From the minute my oldest, Caden, was born, I desperately longed to stay home with him. However, for that time, my outside-the-home job was in the middle school classroom, and I just prayed that someday that would change for me. Almost 4 years later, I was able to stay home part time, still a teacher, a perfect blend for me, and I am abundantly thankful that that is still my current season of life.
So, imagine my dismay when my treasured boy, the one I’d always longed to stay home with, actually had to up and leave me… and go to Kindergarten! You genuinely would have thought the child was heading to college (and never coming home). I lamented for the ENTIRE YEAR leading up to it and, if we’re being honest, probably actually started the day he was born.
BUT I’D WAITED FOREVER TO STAY HOME WITH HIM AND I FINALLY HAD MY CHANCE AND THEN HE LEFT !!!(???)!!! I cried (obviously) his first day of school and, while my eyes eventually dried up, I’m pretty sure my soul never has. But I digress.
Yes, I do have other children at home. Yes, I do love them too. But, you know, it just wasn’t the same without big bro. Going fun places without him just wasn’t the same! We all were bummed about him not being with us all day.
Then one day I decided I was no longer going to allow a school schedule to dictate our fun. I was not going to just live for the weekends, because life is too short and has too much potential to wait for one day to enjoy! [Also, Caden entertains his little sister better than I can and sometimes that alone saves my sanity.] And so, Monday Funday was born.
On Mondays, I pick Caden up from school, we forego (until the evening) the after school homework/reading log/iReady routine and we head out somewhere “fun!” Perhaps, we’ll do some bouncing at Monkey Joes, some competing at Chuck E Cheese, or even an afternoon at the beach. We spend a few hours of good, quality, memory-making time and then head home to meet Daddy for dinner and get back to reality. One of the perks? Everywhere is DEAD on Monday afternoons and we’re pretty much guaranteed VIPs with a private place all to ourselves 😉
Not sure where or how to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered…
- This can be any day of the week! Whatever works best for you and your family schedule, BUT it must have a “name.” Just to help you out, I’ve got some ideas for you already. You’re welcome…
- Monday FunDay (yes, you can steal it from us)
- Tuesday WooHoosDay (Do things that make you shout WOO HOO!)
- Wednesday YesDay (Pick some things you normally say no to and say YES!)
- Thursday SuresDay (Same as above but say Sure, instead of yes :-P)
- Friday FriYay (It’s Friday, ‘nuff said)
- Saturday HaveItYourWay (Let them make up the ideas, throw them in a jar and pick one!)
- Sunday FunDay (sorry! I couldn’t come up with anything creative! Just don’t do a Sunday FunDay AND a Monday FunDay and no one will know!)
- Don’t have the time or the funds in this current season to stop everything and go somewhere? You don’t have to! In reality, our kiddos just crave quality time with US. Our Mondays haven’t always allowed for a trip out for (many!) various reasons, so sometimes our Monday Fundays have consisted of a “picnic” dinner on the living room floor, an hour of family board game time, a swim in the pool ending with popsicles, a movie night on a school night, or even just allowing them to sleep in their sleeping bags on our bedroom floor. All of these things are THE BEST according to our kids because they’re not common for them. That’s all they care about!
- Are you a full time working-outside-the-home mom? No problem! Your “guaranteed” fun day can be a weekend day/night, OR pick a weeknight and just implement some of the non-outing activities I listed above. As I mentioned, all they need to make something fun is YOU! Don’t have a pool? Or it’s winter outside? Put on your bathing suits and play in the bathtub! Don’t forget the beach ball!
- You still need to eat, as the children will so quickly remind you– so leave out a meal that will cook up quickly! Or intentionally make double of last week’s dinner and freeze it, so it’s a quick defrost and reheat meal, especially if your week’s activity involves being out and about.
- DON’T let it overwhelm you! Lord knows something else on our plates is the LAST thing we need! Monday Funday isn’t going to work this week? Tell them! My kids know that we try for it, but it doesn’t always happen. Life isn’t fair, kid! Or pick a different day for that week (remember to name it!)! OR, keep the day and do something super low key like 6 books before bed instead of 2, or dessert before dinner day!
Remember, our God-given responsibility to these children is to LOVE them and care for them, not to entertain them every second of every day. This is not a call to make every day of the week extra “fun” for them, or over stimulate their every sense. This is just a way to pick a day and go out of your way to make memories with the little humans that make us the craziest. For me, it helped me beat the “my oldest started Kindergarten and tomorrow he’ll be off to college” blues. It also helped me be more intentional in my parenting, as having fun with my children is not always (or ever) number 1 on my weekly to do list.
So set out the calendar, jot down some days of extra fun, and pull out the can of fake snow, Florida! WOO HOO! This is about them, not you 😉