You know that day when you finally realize that it might not be that good of an idea to take the kids out on a non-kid related adventure?
Well, today was that day for us.
As parents, we’ve been busy beating our heads against the wall for years now, thinking that at some point our kids will just get to the point where we can have an enjoyable time out. And occasionally we do, but honestly, there have been more hard times than good when it comes to dinners, shopping, or similar type outings.
My husband and I were up late last night, sitting in bed enjoying a kid free quiet moment, trying to come up with a plan that would work. We (the adults and especially the teen) wanted to do a day trip to a local coastal town about an hour away. We’ve gone every time we’ve come to Florida, so it feels like a tradition. But the two-year-old has entered into an increasingly difficult phase, complete with daily tantrums. The four-year-old would likely be reasonably behaved, but if she misses her nap all bets are off.
We considered our options.
My vote was for: get the kids super tired in the morning, feed them lunch, and then load into the car around 1pm and head down, hoping they would sleep in the car. The potential problems with that plan would be a) oldest wouldn’t nap, and b) youngest wouldn’t get enough of a nap.
Hubby was for: let the kids have their normal morning and naps, leaving around 4pm. Potential problem with that is a) that there wouldn’t be enough daytime left for exploring and b) the restaurants would be more crowded for dinner, limiting our chances of finding a kid-friendly situation.
We were stuck, both sticking to our favorite ideas and not wanting to disappoint the teen, who had her heart pretty set on going. I finally came up with the idea that if we went on the earlier side, we could just have a contingency plan in place. We would have to be willing to leave at any point if it simply was not working.
We awoke ready to execute the plan this morning AND THERE WAS NOTHING BUT DRAMA. The little ones were fighting with each other from the moment they woke up. Screaming over toys. Chasing each other around the house. I ushered them to the park for a couple hours to get out their energy. It didn’t work. The little man had a meltdown when we left the park and then a second one on his way from the car to the house when we got home.
It was the moment when I dragged the screaming and kicking toddler into the house (filthy from head to toe because he’d decided to rub dirt all over himself at the park) that it finally dawned on me that the odds of us having a good time were slim. Even with the contingency plan, it just didn’t seem worth it to drive for an hour only to have to turn around and head home when (not if) either kid misbehaved.
Better to head it off at the pass. Even the teen agreed that it would be better to sit this one out.
And there are plenty of other things to do that would increase our odds of having a good time. It’s just taken us a long time to finally give up on the idea that we can’t do everything we used to be able to do pre-kids.