Author Topic: Family fun when you don't like where you live?  (Read 1293 times)

startingsmall

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Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« on: August 19, 2017, 02:13:17 PM »
tl;dr - Days off work make me grumpy because I can't think of anything fun to do and waste all day surfing the internet. I want to fix that. I need ideas, inspiration, etc.

For example, I worked this morning. When I got home, at 1pm, my 5 yr old daughter was watching cartoons and my husband had just finished working on a home repair project. He took a shower while I ate lunch, then he fell asleep on the couch from 1:30-3pm, when he got called into work for a bit. Since arriving home, I've been playing on my computer and doing some laundry. My daughter is still watching TV.

YUCK.

The problem, in my mind, is that there's nothing appealing to do in our area. I've already commuted 45 minutes each way to work today, so I don't want to do a lot of driving. The nearby Things I Enjoy Doing With My Kiddo & Husband though, basically include:
- go to the mountains (1.5-2 hr drive each way)
- go biking on the closest greenway (45 minute drive each way for only a 5 mile bike path, so 1.5 hrs driving for a 10-mile ride)
- do something in the nearby city (nothing specific that I can think of, but there are some options.... yet that's a 1 hr drive each way)
- go to a park/playground (the nearby ones are completely uninviting dirt lots... the nearest somewhat-enjoyable park is ~40 minutes each way)

Spending 1.5 hrs in the car for a 1-hr bike ride doesn't sound very fun... likewise for spending 1 hr in the car to visit a park that's in full sun on a 90-degree day.  We tend to go the mountains if it's a day that we're both off work and otherwise free (no freelance work or urgent housework), but I still try to limit that to no more than once every couple of weeks because it's a lot of driving.

Within a 30-minute drive, the options basically include Walmart, going out to eat, one short bike/hike trail (I don't really feel comfortable taking my daughter there without my husband because it's in kind of a weird area where a lot of sketchy-looking guys tend to go fishing and there's no cell service... I'll go alone, but don't feel comfortable taking her), or staying at home.

We've talked about moving out of this area, but that's probably at least a few years away. Until then, I need a strategy to keep me from wasting Saturdays (and other days off) on the couch, because that just makes me miserable. Any suggestions?  I'd like to (and kind of feel obligated to) spend the time with my husband and daughter, since I work FT and am not home with them very much, but there's just NOTHING to do that I can come up with. They're both perfectly happy to sit at home and watch TV all day.... so maybe I just need to find my own thing to do on the weekends? But that just seems bad.

My husband's family lives nearby; we usually spend Sundays with them. We have no friends in this area (literally, the only people we spend time with outside of work hours is my husband's family), so there isn't anything social to do. (I have one former coworker with a kiddo my daughter's age, so we do playdates for the kiddos every few months... but the mom & I are pretty different, our husbands are completely different, and we work opposite work schedules so it's not quite what I'd consider a friendship).

Anyway, I guess I'm kind of having a pity party over here. Anyone have any ideas, inspiration, facepunches, etc? I've been sitting on the couch for three hours and I'm starting to go crazy... but I can't think of anything to do, probably because I'm too wrapped up in my frustration/pity-party/etc to see completely obvious options.

Help!!

ETA: I realize that we could just go play outside (although that's not a great option right now, due to the fact that our back deck is currently in pieces all over the backyard). I'm one of those people who really likes to get out of the house, though.... any ideas?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 05:45:31 PM by startingsmall »

Roger D

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2017, 03:09:03 PM »
- go to a park/playground (the nearby ones are completely uninviting dirt lots... the nearest somewhat-enjoyable park is ~40 minutes each way)

Perhaps you would find it rewarding to start a community group to upgrade your closest dirt-lot/park/playground. This will give you something rewarding to do locally, and eventually it will give you a great local park too!

