Make a Family Day every week — Mommy Daze

James Watts at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince frederick

FamilyDay02WRecently the hubby and I attended an awesome parenting conference, where we learned about and decided to implement a weekly “Family Day.” The day wasn’t going to be anything fancy, just a day where Daddy was officially off of work (sometimes difficult when you own your own business), and we would go somewhere all together. We also wanted to incorporate a fun memorable activity or game in the day to teach the boys a Bible story. We decided to call our day “Family Fun Faith Day.”

For our first Family Day I tried to keep it simple, a trip to an indoor swim center that I’d taken James to before but never Luke or Daddy. It has an awesome kiddie pool area with slides that even young kids in swim diapers can use (which isn’t the case for most of the indoor pools in Anne Arundel County). James was ecstatic to show his Daddy and little brother his favorite “kiddie pool.”

The swim center is the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Calvert County’s Prince Frederick, about an hour away. We packed up lunches, swimsuits, towels and activities for the car. After a quick stop to grab a hot cup of “save-Mommy’s-sanity” latte, we were on the road.

After a long whiny car ride — where most of the snacks for the ride home were eaten — we finally arrived at our destination. As I walked up to the front desk, I noticed on a white board nearby the words “Kiddie Pool CLOSED.” The young lady at the desk explained a swim class was going on in the kiddie pool but we should be able to use it by around 11:15 a.m. It was 10:45 a.m. so I paid for our passes and headed to the locker rooms to get ready.

The swim center is huge, housing an Olympic sized pool with lap lanes and diving boards, a therapy pool as well as the children’s pool. The instructor of the swim class told us we could use the large pool until they were finished their class. The boys did great, patiently paddling around, even though the oh-so tempting kiddie pool was right next to them with its colorful slides, tall palm tree decorations, floating snake and tipping buckets of water. Around 11:30 a.m., the instructor came over to apologize that she wasn’t able to locate a lifeguard to man the kiddie pool, and had been told one wouldn’t be available until noon.

I tried to remind myself this was all about just being together as a family, and like any patient, understanding mother, I marched back up to the front desk where a different employee confirmed that the kiddie pool wouldn’t be open until noon. I broke the news to my husband, who was now in the process of walking the length of the building with our 1-year-old who had tired of floating in the water.

By noon we had been killing time for over an hour but still there was no lifeguard. At 12:15 p.m., I went to the lifeguard station where a young manager explained that someone hadn’t shown up for work that day. The kiddie pool wouldn’t be open until 1:30 p.m., if at all. My 3-year-old was devastated.FamilyDay01W

Needless to say, our first “Family Fun Faith Day” wasn’t off to the best start. On the upside, we were given enough free passes to bring the whole family back again two times. Despite this particular experience, I do look forward to taking the boys back and would recommend the swim center to friends. I definitely will be calling ahead next time to make sure they’re fully staffed.

That day we were eager to get our sleepy boys home for naps, but we ran into a serious traffic back up. It took almost an extra hour just to get home. Luckily, Luke transferred into his crib, but James was awake after a short snooze in the van. Though we had wanted both boys in on the Bible story activity part of our Family Day, we decided that sometimes you gotta just go with the flow. So only James got to hear the story of Lazarus being brought back to life and his mummy-like wrappings falling off. Justin brought out a roll of toilet paper and we all took turns wrapping each other up like mummies and pretending to have Jesus bring us back to life, tearing out of the wrappings. James had a blast!

That was a great reminder that for me. I sometimes build things up in my mind and get so disappointed when they don’t turn out perfect. But this day was a refreshing splash of cold water (pun intended) to remind me that I have an amazing family. Even when things go wrong we can laugh through it and enjoy each other’s company. That is the best definition of a “Family Fun Faith Day.” But maybe next week we’ll just go to a playground.

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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.