Life is filled with so manyfun opportunities for family togetherness. My hopes are usually set really high, as I prepare to bring my munchkins out into public for some good ol fashion fun.
That being said, by the end of each outing, I usually wish that I had followed my instincts and just stayed home, filling the hours by throwing cups into our plastic swimming pool for my kids Riley and Bode to play with, while rewarding myself for a parenting win on the deck with an iced cold Corona (day drinking is acceptable on weekends, ok?).
Instead, I rarely listen to my gut and try to do fun things. Though these things can be really enjoyable, there are some lessons that Ive learned the hard way.
First, if your day is feeling difficult before you’ve evenleft the house, it will be 1,000 times more difficult when you arechanging a blow-out diaper in the trunk of your car. I mean it, stay home. I can just hear the excuses, but, what about.. No. Stay home. Im telling you, it is for the best. I am saving you from hours of misery and your three year-old saying my back is hot mommy, Im thirsty mommy, I want to go home, mommy, three minutes after youve arrived at your destination.
Next, be prepared. Bring ample snacks, extra diapers, clothes, hats, sunscreen, water bottles and bribes. And, if it is a late night fun session, bring jammies. Transferring sleeping children into their beds after an exhausting night of fun is like a parents fantasy (similar to sleeping in or drinking coffee while it is still hot). It is amazingand very rare. Take advantage of it.
You’ve been warned: Dont expect to eat or drink anything while on your fun outing. Ive tried. I went to the farmers market a few weekends ago with my sisters for a morning out of the house. I tried to have an egg sandwich and an ice coffee while I was there. I put my sandwich down for a minute in the wagon and turned my back to grab Bode before he put his hand in the garbage, and Riley threw it on the ground while defiantly saying, I was sitting there.
A little disappointed, I turned around thankful that my ice coffee was still a viable option just in time to see Bode emptying it into the dirt and smiling as he proudly tried to poke his cousin in the face with the straw. You will leave hungry, that isnt a question, but Ive found that it helps to know this in advance, that way you can prepare yourself for the disappointment and hangry pains that will ultimately follow.
Always remember that its all fun and games until its not. What do I mean by that? Well, things can be going along like gravy, your kids can be snacking, laughing, dancing, and then, boom, meltdown time hits and we all (myself included) turn into cranky, whiney, crying, pumpkins.
Word to the wise, leave while youre still having fun. Youll appreciate this unpopular decision later.
Kids are tinier versions of us. They need a break too. After being schlepped to daycare, or school, or playgroups, all week, they sometimes just want to stay home. They want to run around the house in their undies or diapers with yogurt from breakfast still covering their faces (and most of their bodies).
They want to jump on the bed and watch cartoons without being told we are in a hurry, or please get dressed a million times. They want to play with their own toys and each other (if siblings are involved), since they dont get to do so during the week.
In the end, they just want to have fun, and that wont happen when mommy is completely stressed out and shedding tears over her now dirt covered breakfast sandwich, you know what I mean?
Sometimes, staying home is the fun option. And, home usually has wine, beer, and a clean bathroom. Parenting win!
For more from Jenna Stewart, visit Motherhood With A Twist Of OCDandFacebook.