If you’re a working parent who longs to stay home with your children, I advise you don’t look at your paycheck too closely. I’m kidding, of course… But be warned–there is a spot on the check that tells you how many hours you’ve worked, year to date. I’ve been a working mom almost a year now, and when my eyes saw that number recently, I had a little panic attack. 1,920. While yes, those 1,920 hours signify many great things–a dedication to hard work and consistency, my husband being able to go to college, new friends, personal and professional growth, being a little more financially stable, my children going to school and making their own connections… all I could think was that those 1,920 hours are 1,920 less hours I have spent with my darling girls.
I will not lie to you and pretend it’s all rosy… it hurts. I cannot imagine how much more it would hurt if I didn’t also love my job.
Getting down on the floor with my girls at the end of a long day and being intentional about keying into their needs, having fun playtime, reading books, having lots of snuggles–those things matter DEEPLY to both me and my kids. They always mattered, but I certainly feel the weight of their importance now that I am with them less.
The same goes for weekends. At the beginning of my time as a working mom, I tried to spend my time at home unplugged and entirely engaged with my daughters, but as something new and strange turned into our same old routine, I slipped back into the habits I had as a stay at home mom–being on my phone too much, letting Stella have too much time on the iPad, and just generally wasting the precious time I had with them.
As working parents, we have to soak up all the goodness out of those two days we spend with our children. So I created this list of 50 Working Parent Weekends. It’s designed for parents who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to have memorable experiences with their young children (0-5 years old) and deepen the bonds through activities and memory-making.
- For each weekend, there is one special activity. This will leave time for other obligations like holidays, extra curricular activities, and family gatherings.
- Obviously there is no way to predict this far in advance what the weather will be like (and some of these, like “rainy day activities” are specific to that type of thing) so rearrange them as you see fit.
- Unplug during these activities. Take pictures if you like, but live in the moment and not be glued to screens.
- Do not be afraid to get messy and dirty and soak up all the sweet moments!
50 Working Parent Weekends
January 7-8 | Create arts and crafts at home
January 14-15 | Warm up and learn inside the Perot Museum
January 21-22 | Cook together. Whether it’s tasty treats to pass out to neighbors, or a special big breakfast or dinner, get the kids in the kitchen and all work together!
January 28-29 | Run through the mall
February 4-5 | Make Valentines for friends/neighbors/family/classmates
February 11-12 | Visit a Playstreet Museum
February 18-19 | Visit your local library
February 25-26 | Explore your town
March 4-5 | Visit the Fort Worth Stockyards
March 11-12 | Go to the Legoland Discovery Center in Grapevine
March 18-19 | Take a trip to a working farm
March 25-26 | First weekend of Spring: nature walk at the Trinity River Audubon Center
April 1-2 | Trip to the Dallas Zoo or Fort Worth Zoo
April 8-9 | Have a picnic in the park
April 15-16 | Easter Weekend: search for Texas wildflowers to take photos, pick, and press
April 22-23 | Rainy day fun — indoors or outdoors
April 29-30 | Hang out at the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival
May 6-7 | Go see a play at Casa Manana (The Little Mermaid) or Dallas Children’s Theater (James and the Giant Peach)
May 13-14 | Mother’s Day weekend: visit the Dallas Arboretum
May 20-21 | Go camping together
May 27-28 | Hike and play at Dinosaur Valley State Park
June 3-4 | Visit your local farmer’s market or community market, obviously we love the Denton Community Market
June 10-11 | Take a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad
June 17-18 | Father’s Day: go to a Texas Rangers or Frisco Rough Riders baseball game
June 24-25 | First weekend of Summer: plan an excursion to the lake
July 1-2 | Have an arty Saturday at the Nasher Sculpture Center
July 8-9 | Visit the Dallas World Aquarium
July 15-16 | Get wet at a splash pad or swimming pool. We love the splash pad at Frisco Commons
July 22-23 | Christmas in July! Give the kids a little surprise gift (wrapped), and go ice skating at the Galleria
July 29-30 | Go to Ikea and walk around, have lunch, and let your kids play at Smaland.
August 5-6 | Experience the Butterfly House Discovery Tour at the Texas Discovery Gardens
August 12-13 | Beat the heat indoors– bake together and have an afternoon tea party
August 19-20 | Bounce around at a trampoline park! Check out Jumpstreet, Altitude, and Urban Air
August 26-27 | Ride the Mckinney Avenue Trolley to Klyde Warren Park to eat, play, and splash
September 2-3 | Labor Day weekend: hammer out a project at a Home Depot kid’s workshop
September 9-10 | Costume day! Drive to a couple children’s consignment stores to get some discounted costumes… for dress up all year round. We love Once Upon A Child or Kid to Kid
September 16-17 | Cheer on the team at a college football game
September 23-24 | First weekend of Autumn: enjoy a dinner picnic at a park, and stay to look at the stars
September 30-October 1 | Day trip to the River Bend Nature Center in Witchita Falls and connect with nature as the weather cools down
October 7-8 | Visit the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch and take pumpkins home to decorate
October 14-15 | Go BIG at the Texas State Fair
October 21-22 | Pick your own apples at Henrietta Creek Orchard
October 28-29 | Halloween weekend: have fun at your local harvest festivals, trunk/trick or treating
November 4-5 | Backyard camping (or actual camping if you’re like us and don’t have a yard)
November 11-12 | Go bike riding as a family
November 18-19 | Volunteer as a family with Wee Volunteer
November 25-26 | Thanksgiving weekend – no activities
December 2-3 | Admire the trains at NorthPark Mall
December 9-10 | Make Christmas cards and cookies to give to those you love
December 16-17 | Go see a movie in theaters
December 23-24 | Christmas Weekend – go look at Christmas lights
December 30-31 | New Year’s Weekend: movie night at home with a tent and hot cocoa