You wake up one morning to find the stars have aligned– you don’t have to work dash off to, errands to run or chores to do, the sun is shining and none of the kids have a runny nose. Feeling bold and determined, you declare this will be the day your family makes to to the park for some fresh air and fun. Surely such a simple, wholesome activity will be easy, right?
Expectation: You’ll pack a small bag of snacks and head out the door.
Reality: You grab the snacks and drinks, but then remember you need diapers and wipes. And the butt paste because the baby has a rash. Better grab an extra outfit just in case. And the pacifier. And stroller. Maybe you should grab the first aid kit too, just in case. And a kickball. Don’t forget the kite.
Expectation: You’ll leave right after breakfast so the kids will have plenty of time to play and you can still be home in time for lunch and the afternoon nap.
Reality: Since you’re running later than you’d hoped, you realize if you go to the park now, you’ll run into the local chapter of Stroller Strides, and Kenna and her cronies never really got over the time you suggested amber teething necklaces don’t work, so you’d rather avoid any awkward conversations. You circle the block again and stop at Starbucks to avoid them.
The extra driving lulled your youngest to sleep, meaning the afternoon nap break you crave is most likely cancelled. You decide to hustle the kids out of the car as fast as you can in hopes that she wasn’t sleeping long and will still go down for a bit later.
After five minutes at the swings you remember you forgot to pack the sunscreen and debate what would be easier– going home to get it and then coming back or trying to stand over your kids like a human umbrella and hoping for the best. You go with option B and hope your pasty calves are up to the task.
Expectation: This will be relaxing. The kids will get a chance to play independently and you won’t have to spend the day entertaining them. Maybe you’ll even manage to find another mom to chat with so you can talk about what happened on The Bachelor last night.
Reality: You forgot how much goose poop was at the park, but you manage to work up a decent sweat chasing after your little one while yelling, “No, gross, yuck, drop it!” You do get to chat with another mom, but only because your child and hers started fighting over the slide and couldn’t resolve the issue on their own.
Expectation: Your kids will beg you to stay until the sun goes down. As you strap their sun soaked faces into their car seats they will thank you for an awesome day.
Reality: After barely twenty minutes your oldest declares that he is both hungry and bored. Too tired to argue and seeing rain clouds headed this way, you pack it in. Next time you’ll stick to the backyard swing set.
(image:Bhowie/iStock / Getty Images Plus)