Oklahoma City family fun can be just the break you need, especially when your calendar is exploding.
If you’ve been at this parenting gig long enough to have a school-age child, you know May is the three-letter month that spells long days and longer performance-and-graduation-and-so-much-happening type weeknights. The irony of its short title on the calendar isn’t lost on me, as I stare at it and my four children and wish for June; May seems to laugh at us somehow, like there’s not even time to say the name of a full month, like May-vemember or May-uary. “May” is all we have time for. This month strikes fear in my maternal heart year after year as I add more children and more activities to our family because it is so packed and I want to do all the things but it’s literally every night of the week that we have something going on right now.
There’s also a feeling of community fun that precludes summer, like everyone is getting ready for warmer days and a more freewheeling schedule. Festivals, museum exhibits and concerts are changing up the landscape like so many spring flowers after what feels like a year of rain that hasn’t quite shifted around to warm weather yet.
Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is add one more thing to our schedule when we’re already pushing through the year’s busiest months. That fear of missing out, the #fomo, coupled with a sense of what brings quality of life, is what keeps me pushing forward. I don’t want to just go through the motions, get through the day, check all the boxes. I want to thrive and help my children flourish too.
Getting out of the house and leaving all the school commitments behind can be like a breath of fresh air.
Here are three community happenings in central Oklahoma to help re-focus and energize your weekends:
- Edmond Downtown Arts Festival: Free admission is like the cherry on top of getting to see art. Even if you make zero art purchases, it’s amazing for kids to see the variety of media and what’s possible with glass, clay, paint and metalwork. Go for the walk. Go for a street food dinner. Just go and enjoy all that’s happening in downtown Edmond. Get details here.
- Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: If you haven’t been to Sam Noble, start your summer off with a visit to explore all that kids read about in nature-themed books. Sea life, bugs, fossils, prairie animals and, of course, dinosaurs are what you’ll find, plus the special exhibit going on until May 12 of moth paintings. If you have a child who just loves that sort of thing, the day will prove memorable. There’s no extra charge to see that area and time’s running out so take a Saturday and go see it all. Find info and other current museum offerings here.
- The Chuck Wagon Festival at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Memorial Day Weekend is always full of family reunions, pools opening for the summer and community picnics. What I love about this festival is that it’s offered two days, so if you already have plans for Saturday or Sunday but are open one of those two days, you can spend it there instead of totally missing out. The event is free for kids 12 and under, which is also a plus as we all look to summer expenses. There’s food served from pioneer-style wagons and sarsparilla at the ghost-town bar, as well as so many activities that my children were hard-pressed to choose which they wanted to participate in for the day, between archery, basket weaving and author chats. The festival is the focus of this month’s Kid Review; my first grader, Isaac, says it best here in his own words.
If you are really feeling the crunch like I am this month, here are three go-to strategies I pull out year after year to get through the busy season in our family’s life with four kids and a husband and multiple job and school schedules:
- Make friends with your Crockpot again: I know, no one wants soup or stew right now and spring is the season to shove that slow cooker to the back of the cupboard. Don’t put it away just yet, though. Buy a pre-sliced chicken breast and make tacos or fajitas out of that after leaving it to cook all day. I did that on Tuesday before a staff meeting and felt elated to back home to a dinner that was almost ready.
- Skip the laundry folding: So I’ve been really reluctant to just stop folding laundry and let my family take their items out of their own baskets because that seems so untidy but honestly, I can’t deal with it right now. It’s six against one and I’m done. I just am not going to mess with it until after May. Give yourself permission to leave that unfolded basket where it sits. If people start looking for items, maybe they’ll want to fold them. Otherwise, we all know where they are, clean but in that basket. At least it’s contained. We lose a great many happy, smart women to the constancy of laundry and I refuse to be one of them. My family can deal with rumpled clothes. We can’t deal with a frazzled mom who’s constantly folding mountains of laundry. Lay out clothes for the week for every person straight from the hamper and that’ll cut down on a lot of what just gets reused anyway.
- Press the easy button: Sometimes, it’s a point of pride to do things the hard way, “the right way.” I’m very much in favor of streamlining where possible right now. I have other months of the year to make things perfect. Right now, good is good enough. I’m not interested in the road less traveled on this path of motherhood; I’ll take the well-worn route that’s direct and efficient. There are only so many hours in the day and I have eaten exactly two real meals this week; the rest is quick snacks where I can grab them because I’m slammed night after night. Save your time and energy to invest where it matters and where there’s a return.
May will soon be over and we’ll be poolside before we know it. Until then, I wish you the best with all that this season of life brings. Join with me in thinking of it another way: may you find peace, may you find joy with these little people we’re all corralling and may you find time for yourself, soon if not today.