Okay ladies, sometimes, as a mom, its very humbling to admit where you’re at in life. As much as we want to be a put together television/magazine/stock photo mom, the truth is the real mom life falls far from that ideal. Some days its too cold/too hot/too rainy to get out and you just need a break from the daily grind. On those days, its time to take a lesson from the 80’s, call up a friend and make a mom date at your local mall!
I know, you’re kind of freaking out right now. The mall? Is she serious? Who goes to the mall anymore? I’ll tell you who, desperate moms, that’s who! The mall has a lot of great options for moms with kiddos in tow and they all have nothing to do with shopping. So, call a friend or two and give it a shot!
Stretch Your Legs
Malls provide an endless stroller friendly loop for walking. Many malls open the common area early to allow mall walkers to get their exercise in before the shops even open. If your mall doesn’t do this, arriving early will help you beat the crowds as you power through. My mall has a huge mall walking culture. They even have a “direction” they walk and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you try to walk the other way. Many people who mall walk are senior citizens but don’t let that fool you, some of them can leave you in the dust. They also LOVE seeing little kids out and about. You’ll become everybody’s favorite walking team.
Take in the Sights
Malls are full of strange things. From window displays to fountains to weird statuary and planter boxes; throw in the Christmas decorations and that takes it to a whole new level. These things can truly entertain kids for hours and give you a much needed break. Make a game out of counting how many things you see of a certain color. Bring some change to make wishes in the fountain. Judge which store has the best window display or which concessionaire has the silliest costumes. If you have older kids, you could even make a basic scavenger hunt. Simple games like this can really break the monotony and make the mall a fun adventure.
Hit the Attractions
No matter what size your mall, there is an attraction for the kiddos. Maybe it’s just coin operated rides or a photo booth – no need to put money in, just climbing around or looking behind the curtain is a lot of fun for the preschool set. If your mall is a little bigger, you might have an indoor playground which can always get the wiggles out while you enjoy a chat with your other mom friends. If you’re lucky enough to live near a big mall, nothing is off limits in terms of activities – movie theaters, amusement park rides and aquariums are just a few of the fun attractions found in malls across the country.
Sample the Fare
I regularly hit up our local mall without spending a dime. My kids and I have an agreement, mommy gets 3 laps to power-walk and then they get 30 minutes on the playground and then we’re out. My one exception is when I bring my mom friends along. Then, I love to get lunch or a treat. Frankly, this is one thing the mall still does very right. There are options for everyone! Traditional fast food, pizza, Asian food or, if you’re in the mood for just a snack, you can always grab a pretzel or frozen yogurt. I love it because my kids can get their usual chicken nuggets and French fries while I grab something a little more exotic.
This winter, we had record snowfall and all the kids were jumping off the walls. I planned for my MOPS table to meet at the mall for a couple hours of mom sanity. The kids played on the playground and climbed all over the coin operated toys for almost an hour. We took in the sights at the central fountain, (my daughter may have splashed a little bit too which I’m pretty sure is frowned upon). Then we had lunch – Korean BBQ Chicken for me, DQ for my kids and home for naps. It was a great morning, exactly what we needed. But, more importantly, it was a wonderful time of bonding not only with my girlfriends but with their kids. I wouldn’t change a thing.
So, tell me, have I at least caused you to reconsider the mall? Were any of you already doing this? Had you thought to try it as a group? Trust me, it’s a ton of fun. Let me know what you think below!