This weekend, my family was scheduled down to the minute. We had a birthday party, a trip to the zoo, pool time, three separate meals with extended family, dishes to prepare for those meals and groceries, presents and dance shoes to buy. We spent a decent amount of time in the car, driving from one thing to the next. All in all, we had a wonderful time, but we got home Sunday night thoroughly exhausted.
Although we had visiting family, which accounted for the numerous family meals, it was a pretty average weekend for us. We normally fill out at least 75% of our time with schedules activities, errands or get-togethers. I never imagined that we would have such an active social life, but with two involved families and a very active little girl, we rarely have a day at home.
All of this liveliness is fun. It keeps our family active and on-the-go. We enjoy our family and friends, we enjoy getting outside. But there are days, normally after a long day at work and an equally bustling evening, that I wish we took more time to be at home. I have weekends where I wonder if my daughter needs more down time, quietly playing with her toys instead of swimming with her cousins or sitting through story time at the library. After so much story time, will reading books at home be the same?
On a recent weekend, I decided we were going to take a day at home. It would be a whole day for my daughter and I to stay in, bond, dance around the house and play Barbies. However, it was so abnormal for my daughter to stay home all day that it still seemed like an event.
Around noon, Brenna asked, “Who are we seeing today, Momma?”
“No one, honey. We’re going to stay home today,” I told her.
“Oh, are Mimi and Papa coming to our house today?” She assumed that staying home meant my parents would come visit our house.
“Nope. No one is coming over. We’re going to stay home and play.” I tried to say it as if it was the most natural thing in the world, but she wasn’t buying it. She thought the whole thing was just one more adventure. She wanted to camp out in the living room, pop some popcorn and paint our toenails. Of course, I had no problem doing those things, but they kind of negated my whole “normal day” nonsense.
I realize that “normal” for us just includes lots of social activities. Our kind of routine means frequent trips to the park, lots of extended-family visits and more than a couple extra-curricular activities. Given that, I still hope that my daughter knows what its like to have some days at home. I want her to be able to entertain herself when every minute of the day isn’t planned. I want her to know how to relax.
It seems odd to plan out down time, but maybe that’s what I need to be doing. Maybe, I should be making more time for nothing at all. And just maybe, its not so bad for my daughter to be bored every once in a while.