GuitarStv

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 03:19:57 PM »
You don't mention what age your child is, but it's pretty easy to entertain our 4 year old son in the backyard.
- Grow some plants (this gift keeps on giving, digging, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, cleaning up the bed for winter)
- look for bugs (maybe keep 'em in a jar for a couple days and try to figure out their habits/what they like to eat)
- just go for a walk or bike ride in the neighbourhood
- have a water fight
- get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the driveway
- play ball in the back yard
- go collecting rocks (then you can look up the rocks to try to identify them)
- build a snowman/rake leaves and jump in them
- build a bird feeder and then watch the birds
- build an outdoors Fort/playhouse/treehouse/put up a tent

startingsmall

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2017, 06:28:09 PM »
You don't mention what age your child is, but it's pretty easy to entertain our 4 year old son in the backyard.
- Grow some plants (this gift keeps on giving, digging, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, cleaning up the bed for winter)
- look for bugs (maybe keep 'em in a jar for a couple days and try to figure out their habits/what they like to eat)
- just go for a walk or bike ride in the neighbourhood
- have a water fight
- get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the driveway
- play ball in the back yard
- go collecting rocks (then you can look up the rocks to try to identify them)
- build a snowman/rake leaves and jump in them
- build a bird feeder and then watch the birds
- build an outdoors Fort/playhouse/treehouse/put up a tent

Thanks for the suggestions! We did take a short walk today, but walk/bike opportunities around here are somewhat limited... we live on a dead-end road that's less than 1/4 mile long, directly off a 45-mph curvy country highway that isn't really appropriate for walking/biking with kids. (Not really appropriate for adults, either, but I do it sometimes when I'm alone!) We also drew with chalk in the driveway a bit.

I guess maybe I'm just expecting too much for this stage in life? I have friends who live in more interesting locations that tell me about taking their kids to parks, going hiking every weekend, etc. If we lived in my hometown (where I'm hoping we'll move in a few years), that's probably what we'd be doing... because there's a lot of public space, state parks, and beaches all within a 20-minute drive. I just struggle with living somewhere so isolated. And yet, despite that isolation, we don't have many of the perks that accompany more rural living.... because we're on a street of cookie-cutter houses with well-manicured, well-landscaped lots. No rocks or anything around here.

Anyway, reading your suggestions makes me feel like maybe my hopes are too high and I'm being unreasonable. And maybe I am. Thank you!

- go to a park/playground (the nearby ones are completely uninviting dirt lots... the nearest somewhat-enjoyable park is ~40 minutes each way)

Perhaps you would find it rewarding to start a community group to upgrade your closest dirt-lot/park/playground. This will give you something rewarding to do locally, and eventually it will give you a great local park too!

That specifically isn't something I'm really interested in, but I have a TON of volunteer projects that I'd love to get involved in. At the same time, though, I feel really guilty taking time away from my family to volunteer when I'm already working a FT job and away from home 45-50 hrs/wk. Volunteering on Saturdays, our one and only "family day" (husband is a pastor so Sunday is a work day) seems selfish. Am I being silly? SHOULD I be taking more time for myself? Do most parents do that? I feel like I have friends with young children who always seem to be doing cool/exciting things solo (hiking, biking, trail running, going out with the girls/guys, etc) while the other takes a turn staying home with the kids, but I assumed that was just Facebook-bias talking and not actually reality.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 06:30:00 PM by startingsmall »

sehr

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2017, 07:52:44 PM »
I think you should volunteer. You specifically wrote "I need a strategy to keep me from wasting Saturdays (and other days off) on the couch, because that just makes me miserable." I understand the guilt of being away from home even more, but it's no fun to be miserable (also no fun to be around someone who is miserable) so you might as well go for it. You're not moving anytime soon so you must find SOMETHING that gives you life. Just think what you would want your daughter to do if she were in your shoes because how you shape your life is her main example. Plus, it's not like you have to do it every weekend, right?

