Ooof. Last week was a long week! We've been swimming, bowling, mini-golfing, Jedi training, ice cream scarfing, hanging out and much more.
Friends and followers have remarked that I must have been competing for an Olympic gold medal in parenting and staycations.
While I admit that earning the title of "Most Funnest Mom" was secretly my goal, the reality is that I wanted to fill my kid's week with awesome summertime memories.
This staycation was primarily a cost containment exercise (i.e. no camp for two weeks) but it has also been a bonding experience as well as reconfirming that I am in no way cut out to be a SAHM!
If you too are staycationing, here's some advice from me to you on how to make it enjoyable for the kids - and sane for you:
- Plan ahead: I do this by maintaining a list of all the interesting places and activities in and around our neighborhood. I've been doing this ever since my kids were toddlers so that I wouldn't have to spend time thinking about what to do or where to go. As I embarked upon this staycation week, I was armed with a master list of options for destinations and activities.
- Check out these sites: I subscribe to these two site's email newsletters and follow them on Facebook and Twitter - Boston Central, MommyPoppins Boston. And I also check the Patch's 5 Things You Need to Know each day. Thist way, I can learn about fun activities taking place on any given day. For example, we discovered a really fun Jedi training session that was running last Tuesday at the Watertown Public Library.
- Don't go it alone: Pair up with another family, if you can. By jamming into one car, you'll save on gas and the kids can entertain each other, rather than pester each other and annoy you with endless "are we there yet?' questions. Plus you'll have a grown-up to converse with.
- Set a budget: It makes sense to figure out what your total budget for the week's outings and activities should be ahead of time. Or set a daily limit. Or simply check out admission costs before you leave the house so you don't get any nasty surprises. A couple of the places on my list were prohibitvely expensive or charged entrance for adults. Also, check out the great free options made possible by Highland Street's Free Fun Fridays in the summer.
- Check the weather before you head out: Nothing worse that getting rained on when you don't expect it! Make sure there are some indoor activities on your list, just in case. We had to change plans twice this week due to storms!
- Say yes: As a Mom, I say no to my kids A LOT. This week, I've been trying my hardest to delight them by saying yes as much as possible, within reason. (Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.)
- Ice cream: On a daily basis. It's summer, it's vacation so why not? Yes, we built ice cream into every day! Also works as a great motivation for good behavior.
- Mix up the routine: I am a big believer in routine but staycation is the perfect time to throw routine out the window. Past bedtime? No worries. Breakast for dinner? Yes please. Watch a movie while eating dinner? Sure. Wear PJs until lunchtime? Yup!
- Be silly: This applies to adults and kids. How was I silly this week? Why, I had a light saber battle with a Jedi master, of course.
- Reward yourself: It's hard work and patience-testing planning for, entertaining, driving and catering to your kids non-stop during a staycation. So go ahead, pour yourself a large glass of wine at the end of the day. Plan some much-deserved alone time once staycation is over. Meet a friend for lunch. Grab a mani/pedi
How am I rewarding myself? I'm going back to work today and I can't wait!
Samantha McGarry is a working Mom, juggling life, kids and a career one day at a time, with a smile on her face. She blogs at Keeping the Glass Half Full.