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I am a well-intentioned mother.
Well, okay, look around. Chances are? If YOU'RE here, you're ALSO a well-intentioned parent. I like that about us. You and me; US. We mean well by our children. We want the best for them.
Our free time is not only sparse, but in turn, it becomes a precious commodity that cannot be wasted. It must be meticulously planned out, savored if you will, and memories MUST be made.
But .. if I'm being totally honest here? I throw about eight gutterballs before I can pick up a spare.
(I use bowling analogies in this one. YOU'LL SEE WHY MOMENTARILY.)
Summers are challenge in a household where the kids are out of school, but both parents work. It's a challenge because our kids are not quite old enough to stay home alone, but man, that older one does NOT want to go to summer day-camp. And I kind of don't blame him. (But I sort of do, because I would LOVE to go to day-camp at 32 years old.)
The youngest is in daycare, which is year-round, but he wants summer off too. And, look, don't even get me started on the guilt trip of Well, he SHOULD get a break too.. it's HIS summer too.. because, yes, I know. In a perfect world, we could subsist well enough on one income that daycare wouldn't be a necessity.
I am derailing here.
Okay, so my point is this: family time, time where we're not torn twelve different ways and bound by bedtimes and naps and what have you, is rare. And I cherish it. As a result? I want to CRAM AS MUCH FUN AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE INTO IT. I just DO. I know it's unrealistic.
So here's my query this week: is it okay to give up on a family outing that's not working?
Case in point: we went bowling. I thought it would be fun, right? Air-conditioned, smoke-free bowling alley. Cokes in abundance. Sports! (.. sort of.) We got two lanes - one for the serious bowlers, and a bumper-lane for the four year old and me. Because I need them too. (I once bowled an 11. AN ELEVEN.) We got about four frames in and it was just CLEAR that no one was having any fun. The whining started, the refusal to participate, the frustration when strikes weren't acheived as easily as on the Wii console.. it just kind of came to a head, and I was blindsided.
I kept thinking of Chevy Chase in any of the National Lampoon movies, where he wanted so badly to just have family memories made. Be it on vacation or a Christmas around the tree, he just wanted the Norman Rockwell postcard. And it drove him crazy.
AND I GET THAT.
So I think a sane and well-balanced parent would just go Oh, my. This doesn't look to be fun for ANYONE. We should probably abandon this idea. I, however, am neither sane nor balanced when it comes to my family, and I was having NONE OF THAT.
"We are finishing this game and we are going to have fun," I growled through clenched teeth.
Which.. is kind of awful, right?
Oh, and it was. No one's attitudes turned around, everyone became Grumpy Bear on Steroids, and there eventually were tears.
I'll admit it: I take it personally when my family does not have fun. I pin a lot of my self-worth as a mother on their happiness and their enjoyment in activities. Especially ones that I think they should enjoy. (Again. I mentioned this was not sane.)
Needless to say, we will not be bowling any time soon.
Have you ever had to abandon a family activity? DID IT CRUSH YOUR SOUL TOO?
My kids are still young so I haven't had anything like this happen to me yet.
Absolutely! It doesn't feel very good to have to do that.
No, we haven't ever had a set family activity planned that we ended up cancelling. We have had to cancel one-time outings before, however, and that was sad, but for good reason (family health scare).
Oh no! That would really suck. :(
On our expensive and carefully planned trip to Disney, our 4 year old got overwhelmed and we had to leave the parades and fireworks and go back to the hotel.
Yes, we've had to abandon several. I'm disappointed and the kids are too, but really if you're not having a good time, it just gets worse by staying.
I'm sorry to hear this.
We had to leave the beach early last week
We were on a three night beach trip with our baby, who developed diarrhea, and it was so bad we had to drive back home and take him to the doctor the next day.. We didn't try for a medical center at the beach because the doctor had treated him the week before for the same thing and it came back.
Honestly I didn't mind it, All that sand is not easy to deal with when having a new born. My 7yo was getting cranky with her sister and my older ds was crying about sand in his swim suit and my 8yo was crying that sand was in her woman parts.
I'm sorry to hear this.Quoting TheBabyFactory4:
We had to leave the beach early last week