There are a few reasons why I always plan amazing weekends for my kids. The first is that we live in an amazing part of the world. There are so many parks, so many great museums, and so many awesome day trips to take. I feel like we can’t cram it all in as is.
The second is that I only get them every other weekend, so I feel like I need to program 52 weeks’ worth of fun into 26 weeks.
The third, I’m realizing, may come from a latent insecurity I may not have realized I had.
When my kids were babies and I was totally on my own, I’d think ahead until bedtime and wonder how on earth I was going to entertain them and keep my sanity. Action seemed to be the easy-out. It became my go-to for every problem. If toddler Eli was fussy, get him out of the house. If I needed them to sleep, go exhaust them. If they were bickering, get them out and let fresh air, a change of scenery, and running around solve the problem.
And it is a pretty effective cure-all. There is definitely a correlation between how long they stay indoors in a confined space together, and how much everyone is barking at everyone, me included. You can only do so many timeouts in one day.
So, I was terrified to face weeks on end of isolation inside our house. So terrified that I bought them a Nintendo. (I hate video games.)
I’ve already written about several tips that made this past weekend easier than I expected. But beyond those, I found that this pushed me to grow as a mother. I couldn’t cram ACTIVITY to solve my parenting challenges. I couldn’t assuage my anxiety about parenting with the great state of California. I had to be confident that I could just be with them for several days.
That I was enough.
How, after nine years of motherhood, did I still feel this kind of insecurity?
After nine years of ADVENTURE MOM, you know what? I was more than enough. I discovered my kids were craving a weekend to just be. They wanted to hug, they wanted to sit on the couch and read, they wanted to bake, and they wanted to have all the focus, not share the focus with whatever we are doing. It was more fun than I expected. It made me feel closer to them. They loved having so much of my attention. And as with most things, enduring this past weekend of isolation with them was way better than I expect it’ll be this coming weekend without them.
We are still always going to be an adventure household. Once this phase passes, there’s going to be trips to Disneyland and Palm Springs and the Santa Cruz boardwalk and camping and all the parks and museums and bike riding for hours and movie theaters with reclining seats and massive buckets of popcorn. We are always going to DO in this house—or rather, outside of this house—because I’d rather spend my money on them DOING than them consuming stuff. (I hope that Nintendo collects dust this summer…) I only get 26 weekends with them at any given age, and I want to make them all epic. If the being created intimacy this past weekend, the doing creates a lot of the memories and traditions they’ll remember forever.
But I’ve learned something valuable about what makes our time together so great. It’s really just the “together” part.
In so much of my life, I’m always way too much or not enough. But with my kids, I’m always just right.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Making a cross-country move while pregnant
- What is the most efficient way to go about preparing a will in this crazy pandemic time?
- What does “comfort” food/”comfort” generally mean to you?