My instagram feed is full of weekend outings - my husband and I with our two sons at a museum or a park or an event we find in the city. We bike, we hike, we fly kites. We go on family dates and take day trips to areas around us. I’m often lauded by friends and especially co-workers that I’m “such a great mom”, always being active with my kids. I appreciate that sentiment, and I firmly believe that all parents need validation likely more than they are getting it.
But I don’t go on adventures with my kids to be a good mom. Part of it is selfish.
Time perception turns out to be all about memory. The more memory units we have from any span of time, the longer it appears to be. That’s why the first day of a vacation somewhere exotic seems so long. Your brain has no idea what it needs to know in the future, so it’s remembering all of it. All these memories make the time expand.
If you go an adventure or do something interesting, it feels like you’ve really done something (and not in the cleaned-your-house kind of way). You don’t ask, “where did the time go?”, because you remember it! It is the best antitode for slowing down these short years.
We try to make a plan for each weekend. We don’t have standing weekend chores, because we try to spread that kind of thing out over the week. Then we don’t lose a whole weekend day to laundry or grocery shopping (neither of which we can do effectively as an entire family). And now that our kids don’t nap, we can spend the whole day out - say, at a museum, then a picnic lunch, and then a new park on the way home.
That being said, not every weekend is out of the house. This past weekend was rainy, and Todd and I were tired from the previous week. So our new experience was more low key - I introduced my eldest son to a new-to-him game on the ipad - Plants vs Zombies. And we had a lot of fun playing through the levels together - he for the first time, and me remembering how addictive it was! His little brother liked watching - and suggesting “helpful” tactics - but also was content to sit next to us and watch a new dragon-based cartoon. While less Instagram-worthy than a day on the Lake Michigan shore, it was just as memorable to us.