Even though we do spend a lot of time together as a family, our entire existence seems dictated by our schedules. We do what “the experts” say and eat dinner together almost every night as a family, with the TV turned off. Our kids aren’t over-scheduled with activities, we allow them to choose one activity per season in which they can participate. Yet despite our best efforts, I still feel like I don’t get enough chances to just hang out with my kids, let alone hang out with each of them individually.
This past weekend, my husband and I decided that since we actually had nothing planned in what felt like months — no baseball games, no dance recitals, no family reunions, no pressing home improvement project — that we would each take one of our kids on a one-on-one date. My husband and daughter left to spend a day together alone, while my son and I plotted a day of fun together.
It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time and I actually learned a lot about myself and my son.
I can survive a few hours without my iPhone.
When I’m out with both my kids, I do zone out and check my email, texts, and Facebook too often. Before the date, I decided that instead of posting fun pictures of our mother-son date on Instagram or Tweeting about our adventures, I would instead just have fun with my son.
My son can be trusted to make good decisions without me to micromanage his every move.
When I invited my son on the date, I told him he could choose any restaurant he wanted. I braced myself, waiting for him to say “McDonald’s,” but he shocked me and chose a sushi restaurant. While we ate our salmon rolls, I told him that I was surprised that he chose sushi over fast food or pizza and he said, “Mom, you don’t go McDonald’s on a date.”
My handsome young man also wore a collared shirt and a pair of his nicer shorts for our date and I didn’t even have to ask him.
My son has a lot to say.
So often I feel frustrated that my son isn’t much of a talker, like a lot of guys I know. I ask him a million questions about his interests, but so often he answers with one word responses or eye rolls. Other times he has to compete for my attention with his sister, as I’m constantly reminding them to take turns talking. When he had my full, undivided attention, though, this kid about chatted my ear off. It was great to have a real conversation with him.
I am really lucky.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the day in, day out details of everyday, like sibling bickering and back-talking kids. Our date helped me to focus on one of those great things in my life, my son. He is a fantastic kid and I’m so glad that I got to spend an entire afternoon hanging out, just the two of us.
We need to do this more often
After our dates, my husband and I agreed that the kids had a great time — just as we did! They felt special getting the one on one attention. We’ll switch kiddos next time and have girls and boys day outs.
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