Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kid Fun = Adult Work

Kids just want to have fun.

Yes, I know the song says, "Girls just want to have fun," but I think I'm pretty safe to generalize and say that boys want to have fun, too. And as parents, we want our kids to have fun. (Oh, sure, not all the time. They do, after all, have to learn responsibility and good work habits--but some occasional fun is good.)

But, before kids can have fun, adults have to put in a lot of work.

Let me give you an example. Have you ever tried to get a kid ready to go outside to play in the snow? All you need to do is find: warm clothes, warm socks, snow pants, snow coat, boots, hat, and gloves/mittens. And once you gather all of these things together, you have to actually get them on your child! (Then multiply that by the number of children you have.)

No, she didn't put that coat on by herself. (She had a little help.)
It takes between 5 and 45 minutes to get each child ready. We have four children, so that means a total of at least 20 minutes to as much as 13 hours to get kids dressed and winterized for what turns out to be 15 minutes of actual outside playing before they have to shed all the clothes to come inside and go to the bathroom. (You think I'm exaggerating on some of those times? You've never tried to get a four year-old into a pair of mittens. "Stick your thumb out. No, not yet. When I get it part way on, then stick your thumb out. Now! Now! Put your thumb out now and get it into the thumb-spot. Is it there? No? Try moving your thumb away from the rest of your fingers. Like this. Okay, are you ready? Put your thumb out...now! No, not your pinkie finger. It needs to be your thumb. Arrghh!!!")

But that's not the only time kid fun = adult work. Have you ever tried to go on swimming with kids? What does a kid need to do? Put on a swimsuit. That's about it. What does a parent need to do? Gather the swimsuits. Get some towels. Don't forget the sunscreen. You'll need some swim diapers. Yes, this pool requires plastic pants to go over the top of the swim diapers. Hats. Some kind of shade. Make sure to bring some water to keep them hydrated. Swim toys? Noodles? Floaties? You did remember the sunscreen, right? A trip to the pool is a lot of work.

We're planning on going to Disneyland this year. The kids are going to have sooooo much fun!!! You know what that means. My wife has been planning this trip for over a year. She's already spent many, many hours trying to find the best deal, getting a good hotel room, and figuring out how to get there and get back. As the time to go gets closer, packing for four kids will take a lot of planning and work. It'll be a fun trip, but it'll also be a lot of work.

Those suitcases don't pack themselves, you know!
Have you ever tried to throw a birthday party for a kid? Lots of fun for them; lots of work for you.

Yes, kids just want to have fun. The problem is, by the time adults do all the work necessary to make fun for their kids, the adults need a vacation. (And vacations are a lot of work!)

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