As I mentioned in a post last week, some friends took us to the Coeur d’Alene Casino for my birthday weekend. We left on Friday morning and returned on Saturday afternoon and I enjoyed every minute of our mini-getaway.
I believe it was the first time that my husband and I had been away together without the kids since our second child was born (and she’ll be six in August). It felt incredibly luxurious to have a room of our own and to get to do grown up things (like drinking and gambling) without regard to how it might affect the children. (We were, however, responsible in terms of setting limits on how much we were willing to spend and sticking with them).
I couldn’t believe how excited I was about the whole event: the road trip with grown-up conversation and beautiful scenery, the minimalist elegance of the hotel, the gourmet meals in the restaurants, and champagne! It made me realize that I don’t often do things that I consider to be fun.
I don’t even generally consider pleasure as a priority when deciding what to do. The most fun things that we generally do as a family are yard-saleing and eating out (each of which we do about once a week and in a scaled-back fashion since I quit my full-time job). My primary form of enjoyment and relaxation during the week is reading and listening to audiobooks. I also enjoy food.
Most of the activities that we engage in beyond that focus on the children. There is school, of course, sports practices and games, camps, workshops and programs, reading, swimming, and the occasional trip to a children’s museum or theme park. Come to think of it, most of those activities focus on learning and developing skills more than they focus on having fun as well.
I think we need to have more fun.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that the members of my family are generally happy and fulfilled, but I’d like us to do more things that have no purpose other than pure pleasure and enjoyment.
In looking at the activities I’ve listed above, only two (reading fiction and theme parks) qualify using this definition of fun. The others all have ulterior motives:
- yard-saleing = acquiring things
- eating out = avoiding the effort of cooking for ourselves
- reading = learning things (at least half of the time, when reading non-fiction)
- food = physical nourishment
- school = learning
- sports practices and games = learning and developing skills
- camps = generally learning some skill
- workshops and programs = learning
- swimming lessons = learning
- children’s museum = learning
I don’t mean to say that there is anything wrong with learning or accomplishing something else while having fun. I’m just concerned that maybe I don’t prioritize the “fun factor” enough in determining how we should spend our time.
I think I’ll get my kids involved with creating a list of things to do this summer that would be fun and frivolous, and we’ll add them to the mix of things that we’ve already planned to do that will be fun and productive. And I think I’ll also make more of an effort to get away from the kids every now and then, either with my husband or on my own, and find things that are nothing but fun for me to do as well.