I too live in an area that is more isolated than I like. It can make it way too easy to just give up and sit on the couch. If you do find it too difficult to get out the door and into the car what are some things you like to do inside? Read a book? Bake? Do you know all your neighbors? Having relationships is super important to having a life worth living, IMHO. Especially if you happen to be Christian because the basis of the religion is that we are designed for relationship. If you can bring yourself to do it, perhaps you and your daughter could make things like cookies and give them to your neighbors and try to get to know them better? Also, don't give up praying. I will pray for you.

startingsmall

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 08:04:43 PM »
I think you should volunteer. You specifically wrote "I need a strategy to keep me from wasting Saturdays (and other days off) on the couch, because that just makes me miserable." I understand the guilt of being away from home even more, but it's no fun to be miserable (also no fun to be around someone who is miserable) so you might as well go for it. You're not moving anytime soon so you must find SOMETHING that gives you life. Just think what you would want your daughter to do if she were in your shoes because how you shape your life is her main example. Plus, it's not like you have to do it every weekend, right?

I too live in an area that is more isolated than I like. It can make it way too easy to just give up and sit on the couch. If you do find it too difficult to get out the door and into the car what are some things you like to do inside? Read a book? Bake? Do you know all your neighbors? Having relationships is super important to having a life worth living, IMHO. Especially if you happen to be Christian because the basis of the religion is that we are designed for relationship. If you can bring yourself to do it, perhaps you and your daughter could make things like cookies and give them to your neighbors and try to get to know them better? Also, don't give up praying. I will pray for you.

We do know our neighbors and occasionally will chat with them if we happen to be outside, but most of them are substantially older than us and therefore it isn't a very "social" relationship, if that makes sense. Also, they all know that my husband is a pastor which, for that generation, means that they always view him as "on duty." (Hopefully that makes sense? They come to us with prayer requests, but it isn't really a two-way relationship.)

My favorite activity for at home is reading, but I have a hard time doing that in the room with a rambunctious 5 year old and the television. Sometimes, I can convince her to play in her kiddie pool for a while as I sit in the shade and read.... but with our back deck all torn up right now, that has temporarily become a less appealing option.

Poundwise

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2017, 06:23:29 AM »
+1 on volunteering. You can volunteer in a way that benefits both you and others!

A few years ago, I was miserable with our urban location for a number of reasons.  Although we didn't lack for fun things to do in the NY metro area, there were still many issues.  Some things I helped do while I was there was (1) organize a play area for kids in the function room of our apartment building; (2) Persuade a local business (like Gymboree) to open a kid space in our neighborhood; (3) get big into the PTA and organize festivals, field days,  author readings, etc. that benefited not only my child but also many others. I couldn't afford to do all the fun things that other people were doing on weekends, but I was busy and happy.

It sounds like your child is about to go into kindergarten? You may feel less lonely once she gets to school,  and you start meeting the parents of her classmates.  If you are bored, probably the parents of the children at your daughter's school are equally bored.

That doesn't solve the problem of fun things to do with just your family, but networking with other parents might give you some good ideas.


sehr

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 08:31:26 AM »

We do know our neighbors and occasionally will chat with them if we happen to be outside, but most of them are substantially older than us and therefore it isn't a very "social" relationship, if that makes sense. Also, they all know that my husband is a pastor which, for that generation, means that they always view him as "on duty." (Hopefully that makes sense? They come to us with prayer requests, but it isn't really a two-way relationship.)

My favorite activity for at home is reading, but I have a hard time doing that in the room with a rambunctious 5 year old and the television. Sometimes, I can convince her to play in her kiddie pool for a while as I sit in the shade and read.... but with our back deck all torn up right now, that has temporarily become a less appealing option.

I was thinking that being the pastor's wife might make social relationships a bit complicated, but I didn't want to assume. I was recently at a retreat and there was a PW from another church was in my breakout group and she confessed that it was the first time that she's been able to be open and honest with a group of women since her husband has been a their current church because she's always stuck in the pastor wife roll.

You mentioned that your neighbors are older. Do you think you neighborhood might be on the tipping point of turning over and you might get some young families moving in? Also, I did meet some other moms when my youngest started kindergarten. There are definitely other parents out there in your shoes. 

