Parents Get to Have Fun, too!

Photo by Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Several years past, Disney spent their advertising dollars to entice the older age group (mature visitors) back to their parks.

Scene: Daughter driving off in VW Bug, headed to college.
Voice-over: “My parents will be so sad when I’m gone. I don’t know what they’ll do.”
Scene: Mom & dad, in full Mickey Mouse regalia, riding the roller coasters at Disney World.

So, when the 19.9 million students (projected student starting figure for 2018) finally leave for college, do mom & dad mourn their leaving?

The wallet probably does. According to this year’s figures, 25.5 Billion – yep, that’s with a ‘B’ will be spent to put kids into university for the first-time, or send those returning students back to the world of academia.

Perhaps a trip to Disney would be a strain on college-shocked budgets, but there must be things Moms & Dads can do to celebrate their freedom.

By this point, you know . . .

  • which movie genre makes your spouse nod off;
  • which restaurant serves a favorite dessert;
  • whether the clack of pool balls or the echo of toppling bowling pins is considered ideal fun.

Plan an evening, or afternoon, that’s a shared vision of adult entertainment.
Then spend the time talking about things beyond your kids.
This is a behavior to rediscover.

Caught up in the thousand and three tasks to get your kid ready for college and the oodles of everyday ‘life’ chores, you and the spouse have more than likely neglected a simple day-away adventure.

Even though my husband is a truck driver, and long road trips can turn into a busman’s holiday, a day jaunt is always a lovely mini-pleasure for him. When possible, I talk him into the navigator’s seat on these trips. It’s a completely different world view from the passenger seat. Try switching up driver/passenger. Listen to a different genre of music. Or a favorite audio book that you’ve both wanted to enjoy.

The key to a successful day trip is to keep the plan simple.
What city/destination/tourist spot is two hours from your home?
What’s within an hour’s drive?
What’s within thirty short minutes from your driveway?

Pick a destination a couple of hours away. Perhaps lunch in a small rural café. Or brunch on the porch of winery. Perhaps a hiking trail that’s best explored in the morning hours.

Then chose another, or two, mini-stop(s) on the way back. It could be the museum on the other side of town. A gallery that’s always caught your attention, but just seems too far for a one-way visit. Maybe a tour of the local ballpark, or even an afternoon game.

The beauty of this plan is the several stop approach. And if you start at the furthest distance and work back toward home, there’s no long drive at the end.

Day trips get-a-ways aren’t required to serve a grand purpose.

Don’t be afraid to pack a simple overnight bag for the two of you. Stopping at a hotel that’s just cross town can be a lovely way to spend an evening.

This is about exploring with your spouse and enjoying adulthood beyond children.
It was several years after my first child had left for college before my husband and I perfected this art-form. It certainly helps if you have ready vacation days that can be spread out during the year.

Many of our fondest ‘couple’ vacation memories have been the 4-day weekend trips. It’s long enough that the sorting & packing can be contained in a couple of suitcases. Destinations can be chosen at random. I mean, it’s only 4-days. After raising kids, you and your spouse both know how to survive four days – fun or not. Throw a dart at a map; pick one city in the state never before visited; listen to water cooler advice on the ‘coolest’ spot to ever vacation. The point is make this an easy get-away and then GET-AWAY.

Your young adult is off in walking the halls of academic greatness. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

Parents deserve their own magical moments.

Don’t worry if Disney is a little beyond the budget. 

From Date Night, to Day-Tripping, to the Mini-Vacation, parents can find plenty to keep occupied.

Now, you get to be the one to tell the kiddo to make certain they clear coming home against YOUR schedule.

Reality is a part of adulthood that is inescapable.
You and your spouse have earned a bit of down time, and your own moments in the sun.
Kids in college can be ‘freeing’ for all.
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