It’s a long weekend. Not officially, because today is actually a work day for most people, and then tomorrow is Canada Day. But BDH took today as a vacation day so we would have a long weekend.
I love long weekends. I love just relaxing and doing nothing. We both find we like to have the down time, and with BDH’s job sometimes being a 24-hour-a-day job, he really needs it. We just tend to kick back, watch a lot of movies or play video games or some equally mindless entertainment, and relax.
Part of the reason we do so is economic. We, like many adopting parents, are in a cash crunch. We’re a single-income household that has spent (and will continue to spend) a ton of money on our adoption. So while it would be lovely to go up north for a long weekend, or do some home improvements, or any one of a number of other things, we simply cannot afford it.
But that is really quite okay with us. We enjoy quiet time at home, so fighting the traffic and crowds to go somewhere isn’t exactly appealing. And we know that we’d like to have a deck and gates on our yard and a finished basement and whatever else, but it’s not going to be a priority this year. Heck, even my garden is sparse because buying plants is a bit of an extravagance. So we find other inexpensive pursuits close to home.
One thing I have always hated, and continue to dislike, is using days off as a time to work. I see these families spending their time off together working around the house, or rushing to do a million different things. And I don’t get it. People need time to relax. Sure, there will come a time when there are things that have to be done, like yard work or chores or whatever, and weekends and holidays will be the only time to do that. That’s fine. But not ALL the time.
Kids and parents alike need a little down time to recharge and rest and have a little fun. And I believe that there should be an element of fun on a holiday, even if it’s just a day off from school or work. I see kids programmed to within an inch of their lives nowadays, and I don’t think it’s healthy. I remember looking forward to holidays, and the bliss of summer vacations where I could run around and play, and hours spend reading for fun on a weekend… I want my child to experience that.
So fun is big for us here, although sometimes it’s of the “make your own” variety.
We have fun rather cheaply. We play games of various sorts. We play a little volleyball in the yard. We watch movies. I write in Mystery Baby Girl’s life book, or write articles for my sites. I sort through baby stuff. We start to go through the cupboards and freezer and make impromptu meals with whatever we have. (Last night’s dinner? Baked potatoes.) I take long rides on my exercise bike.
It’s going to be this way for a long time, this “no money” thing. Especially if we decide to adopt again in the future. So we’re trying to get good at it.
One thing I worry about is, years from now when she knows the difference, disappointing Mystery Baby Girl because we’re not taking summer vacations or spending lots of money on things. So I figure if we can make time at home fun, figure out simpler pursuits and tasty meals and whatnot, maybe she won’t know. And maybe that way we can save money for a few treats along the way.
That’s one thing my father did well when raising my sisters and myself. We didn’t have a lot of money, although we never knew it. At least, I didn’t. Neither did anyone outside our family. They always thought we were fairly well off. My father put himself and his two oldest kids through university on a single parent budget. And he paid my high-school tuition. And honestly, I never knew we didn’t have money to do whatever we wanted.
So it can be done. And we’re starting now, with these little things.
Days off for us right now are days off from everything: from work, from spending, from worry. And we spend time together, reconnecting after a week of BDH at work or soccer or whatever. It doesn’t cost a lot, and the benefits we get — from relaxing and having fun together — are pretty priceless.