘time off’ if only we can deal with the shock of an empty calendar, two energetic boys with no plans, and the social pressures of friends’ who are still living from activity-to-activity.
—MONICA HOLLOWAY, author of Cowboy & Wills: Driving with Dead People and the upcoming There Goes Perfect . . . Marriage, Mayhem & the Split That Damn Near Killed Me