Stachetastic

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2017, 09:38:16 AM »
I also vote for volunteering, but with your family. I also live in a pretty isolated area, and we have a local humane society, a dog pound, and several food banks that all welcome adults and kids to volunteer.

 Is your daughter involved in any activities, such as a Saturday morning soccer league? Swim lessons? Do you have a nearby YMCA? Does your local library offer much kids programming?

Poundwise

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 09:59:51 AM »
I also want to add that you don't have to get caught up in the rat race of keeping up with FB friends.  In fact that's kind of a core value of this forum, isn't it? Enjoy your quiet weekend at home reading and don't feel like you need to consume. 

If you get satisfaction from projects, look into crafts like knitting, gardening, extreme baking, furniture restoration (look to see if there are any estate sales nearby), raising chickens or wildlife rescue, setting up an aquarium, fossil hunting... and your child (and maybe husband) will be delighted to join in!   Just last week my sons spotted a gigantic cluster of mushrooms that we thought might be delicious Hen-of-the-woods, but we weren't sure.  This all culminated in our joining a local mycological society, and we are now looking forward to going mushroom hunting in the fall.  We also have gotten chummy with one of my son's friend's mothers, and she knows where all the local spots to go fishing are. I know it is hard when you are working full time, but the fun is out there if you keep your eyes open!

Dee18

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 10:34:26 AM »
5 is the perfect age for a child to really begin learning life skills including preparing food, washing a car, doing laundry, washing outdoor furniture, cleaning a kitchen.  At the age most children enjoy doing what they will eventually consider chores.  And anything outdoors with a hose is particularly fun in August, as splashing each other usually delights kids. Best of all, your child will learn skills so she can be helpful in the future. 

For an activity that provides exercise outside at home, you and your child could create a temporary "obstacle course."  Using things from around the house, make a circuit with activities like jumping from one place to another, stepping up and down off of a chair 3 times, throwing 5 tennis balls into a nearby box, etc.  5 is also the perfect age for having some sort of fort or playhouse.  I was lazy and found one for $20 at Goodwill, but you could also build a very inexpensive, temporary one to create a special play area. (I hate, hate to admit this....but when my daughter was 3 and 4 I sometimes took her to a McDonalds play place early on Saturdays so I could read for 30 minutes.) you might also try creating spaces for your child for her to play quietly at home....maybe a small table with paper, colored pencils, index card, scissors and tape (all cheap at back to school specials).  You can even use a clock or timer and tell her you both will have quiet time for 20 minutes. 

You could also try skating...either both of you or you skating while your daughter rides a bike. 1/4 mile of road is plenty for this.

The red flag in your original post for me is the tv.  I would put the tv away for a while so new patterns would develop, but your spouse may not go along with that.  Perhaps you and your husband could agree on a very limited amount of tv viewing for your child.  For many people, TV viewing means being motionless for extended periods of time...leaving one cranky and restless.  At the same time, it's so visually and aurally stimulating that other things seem dull by comparison. 

I empathize with your situation as I also live in a place for which I am not well matched.  But before long your daughter will be old enough to engage in many more activities, such as volunteering.  Until then I am sorry you probably can't take advantage of one of my options when I was most desperate for "me" time as a single mom: dropping my 2 year old off at the church nursery and going for a long walk nearby. :)

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 10:42:39 AM »
Firstly: Life, it's not that great.

Once you can accept that, and accept yourself, you may find yourself feeling less guilty about what you should or shouldn't be doing, and just be with what you're doing. And sometimes, if you can accept yourself without the pressure of the guilt, you may find your spirit more moved to do other things than just sit on the couch.

Maybe.

Also, yes, go volunteer, your family will be fine without you. Also enthusiasm is contagious, so if you can allow yourself to be moved by your interests without the guilt of family-shoulds, then I think good things will happen.
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startingsmall

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 01:24:15 PM »
So many good replies in here... thank you, guys!! Lots of food for thought. 

