The weekends used to be so different when the kids were little. My husband and I would have our agenda set. Not too many activities to be overbooked, not too little that they'd be bored. Hikes, museums, visiting family friends and trips to the zoo were among our top plans any given Saturday.
But, now that three of our kids are teenagers and our youngest is positive she's one too, they make the agenda. Birthday parties, sleepovers, work, school dances and going to the mall with friends. So guess what gives? Family time. They leave no open slots for family time because they don't want to spend time with us anymore. So, my husband and I have to fight for it, like the weekend warriors we've become.
Let me be honest, our kids don't take well to mandatory family fun time (MFF). It comes with moans, groans and constant complaints. Not to mention fighting. Which makes it much less family fun time and much more family fight time. Leaving me questioning, Why the hell are we doing this in the first place?
One of the last MFF (feel free to fill in the f's with any words of your choosing), I forced my family to go to the zoo. Ok, not all of my family, because my husband was working Saturday morning clinic and one of the kids was at a sleepover, but I think forcing 3/4 of my family to do an activity they don't want to still totally counts as MFF.)
Our annual pass to the zoo was expiring the very next day. I'd tried to coax them into going for the whole summer, to no avail. It was a beautiful day and dammit, I wanted to go to the freakin' fun zoo for god's sake! I mean what kind of sick, cruel person doesn't want to go gawk at cute, caged animals pacing back and forth?
My kids weren't having it. So I resorted to bargaining. Ok, so we don't have to see the whole zoo, we'll each pick our favorite animal and just stop at those. They were silent. I was on to something. Then after the zoo, we can stop at Culver's for lunch. I had them at Culver's. Why didn't I think of this two years ago? Oh, because it's expensive and I wasn't ready to give up cheap picnic lunches yet. And they didn't eat that much back then when they were small.
The thing is, family time is not only more work, it's also increasingly expensive.
Gone are the days of my kids being young enough to get in free to museums. Gone are the days of me being able to pack enough food to satiate them on a day trip. And gone are the days when my kids are smaller than me, not to mention compliant.
But, before you know it, they'll be gone and the weekends and weekdays will be much too quiet.
The cost of this MFF time? Well, it's well worth fighting for.