I am in this strange place where my older kids are independent and I still have little ones underfoot. I realized the other day none of my “littles” have never been to the Apple Orchard. An event I looked forward to 13 years ago with my first batch of enthusiastic toddlers. Alas, I am old, and far less enthusiastic about overpriced apples. I am practically allergic to petting zoos and all things sticky, given the massive exposure I have had with 10 children.
I have four tips that I have put into play in these second wind years. They have helped me make sure I don’t miss all the best experiences with my littles as well. Because, despite what you tell yourself putting on “Wild Crats”is not the same as going to the Zoo. So, how do we tap into that freshness once again?
Face it, this is hard. It is easy to hold on too long because we love our friends, but you have to keep the purpose of your time in mind.
I have had a standing play date with my best friend for the last 16 years, but about 3 years ago the purpose shifted. The older kids no longer needed structure to get them together with friends. My friend is 3 years from her littlest one being in high school and I am just 3 years out of diapers. It was time to reach out to some new people in my circle of life to fit the more immediate need at hand. The littles needed some friends and I had an obligation to seek some out.
This does not mean that you need to abandon long held friendships. Quite the opposite. Now I have a standing coffee date with my friend. We check in with each other often and have been blessed to start a Bible Study together. My Mothering equation is being supported from both sides and I have made some great new friendships as well. Don’t be afraid to reach out to some younger Moms you might know. If you are like me you will be more than wiling to trade your wisdom for some energy.
I admit I have no desire to wrangle all of my children at an amusement park. Ever! I was very blessed this summer. My daughter and my sons were offered opportunities to join their friend’s familes for a day at the park. It was a win-win for me. I payed for one kid and they had a great day. There was a time where I might have felt guilty about sending my kid with another parent, but those days are not today.
I am still super choosy, you have to pass the background check and all, but I don’t need as much control as I used to. My older kids have been taught well and need some room to stretch their wings in safe company and places.
I had a friend offer to take all of my littles (6) to the Zoo. Suddenly I fell into all the same doubt you do. I hesitated. My heart pounded for a bit and I felt panicked. What if they were bad? I had a big trip planned and realized that my friend really wanted to bless me, so I said yes, and I have been so blessed. Both of them, my kids and my friend have not stopped talking about when they can do it again. All because I said yes.
So a day at the Apple orchard sounds like a living hell, invite your funniest friend. Someone that helps you keep it light, or that friend that always remembers to bring juice boxes when you fail to even remember wipes.The people in your life are your best resources. Click To Tweet
Don’t forget about them. This parenting thing is hard, if you are like me and just remotely nearing 40, it lacks some of the luster it had when you were 23. Add joy wherever you can. Team up for a field trip with another “second wind” Momma and you will both thank me. Trust me.
Nothing is more motivating than the ticking clock on your season pass. You have it calculated. You know exactly how many visits make this pass a deal and how few make it a waste of your hard earned cash.
Put your feet to the fire and get the pass. The Zoo pass in my town gets me half off in other states as well, but it also makes a great excuse for a pit stop on errand day. You are much more likely to take advantage of small trips if you know entrance is already taken care of, you might even look at the calendar of events and plan ahead, but lets not get overly ambitious. The point is to get out and go.
Science centers are another great place to get a year long pass. They offer year round events and are a great place to spend a marrow sucking snowy winter day.
It is not a bad thing to sometimes leave those independent big kids to their chores and studies (video games) and take your littles on a date with an adventure. You will find yourself refreshed, renewed and you might just have the chance to look into the face of your little guys in a way you may have been missing in all of the obligations and work.
I hope these tips help you find your groove in the second wind of life.