Let me try to address a few things...

It sounds like your child is about to go into kindergarten? You may feel less lonely once she gets to school,  and you start meeting the parents of her classmates.  If you are bored, probably the parents of the children at your daughter's school are equally bored.

That doesn't solve the problem of fun things to do with just your family, but networking with other parents might give you some good ideas.

I DO hope that her starting kindergarten will help, at least a little. If we have places to take her on Saturdays, then we'll do less sitting around. Unfortunately, I don't know how many of the other parents experience the same type of boredom that I experience. While I realize that I am hugely oversimplifying/overgeneralizing, there are some observations I've made about this town -  a small/rural town in the South. The overwhelming majority of individuals who live in this area grew up in this area, so they have established friendships/family/routines/etc in the area.Therefore, they may already have busy social calendars. I moved to this area ~10 yrs ago, and this particular town just last year, so I don't know anyone. My husband grew up here, but he's a bigtime introvert and doesn't really socialize with anyone outside of what's required for his role.

The other issue, and probably the bigger issue, is that I just really don't fit in here. In this area, very few people (especially women) have a college education, few people read books for fun (aside from occasionally some romance/murder-mystery type stuff), and 85% voted for the political candidate that I did NOT vote for. (Not to say that I can't be friends with people across the political divide, but around here it's assumed that certain topics - like making fun of the protesters in Charlottesville, for example - are fine for social conversation because SURELY everyone agrees that they're just crazy liberals.... while, in areas with a more 50/50 split, I feel like conversations are more likely to either steer away from those topics or at least acknowledge the possibility for disagreement. Here, especially with my husband's role as a pastor, I'm required to hide my liberal status as much as possible.... and since I'm a pretty opinionated, outspoken person, that's incredibly difficult for me.) I could go on and on, but let's just say that I've met very few women here that I connect with. I'm a fan of math and science, I out-earn my husband, I don't know how to cook, I like to read books, etc... my husband's congregation & even some members of his family talk openly about how "weird" and I am because I don't bake or knit or enjoy shopping or wear costume jewelry or wear heavy makeup or 'style' my hair or pay attention to small-town gossip or attend MLM parties or anything like that. I'm definitely regarded as kind of an oddity around here.

I'm a progressive woman in a very conservative community and, aside from my mother-in-law, I haven't yet connected with anyone else "like me" here. (She plays the part of a Southern, small-town woman much more effectively than I ever could... but she has opened up recently about the fact that she doesn't feel any more sense of connection to this town than I do!) Maybe I'll make some actual friends as I meet kindergarten parents? Hopefully? Trying to remain optimistic but I've been here for years and it's hard to keep up hope.

Wow. That turned into a bigger vent than I expected. Sorry.

I was thinking that being the pastor's wife might make social relationships a bit complicated, but I didn't want to assume. I was recently at a retreat and there was a PW from another church was in my breakout group and she confessed that it was the first time that she's been able to be open and honest with a group of women since her husband has been a their current church because she's always stuck in the pastor wife roll.

Yes, it definitely makes social relationships complicated. It's not just within our church, but within the whole community.... because this is a small, Southern town where the church is basically the basis of community. Everything that comes out of my mouth, even at work (which is in another town 45 minutes away, with people who have never even MET my husband!) is judged through the lens of me being a PW. And people's behavior around me is also influenced through that lens - they don't let their guard down with me.

I have some childhood friends from my hometown and some random internet friends that I met through a high-IQ-society group that I can actually have real conversations with. Everything I say in local interactions, though, is pretty carefully edited.

Is your daughter involved in any activities, such as a Saturday morning soccer league? Swim lessons? Do you have a nearby YMCA? Does your local library offer much kids programming?

Her current activities at the YMCA are on weekday evenings, and her dad takes her because I'm at work. Minimal programming at the library. But hopefully, as others have pointed out, things will change as she starts kindergarten?

