Did y’all ever get the occasional Sunday Fun Day in before kids? It was this delicious, snuck-in extra bit of freedom and fun. Whether we went to the driving range, had dinner with friends, or stopped by a beer garden, it was enough of a break in our routine that it made the weekend feel like a little vacation rather than simply a chance to catch up on laundry and errands before the work week started all over again.
Once we had kids, the thought of being able to blow off responsibilities on a Sunday afternoon seemed harder- and somehow more irresponsible- than before. There was more laundry, more cleaning, more prepping for the week, and let’s be serious, corralling your kids can take a lot of the “fun” out of a Sunday Fun Day very quickly.
How We Got Our Sunday Fun Day Groove Back
When we moved back to Pensacola in January of 2018 we were still waiting to close on our house, so we ended up staying at the beach for several weeks. One of my dearest friend’s parents invited us for a “welcome home” lunch at Paradise Grill the week after we got back. It’s their tradition, especially in the winter, to go out for lunch and bushwackers on Sundays, and we happily joined in that tradition for the duration of our beach stay. But once we got settled into our house in town and our new routine, Sunday lunches on the beach started to fall by the wayside.
One of those weekends when we had to miss the lunch date, the beach sounded so nice that we decided to go out for an early dinner after naps. We rolled into Paradise around 4, just in time to catch the last couple hours of the band. My son, Charlie, loves to dance and be the star of the show, so he ran out on the dance floor as soon as we walked in. Next thing I knew, we were actually getting to sit back, relax, and enjoy bushwackers together while he was cutting a rug with some new friends. We had dinner (which nobody had to cook or clean up), wore him out, and we were still home in plenty of time for a bath, bedtime, and even a little prep for the week ahead.
The light bulb went off: Sunday Fun Day is totally doable with the family!
It looks different than it did when we were footloose and kid-free, but it is still the same refreshing break before Monday morning that can actually help you feel a little more ready to take on the week.
So, for the Sundays that you just need a little more “weekending,” here are some ideas:
Restaurants on the beach are BUILT for meals with kids. Most have full playgrounds (think Flounder’s and Peg Leg Pete’s), or at least space for the kids to run around within eyesight of your table. Red Fish Blue Fish even has lawn games set up – whether your kids have any idea how to play or not, it’s always fun to throw some corn hole bags around! They’re open-air and noisy enough for dining with your children when they aren’t exactly sitting quietly at the table. And eating outside means the food your toddler drops on the ground turns into a nice snack for the birds instead of a mess to clean up! While we’d been to these spots countless times before while spending a day or a staycation on the beach, going out on a Sunday afternoon without the crowds or the whole swimsuit/sunscreen routine was a game-changer.
Quarantine/Social Distancing Edition
My three-year-old actually has been great about wearing his mask… while he runs up to strangers and gives them a hug because he’s SO DARN EXCITED to see someone new. Needless to say, we haven’t been going to a ton of restaurants in the last few months. So while you’re at home-
Set a time to put down the chores and get everyone outside. Take the pressure off yourself for dinner- maybe that night it’s hot dogs, a frozen pizza, or takeout.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings, when we were kids, was “My favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations.”
Bust out that kiddie pool or sprinkler or whatever you have that will be a fun treat for the kids! Here’s a great place for ideas from our sister site Toledo Mom Collective: The Backyard is Where It’s At.
Take It to a Park
If you’re feeling jazzy, take that easy dinner somewhere nearby for a picnic – it’s amazing what a change of venue can do to help you unwind. Most city parks have benches or picnic tables, so you don’t even need to worry about bringing the blanket and chairs. Seville Square, Palafox Pier, and Community Maritime Park all have incredible views of the water or check out the Pensacola Mom Collective Guide to Parks and Playgrounds for a listing of our favorite parks.
Sunday routines and preparing for the week are a lifesaver with kids. But every once in a while, take the afternoon to just have some fun. Relish those few extra hours of kicking back and relaxing- and enjoy that Sunday Fun Day feeling again!