Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Commitment to Making Memories & Having Fun

There are seasons in my life when I have been able to be ridiculously spontaneous. Like taking last-minute weekend getaways with the hubby to the beach, the mountains, or the city for a day or two or three just because we could. Or choosing to binge-watch my favorite show until 2am on a Friday night because no alarm was going to go off on Saturday morning (and by alarm I mean child yelling "Good Morning mama!!! Can I watch Daniel Tiger now, can I?! I'm hungry, can I have candy for breakfast?! Get up mama! Let's play!!!"). In college my spontaneity involved heading out for a hike last minute and being able to stay out all day with just a few snack bars and a bottle of water...and no worries as to whether anybody might need me (and by "me" I really mean my boobs...because us cows nursing mamas are in high demand to be milked to feed tiny hungry tummies that, at times, WILL NOT BE SATISFIED with anything but our boobs.) How about heading out AT ALL without all the baggage that gets tacked on when you have little kids. Seriously, I feel like a pack mule when we go out for longer than an hour! Jacket? Sunscreen? Shoes? Snacks? Drinks? Distractions (aka toys)? Nursing blanket? Teether? Diapers? Wipes? Baggies to put the inevitable whopper of a dirty diaper in when you are not near any opportune place to throw the thing away? Change of clothes that you won't need unless you don't bring it (and if you don't, heaven help you because somebody WILL have a blowout!) The list goes on, my friend...and if you are a parent of young ones you know that it doesn't matter how big your diaper bag is, IT IS NOT BIG ENOUGH! *Deep breath* Anyway, ahem, my point is that "going out" when you are not a parent is an exhilarating opportunity to toss your cares away. "Going out" when you're a parent is a dirty word. If it's not probably isn't happening. We will think of a reason to not "go out" if we have young kids and are not personally related to Super Nanny.

All that to say, being intentional is an important part of parenting, I believe. Especially in the younger years. Both with our conversations and actions on a daily basis with our kids, and with the more specific ways we want to engage them in their world. The more intentional we are, the more natural it becomes, and the more "spontaneous" we can be with it. The more often I let my toddler "help" me make dinner, the more natural it becomes to accept that the process will take longer, be more messy, and that this is all part of the joy and fun in the tradition. It becomes easier and more fluid for me to want to invite her to help me the more times I actually do it. The same can be said of leaving the house to go on an "adventure", making time to read books together, or pulling out the paint for craft time.

So my solution to the problem of the summer doldrums is two-fold. One: Just say yes. It might not be something you really want to do, it might sound like too much work...but when your kiddo asks to go to the park or get an ice cream cone don't let 'no' be your automated response. Say yes more than you say no, and if you say no to something reasonable (like going to the park some morning) think of a time that you can follow-through with that activity. Then do it. Two: Initate. Come up with a handful of activities you want to do with your kids or family this summer. Then plan them out. Pencil them in. Talk about them and get the family revved up about them so that even if they are small things (like going to the community pool or going out for ice cream sundaes) they become an event to be excited about. Spontaneity may not look the same when we have young kids. It takes more planning and there is an edge of uncertainty because there's always the chance that somebody could be grumpy or refuse to nap beforehand. That doesn't mean it's an impossibility. We can still make memories and have fun with our kiddos in big and small ways if we do so intentionally.

 Let's Make Some Memories!

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