I also want to add that you don't have to get caught up in the rat race of keeping up with FB friends.  In fact that's kind of a core value of this forum, isn't it? Enjoy your quiet weekend at home reading and don't feel like you need to consume. 

This is probably a valid point. I don't want to "consume".... just to be able to go for a family bike ride or a hike or something. I'm really not a crafty/project-motivated sort of person - I'm more the type who enjoys getting out into nature and frustrated by the lack of available opportunities to do so. So while I don't think it's a FB-rat-race thing, I guess that's certainly possible. It's more an issue of thinking back to all of the fun things that I've done at other times in my life, while living in different locations, and being frustrated by the difficulties associated with engaging in those same activities here.

A local mycological society sounds amazing, though. I don't think there's anything like that in our town and not sure if it's worth trying to be part of a group in the bigger city (an hour away), but I'll definitely look into it! I've signed up to volunteer with our state department of wildlife resources and I've done a tiny bit of work with them, but they don't have any projects in my area. Even if I'm available and willing to drive a few hours, it hasn't been consistent enough to keep me feeling busy/fulfilled.

You could also try skating...either both of you or you skating while your daughter rides a bike. 1/4 mile of road is plenty for this.

The red flag in your original post for me is the tv.  I would put the tv away for a while so new patterns would develop, but your spouse may not go along with that.  Perhaps you and your husband could agree on a very limited amount of tv viewing for your child.  For many people, TV viewing means being motionless for extended periods of time...leaving one cranky and restless.  At the same time, it's so visually and aurally stimulating that other things seem dull by comparison. 

Our road is one big hill, so I'm pretty sure I'd face-plant if I tried skating... may be worth a try, though! And I agree that the TV is a major concern. I recently changed my work schedule so I'd have more Saturdays at home - I used to work 8-6 every Saturday and my daughter spent every single Saturday watching TV while my husband napped on the couch. I decided to take Saturdays off, thinking it would give us more time to do things as a family. I think that's why I have so much frustration with myself for falling into the same pattern. Getting rid of the TV is a no-go, unfortunately, but I need to get her away from it more.

Firstly: Life, it's not that great.

Once you can accept that, and accept yourself, you may find yourself feeling less guilty about what you should or shouldn't be doing, and just be with what you're doing. And sometimes, if you can accept yourself without the pressure of the guilt, you may find your spirit more moved to do other things than just sit on the couch.

Maybe.

Also, yes, go volunteer, your family will be fine without you. Also enthusiasm is contagious, so if you can allow yourself to be moved by your interests without the guilt of family-shoulds, then I think good things will happen.

Interesting perspective. I do tend to sometimes have excessively high expectations for myself and others. I'll sit with your perspective for a little while and see if it helps!

Thank you all again and keep the good advice coming!! This is exactly what I was looking for - some helpful suggestions, some ways to reframe the question, and a couple of well-deserved facepunches!

GuitarStv

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2017, 06:20:24 AM »
You don't mention what age your child is, but it's pretty easy to entertain our 4 year old son in the backyard.
- Grow some plants (this gift keeps on giving, digging, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, cleaning up the bed for winter)
- look for bugs (maybe keep 'em in a jar for a couple days and try to figure out their habits/what they like to eat)
- just go for a walk or bike ride in the neighbourhood
- have a water fight
- get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the driveway
- play ball in the back yard
- go collecting rocks (then you can look up the rocks to try to identify them)
- build a snowman/rake leaves and jump in them
- build a bird feeder and then watch the birds
- build an outdoors Fort/playhouse/treehouse/put up a tent

Thanks for the suggestions! We did take a short walk today, but walk/bike opportunities around here are somewhat limited... we live on a dead-end road that's less than 1/4 mile long, directly off a 45-mph curvy country highway that isn't really appropriate for walking/biking with kids. (Not really appropriate for adults, either, but I do it sometimes when I'm alone!) We also drew with chalk in the driveway a bit.

