Oklahoma City family fun is yours to find in 2017.
January is always an uphill battle. Whether you're struggling to get back into the new semester's routine or frowning over expenses from the season of giving, family life takes a different turn.
It's the new year and I'm glad. I see opportunity in a fresh start, quiet after a busy holiday and comfort in returning to the same drop-off/pick-up cycle.
Choosing where we'll spend money this year is difficult as a parent. I'm already looking ahead to summer camps and after-school activities. There's so much to experience and I want them to try it all, from accordion lessons to zoo keeper camp; both of those are real, by the way.
When I asked my children over the break what they wanted more of in 2017, though, their answer surprised me:
"This. I want more of this," said Sam.
"More of what?" I asked.
"This. Free time. Time to think and play. Also? I'd like to learn to play baseball."
"Yep," Isaac chimed in. "I want to play with my dinosaurs in kinetic sand."
Baseball is more of a commitment than I'm willing to make right now but it was kind of a relief to hear that we have what they want already: time, and in this specific case, dinosaurs and kinetic sand.
I'm reevaluating how to make more of that time, the quality variety not spent cleaning house.
Like a lot of parents, I'm tired. What I don't always remember is that they too are tired. We are tired. You are tired. We have conjugated the verb on exhaustion and now it's time to find energy instead.
How? I can only speak for myself. I think of the Instagram meme that's been circulating since 2014: You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé.
Well, yes and no. Mostly no. I mean, technically yes, but my resources aren't infinite like Queen B and that's okay. The result, though, will be as stunning as I can make it given what I have. That's my resolution for 2017.
Here are the three things I'm trying to make the most of those 24 hours:
Saying "no" more: I know. Every article about maximizing your time gives this same advice. Here's what I'm thinking, though. I'm not declining something just because it's better for me, since that is so rarely a socially acceptable reason. No because someone else would be better suited to do what I would struggle to complete and the end result shows that. Win-win.
Bedtimes all around: We're not a bedtime family. That concept has never worked for us because our work schedules are somewhat strange. My husband works 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days. We have to find a work-around for our kids to see him most nights. Sitting up for dessert isn't it. They need a bedtime. I do too. In my case, respecting my own limits is a big part of that.
Prioritizing: I am good at prioritizing but I can be better. Is laundry a priority over the above-mentioned bedtime? Not anymore. I have to decide what's important and stick with that.
I'll let you know how we progress here with those tactics. Time is the ultimate currency and I want to manage mine, not let it manage me.
If you're looking for coupons, find them here on MetroFamily's site. Also check out Kids Pass for discounts at venues where quality time takes place, like Unpluggits and the Oklahoma History Center. There's always something fun, literally every day, on MetroFamily's calendar too.
If you find something else that works to manage time well this year, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It just might end up shared here!
As for us, we'll be over here playing in the sand.