When I was a high-school teacher, I would politely describe my job to people as an “adventure”: you just never knew what the day would bring! And I really enjoyed that about it. Staying at home with children, though, your world can get very small and very uneventful, fast. Your whole weekly routine can consist of such mundane tasks as housework, grocery shopping, going to the bank, or maybe even the post office, if you’re really lucky.
I suspect that’s why the results of a Gallup poll from last week showed that SAHMs are significantly more likely to be depressed, angry, and anxious than working moms. I know, for me, when I look at my calendar and see nothing but a week of housework and errands, I start to understand why some women say staying at home with kids is boring. Plus, days like this really make my daughter go a little bonkers. She gets bored and starts getting whiny and into trouble.
That’s why I’ve been trying to make a greater effort to find adventures for us, places we can go that 1) aren’t too far, 2) don’t cost much, and 3) where she can run around until her little heart’s content. This isn’t always an easy task though, especially when you’ve been cursed with unseasonably crappy weather, as we have this week: lots of rain and general gloominess.
Thankfully, the blogging community came to my rescue! We are so fortunate to live minutes from downtown Washington, DC, which offers lots of child-appropriate and wallet-friendly options, if you know where to look for them. I have become a huge fan of Kid-Friendly DC, where I was able to find a post called “The Great Indoors,” which offers a thorough listing of locations in our area that offer rainy-day entertainment for little ones.
Of course, going for an adventure does require a lot of effort on my part: we have to pick an appropriate activity, plan a route that accounts for the worst traffic in the country, usually move the car seat into a friend’s car so we can travel together, pack a lunch (remember, a dairy allergy means no eating out on the fly!), and prepare the diaper bag. And I don’t travel light.
But in the end, the hassle is worth it because forcing myself to have an adventure makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something (other than cleaning my house for the umpteenth time) and that I’ve exposed my daughter to something new and fun, including unfamiliar people and places. And perhaps best of all, these adventures really wear her out! When we get home, A often takes a longer-than-usual nap, which gives mommy some much needed me-time. And what’s a better cure for a little depression than some decompression time?
Do you make time for adventures? Have you found any great local resources to give you ideas?