I guess maybe I'm just expecting too much for this stage in life? I have friends who live in more interesting locations that tell me about taking their kids to parks, going hiking every weekend, etc. If we lived in my hometown (where I'm hoping we'll move in a few years), that's probably what we'd be doing... because there's a lot of public space, state parks, and beaches all within a 20-minute drive. I just struggle with living somewhere so isolated. And yet, despite that isolation, we don't have many of the perks that accompany more rural living.... because we're on a street of cookie-cutter houses with well-manicured, well-landscaped lots. No rocks or anything around here.

Anyway, reading your suggestions makes me feel like maybe my hopes are too high and I'm being unreasonable. And maybe I am. Thank you!

It is a myth that kids need to be entertained, or brought to manufactured 'fun' locations.  If you give 'em a couple rocks and a stick they'll eventually figure out how to play with them and have a good time.  Much more important is simply giving them a balance of attention and space.

startingsmall

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2017, 07:09:41 AM »
You don't mention what age your child is, but it's pretty easy to entertain our 4 year old son in the backyard.
- Grow some plants (this gift keeps on giving, digging, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, cleaning up the bed for winter)
- look for bugs (maybe keep 'em in a jar for a couple days and try to figure out their habits/what they like to eat)
- just go for a walk or bike ride in the neighbourhood
- have a water fight
- get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the driveway
- play ball in the back yard
- go collecting rocks (then you can look up the rocks to try to identify them)
- build a snowman/rake leaves and jump in them
- build a bird feeder and then watch the birds
- build an outdoors Fort/playhouse/treehouse/put up a tent

Thanks for the suggestions! We did take a short walk today, but walk/bike opportunities around here are somewhat limited... we live on a dead-end road that's less than 1/4 mile long, directly off a 45-mph curvy country highway that isn't really appropriate for walking/biking with kids. (Not really appropriate for adults, either, but I do it sometimes when I'm alone!) We also drew with chalk in the driveway a bit.

I guess maybe I'm just expecting too much for this stage in life? I have friends who live in more interesting locations that tell me about taking their kids to parks, going hiking every weekend, etc. If we lived in my hometown (where I'm hoping we'll move in a few years), that's probably what we'd be doing... because there's a lot of public space, state parks, and beaches all within a 20-minute drive. I just struggle with living somewhere so isolated. And yet, despite that isolation, we don't have many of the perks that accompany more rural living.... because we're on a street of cookie-cutter houses with well-manicured, well-landscaped lots. No rocks or anything around here.

Anyway, reading your suggestions makes me feel like maybe my hopes are too high and I'm being unreasonable. And maybe I am. Thank you!

It is a myth that kids need to be entertained, or brought to manufactured 'fun' locations.  If you give 'em a couple rocks and a stick they'll eventually figure out how to play with them and have a good time.  Much more important is simply giving them a balance of attention and space.

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm less concerned about my kid having fun and more concerned about ME having fun! I posted in this subforum, though, because 'fun activities' are typically different for parents vs. non-parents.

Kl285528

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2017, 07:29:57 AM »
Honest to goodness, you need to move. 10 years in the type of area you are describing, nothing is going to change. I grew up in a small town in the South. Could not wait to move away from there for the same reasons you describe. Happiest day of my life was going to college as a freshman, where finally I got to be around tons of intelligent human beings.

mrsmeganmustache

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2017, 07:48:19 AM »
Maybe focus on doing more (budget friendly) vacations?

Free Spirit

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2017, 07:54:52 AM »
<snip> I don't know how to cook </snip>

This is something you could totally learn and it would be fun for your daughter as well. Learning to cook is a valuable skill, how great that you have this opportunity to learn with your daughter.  Also, cooking uses math, might not be the most complicated math but it's still an opportunity to teach your child something you enjoy. Bonus, you get to eat your creations! :)

NeonPegasus

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2017, 07:58:31 AM »
Honest to goodness, you need to move. 10 years in the type of area you are describing, nothing is going to change. I grew up in a small town in the South. Could not wait to move away from there for the same reasons you describe. Happiest day of my life was going to college as a freshman, where finally I got to be around tons of intelligent human beings.

