Getting Out of the House is Worth It - Even if It Feels Impossible

I know these are typical scenarios for just about any parent; it’s my ability to manage them – and my kids – that’s the problem here.

I have a confession to make: most days, I would rather stay home and veg with my kids instead of making the effort to plan any kind of outing. I’m sure this doesn’t place me high on the “moms to watch for inspiration” list, but I cannot tell a lie.

There was a time before we had kids (on the weekends my stepdaughter wasn’t over visiting) when my husband would roll his eyes and get really impatient as I dawdled before leaving for a night out.

“Let me just put on mascara!” *eye roll*

“Shoot, is it cold out? Let me run in and grab a sweater.” *eye roll*

“What?? Someone has to put away this food, otherwise it’ll go bad!” *eye roll and BIG sigh*

My darling husband’s impatience over getting out the door in good time was stressful before having kids. Now, however? Now I often experience literal panic attacks as our kids have meltdowns because of the sweater I chose, or tell us they have to poop, or tell us they’re hungry for lunch at 10:00am, 15 minutes after their morning snack, all as we’re trying to get out the door.

I know these are typical scenarios for just about any parent; it’s my ability to manage them – and my kids – that’s the problem here. And so, my 3-year-old son has never been to the museum to see the dinosaurs, despite dinosaurs basically being his favourite thing ever. I will insist that the work I need to do (that I didn’t finish during the work week) must be done on my kids’ only days off. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary, but it’s easier than trying to get the family out the door to do something.

Yes, I suffer from a high degree of guilt over these types of things. Yes, I am aware that I’m a pretty crappy parent for choosing work as a scapegoat. Yes, I understand that my kids are only going to be young once, and I should be taking advantage of that and making the most of it.

Which is why I’ve started to make some changes.

I am saying “yes” more often. We make the effort to schedule in the kinds of activities that will leave everyone exhausted at the end of the day, with the kids fast asleep in their carseats as we drive home. Hiking, exploring places we’ve never been to, going apple picking, taking the kids to more cultural events, driving the extra 15 minutes to visit friends we haven’t seen in a while. It’s all happening more than it did, even six months ago. I do my best (meaning, I work harder and spend less time on social media) to clear my schedule for the weekend, so that I have no excuses to justify staying home.

The result is that I’m more present for my family, showing up for the moments that count, the memories that will remain long after our kids have grown up. And honestly, those memories are far more important than making an extra $100 here and there.

Does it still feel nearly impossible to get out the door each time we leave the house for one of these memory-making outings? Hell, yes. I still get the panic attacks, still have trouble dealing with all the demands my tiny humans place on us, the moment we say we’re going somewhere. I no longer let that deter me, though, because I know what lies at the end of that dark tunnel of kid insanity: more laughing, happier kids, and quality time with the most important people in my life: my family.

Previously published at Momstown.




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Glynis Ratcliffe used to be an opera singer, but after her daughter begged her to stop singing and be quiet for the millionth time, she decided to use her inside voice and write instead. Now, she’s a freelance writer with bylines at The Washington Post, Chatelaine, Lifehacker, and CBC, as well as being a copywriter and ghostwriter for clients in various industries.