I'm always amazed when my Bible Study moms pull out their calenders so we can schedule a girl's night out. The days are packed! I never really thought about why until Rob came home from his first few days of teaching 4th grade completely defeated. The first words out of my mouth were, "You just have to keep them busy. You can't stop for a minute!" I swear it was like the heavens opened. I got it! I finally understood why I have something solid scheduled for 3 days of the week and fill the others with playdates with whatever friends are available or "special" activities for me and the kids to do.
We have a yearly zoo pass, a stockpile of Chuck E. Cheese tokens, and I even have a list of the kids' favorite places to go that I keep handy for those "I need to get the kids out of the house NOW" moments. Chick-fil-A for breakfast is pretty common since they can play on the playground while I enjoy my coffee, do some Bible Study, or read a good book. The BREC indoor playground has become a favorite place for playdates since it is gated off and there is so much for the kids to do we mommies can have around 3 hours of adult conversation without worrying about children wandering off. I will even go to the mall before it opens since there's no crowd but the mall is open for employees (and those cute mall-walkers).Now I'm not saying you have to spend every single second out of your house. In fact, if you walk into my house at any point during the day it will look like a day care in here! Why? Because it IS a day care!
Our home is where our kids play, learn, and live! We have a playroom upstairs where I keep their "mess". I go up there no more than once a week to clean and the kids can just do what they want to do. BUT that is not the only place we have toys. We have a "play" section in every room of our house. A box of toys will even make it's way into our master bedroom and bathroom on occasion. The kids wander from room to room pulling out whatever they want and rarely put one thing back before getting out something else. And it will stay that way until they go to sleep because I do not follow them around all day picking up the trail of mess behind them. Usually I am on the floor beside them making the mess too. Even though my house may look like a toy store exploded (and most of the toys look like casualties of war), I get more joy at the end of the day looking at this hot mess of a house than I ever did looking around at a house where everything was perfectly in place.
In fact the days when I tried to keep everything perfectly in place were the most stressful, most unenjoyable moments of my entire life. It is literally like trying to follow after a tornado to clean up after it. Not only that, but imagine that after that tornado passes another comes through and then another and another and another. Yeah, spare yourself the stress! Learn to not only love the mess, but learn to help make it!