+1

That sounds like where I went to middle and high school. I hated it and was so glad to get out.

You say your back deck is currently in pieces all over your back yard. That strikes me as the number 1 activity for you and your daughter to tackle. I suppose if it's being rebuilt by contractors, it'll be completed soon and will be a moot point. Otherwise, it's a DIY project and all three of you should be getting that show on the road. She's not too young. My daughters helped DH and I rebuild our deck when they were that age. If it's not being rebuilt, you can repurpose the lumber for raised garden beds or something like that or at least clear out the area so your daughter can play back there.

Regarding your other criticisms of the area ... I get it. Really. It will not get better. You need to have a serious heart to heart with your hubby about your future there.

GuitarStv

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2017, 08:01:17 AM »
You don't mention what age your child is, but it's pretty easy to entertain our 4 year old son in the backyard.
- Grow some plants (this gift keeps on giving, digging, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, cleaning up the bed for winter)
- look for bugs (maybe keep 'em in a jar for a couple days and try to figure out their habits/what they like to eat)
- just go for a walk or bike ride in the neighbourhood
- have a water fight
- get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the driveway
- play ball in the back yard
- go collecting rocks (then you can look up the rocks to try to identify them)
- build a snowman/rake leaves and jump in them
- build a bird feeder and then watch the birds
- build an outdoors Fort/playhouse/treehouse/put up a tent

Thanks for the suggestions! We did take a short walk today, but walk/bike opportunities around here are somewhat limited... we live on a dead-end road that's less than 1/4 mile long, directly off a 45-mph curvy country highway that isn't really appropriate for walking/biking with kids. (Not really appropriate for adults, either, but I do it sometimes when I'm alone!) We also drew with chalk in the driveway a bit.

I guess maybe I'm just expecting too much for this stage in life? I have friends who live in more interesting locations that tell me about taking their kids to parks, going hiking every weekend, etc. If we lived in my hometown (where I'm hoping we'll move in a few years), that's probably what we'd be doing... because there's a lot of public space, state parks, and beaches all within a 20-minute drive. I just struggle with living somewhere so isolated. And yet, despite that isolation, we don't have many of the perks that accompany more rural living.... because we're on a street of cookie-cutter houses with well-manicured, well-landscaped lots. No rocks or anything around here.

Anyway, reading your suggestions makes me feel like maybe my hopes are too high and I'm being unreasonable. And maybe I am. Thank you!

It is a myth that kids need to be entertained, or brought to manufactured 'fun' locations.  If you give 'em a couple rocks and a stick they'll eventually figure out how to play with them and have a good time.  Much more important is simply giving them a balance of attention and space.

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm less concerned about my kid having fun and more concerned about ME having fun! I posted in this subforum, though, because 'fun activities' are typically different for parents vs. non-parents.

Carry an extra large margarita in your water bottle?  :P

bognish

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Re: Family fun when you don't like where you live?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2017, 12:42:10 PM »
I found most activities with my kids when they were 5 was more work, planning and teaching, than relaxing, but it does pay off in a year or 2.  Some ideas we have done:

Try fishing? Its 30 minutes away. I hate fishing, but its fun for kids. The creepy guys at the pond by us are really nice and helpful. Let my kids reel in their catches when they saw how clueless I was.

I pulled out the legos yesterday when it was too hot outside and the kids are end of summer cranky. We also have a table covered in coloring books, sudoku, word searches, clay/playdo that is where the TV should be. Kids & adults default to the easy entertainment. If you have to goto the basement and set up the TV to veg out, but coloring books are right there set up.

Soccer mini golf. We have a small foam soccer ball. We make up targets around the house or yard and play a mini golf style soccer game. Having clubs to swing make this much more dangerous or likely to break something.

At 5 years old we got our kids to start helping with chores and cooking. Using knives under supervision to cut soft things (cube watermelon, slice cucumbers). It does not save time at 5 years old, but it will in a few years.