Because I was a single mom for so long, and spent a lot of time just trying to pay for the roof over our head by working full time, part time, and going to college, so I instigated “Forced Family Fun”. When the kids were little we would do something every other week, but as they get older and their schedules more filled, it was more like once a month, and/or during school breaks. It was nothing spectacular, although we tried to make it as magical as possible. It could be playing a game of Yahtzee, going to the movies, attending a museum, etc. And most of the time one of the kids would complain, but in the end we would laugh and have fun.
It was Spring Break 2012 and while most families were heading to Disney, we had other plans. I really wanted to go to the zoo, but Michigan’s weather turned on us with snow, rain and cold temperatures, so instead we ventured to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is called “The Little Bavaria” and is famous for chicken dinners and its small town charm. Some people hate it. Others love it. I’m indifferent. And since we didn’t go to the real zoo, we pretended with the stuffed animals (see pictures). Dumb? Sure. Magical? Absolutely. And just so you know, we didn’t get kicked out of any stores.
Who knew that 8 years later we’d be sequestered to our homes, Spring Break cancelled? Well, everything cancelled due to COVID-19. I think back to when my kids were little and I was broke. I felt so bad I couldn’t give my kids the vacations and breaks like their friends were having. I tried to become as inventive as possible, although I had great kids that never complained or needed to be entertained. They were pretty happy reading a book or playing a video game. I remember only a handful of times they complained they were bored. I do know how blessed I was (and still am).
This time is stressful. Especially for those with kids under 18 years old. At the beginning of our stay home, stay safe orders, it sounded like an amazing time to bond with family, right? Now, I’m hearing from clients they are stressed. Ready to file for a divorce. Screaming at their kids. Unhappy with their own selves. Depression and anxiety is at an all time high. Now forced family fun is simply forced family.
My suggestions to break the stress include:
Make time to give space to everyone.
Everyone needs to pitch in.
Watch your attitude. It’s contagious.
Schedule time together (as if we are in the “real” world).
Have a family meeting on responsibilities (don’t assume).
Keep to a routine.
Make time to laugh.
Watch a comedy together.
Turn on fun music and dance.
Dig out the Wii and bowl.
What are you doing to break the stress?
Keep safe and always keep believing.