An Exercise in Motivation
I continually have this conversation with other parents:
Hey, what were you up to last weekend, I saw some picture on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / etc… where it looked like your kids were piloting a boat / flying a helicopter / covered in vibrant dusty colors from head to toe. How do you manage to find so many cool things to do, and get out to do them so often? It’s all I can manage to make it to soccer practice and feed them lunch some days…
It sounds like I’m some super energetic parent doing epic research on places to go and visit. But this can’t be farther from the truth. I’m just as tired as any other parent out there, who desperately wants to sleep in on the weekend, hide in my house, and drink a beer while I watch the kids play nicely in the backyard.
A few years back when I separated from my ex, I found myself living in a pretty limiting space. Staying home all weekend really wasn’t the best option for any of us. Even before this happened, staying home just meant fighting more often. so getting out really was the best tool I had in my parent's toolkit.
When I first started out, we would hit all the go-to spots:
- San Francisco Zoo
- The Academy of Science
- SF MOMA
- Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park
- The Exploratorium
We are lucky enough in the Bay Area to have these great options, but even with a membership, you can really only visit any one of them 4-6 times per year without getting everyone bored with the idea of going. Visiting too often can turn everyone off to a great museum visit. So finding other ways to get out and adventure is highly important. Engaging in new experiences and sparking not only the kid's imagination but your own as well.
Over countless days of making plenty of my own mistakes, I started to notice some ways to get better organized, make a better plan, find a plan B when things fall apart, and generally make a habit of getting out and having new experiences.
Now when I pick the kids up for the weekend, I am greeted with:
Hi Papa! Where are we going this weekend!?
That alone is all the motivation I need to pick myself up and find something new for all of us to do. It’s the best feeling in the world to see your kids excited to not only see you but excited for what you are about to do together.