dadventure: /dədˈventʃər/ (noun): contraction of dad and adventure; a time for adventure with dad; positive and meaningful moments with one’s father. ex) Today, the girls went on a dadventure to the trampoline park, the Dollar Tree, and McDonalds!
It is no secret in or outside of my family circle — my girls are obsessed with me. They love to be with me whenever possible: trips to Target, cuddled on the couch watching movies, adventures to the public library, playing in the pool, visiting the zoo, trips to Target (yes, I wrote that twice), reading bedtime stories, kneeling outside the door to the bathroom trying to wedge their fingers and toes through the crack between the door and the floor. You name it, they want to be there with mama.
As I’ve written before, it is both wonderful and exhausting. And while I treasure the memories I create with them and the bond I build with them, I can’t help but worry that something is missing. Their relationship with their father is not as developed, and this could be for a number of reasons. They’re girls, he’s not. I teach school and spend my summers orbiting around them, he works full time, year round. They love all things Disney, I love all things Disney, he tolerates our love of all things Disney. Regardless of the reason, I don’t want my girls to not have positive memories and abundant time with their dad.
My solution? The dadventure. Regular and meaningful outings and adventures with dad!
For now, I plan them. I’m good at it, I know what they like, and it makes things feel less stressful for him. So I come up with a series of mini adventures they can do with him. First, something physical: a trip to the playground, the trampoline park, the rock climbing gym, a children’s museum, an amusement/arcade center. Then, something rewarding: the Dollar Tree, 5 Below, or the Target Dollar Spot, with a budget of $5-10 per girl (this is the real hero moment for him). Then, nourishment: fast food, pizza, a fun restaurant, or even making/cooking a meal together. In all, it’s anywhere from three to four hours of dad-led, dad-driven fun. They return exhausted (all three) and full of fun experiences and memories.
The best part is, during the dadventure I get some solitude. Peace and quiet. A time to pee alone, with only the cat and dog awaiting my departure from the bathroom. I use this time in a variety of ways: One afternoon I cleaned our playroom in the basement, clearing out old toys the girls had outgrown and organizing the toys they still use. Another time I binge-watched my favorite show. I might take a walk. A jog. Do yoga. Take a nap. The options are endless. I may even get myself a pedicure and massage on one of these dadventure days.
In our home, the dadventure is a win/win day. I get a break, and my girls bond with their father. He becomes more than a disciplinarian. When they come home, they are brimming with excitement, descriptions of the afternoon’s adventure spilling out of them more quickly than their mouths can handle. In the end, dad is a hero, and mom is refreshed.