Sunday, 13 July 2014

Breaking out of a weekend rut

Things are changing in our little family. Not in a good or bad way, it's just that we are going through a bit of a transition stage and I don't know about you but I sometimes find them a bit tricky to manoeuvre.

The issue is what we do, or don't do, at weekends. I know, right, how can that be a problem?

You see, when your children are small it's pretty easy to plan things to do at weekends.  The children usually go along with your plans, and a visit to the park or the beach can be planned ahead of time without having to think about their availability. They're kids, so they just do whatever you've arranged pretty much, don't they?

But things change when they're teenagers.  Suddenly they develop their own interests and hobbies, and friends, and their own things to do, and you have to consider that when arranging family stuff at weekends.

The Teenager is always busy and I mean always busy.  She goes to college, does a couple of shifts a week at her part-time job, has a lovely boyfriend and a hectic social life. She's worked blummin' hard this year and I'm not exaggerating when I say we hardly seem to see her these days, as she goes out early, comes home late and sometimes not at all if she's staying over with friends (especially at weekends).  I love that she has such a busy life and she really squeezes as much enjoyment out of it as she can, which is exactly as it should be.

But here's the thing: she's nearly 18 and she's finding her feet as an adult now. She's gearing up to her second year of A Levels and (hopefully) starting at Uni next year so before long she'll away and it'll just be me and Tall Daughter at home.

Even now, it's quite often just the two of us at home and, well, we've got into a bit of a rut. Weekends come and go and we never seem to do very much.  Occasionally TD meets up with friends or goes to the cinema, but she's not as outgoing as her sister who at 14 was always doing something.  I never go out. Ever. But that's another story.

Anyhow, it occurred to me that we weren't planning anything because we were waiting for The Teenager to be available, but as she's rarely around these day we end up doing nothing.

So yesterday I persuaded TD that we should go out for the day, just the two of us.  She was reluctant to go at first, which worried me a bit, and she wanted to spend the day watching TV.  But the weather was 'el Scorchio' so I persuaded her to come out.  We popped into the supermarket for some picnic provisions, then headed straight off to Marbury Park near Northwich.

As it turned out, when we arrived there was a family day on with various stalls, a choir singing and lots of people milling around and dozens of cute dogs.  We stopped at a shady picnic bench, ate our food while chatting, people(and dog)-watching and listening to the choir then headed off for a walk through the woodlands.

We inadvertently took the longest path, and ended up walking for a long way in unsuitable footwear but, even so, it was great to get out in the fresh air.

Cheshire Ice cream farm

Then we piled back in the car and decided on a whim to head off to the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm which was a 30 minute drive away.  We drove through some lovely villages on the way,  and we were rewarded with ice cream at the end of it (honeycomb and caramel for me, chocolate and mint choc chip for TD). Delicious!

Then back home for something to eat and to watch a film together.

It might not seem like a big event, but for us, breaking out of that rut felt good.

It was a lovely to do something spontaneous and TD said she's had a great day, so I was happy.  We talked all day about all sorts of things, especially about what we're going to do for our summer holiday and made plans to do more of the same, especially over the summer.  In fact, we are planning a bit of a road trip. Can't wait.

If you have teenagers, how do you organise your weekends?