I have to admit that while many other parents are getting really excited to share the free family days coming up at various places this summer, I am not one of them. It’s a great idea, and I really wish I was on board….but I’m not. I dread (fear) them.
The idea of a free family day sounds like a day of bliss for me and my family to schedule in some outing that we have been trying to make happen, and it’ll be free. We’ll have a smooth morning with breakfast while the birds chirp through the window, everyone will be up and dressed with shoes on and skipping gleefully out the door, we’ll harmonize our favorite songs in the car, and we will peacefully and happily walk our way straight through the organized line into a day of family bliss. And then reality hits me…or is that the food my kid has thrown (that I didn’t even know they hid for later use) as they fight putting their shoes on (or at least putting them on the correct feet) and we all are tense before we even leave the house. Sound more familiar?
Don’t get me wrong. The idea of free family events used to be alluring, and the idea is great, but my husband and I quickly learned that we would rather pay any amount of money than endure those days. While so many parents are looking forward to these free days, I see those same parents forming the absurd crowds that will fill every inch of a specific venue on each of the specified free days. They will fill the parking lots before you even get there, they will create the lines that you’ll be herded through, or, if you’re an early bird, they’ll just steal all of the space you once thought you had for moving/breathing/enjoying an activity for a second. If you have the patience, love crowds, enjoy waiting in lines, and have a perfect family that easily endures any amount of stress, then these are the days for you. That’s not my husband or I. While we used to think we were patient- we are not. None of us. This is not to say that, for different reasons, we have not gone to family places on the worst days possible, but our schedules only allowed for those days. Those days quickly had similar effects, but we knew what we chose to put ourselves through….still better than a free day. If you’re much more patient (braver) than I am and up for visiting some great places on Free Fun Fridays this summer, please let me know how it goes…and then come back for some of my favorite places.