Nuclear family. Individuals. Running. Busy.
Sit and eat in front of TV. Rush to bed. Divide and conquer. Does this sound like a typical day for you and your family? How do we stay connected? How can we find those moments of connection among the chaos of it all? Or do we?
For us, it has taken a lot of deliberate planning and a lot of saying no. And even then, there are days that it feels like a struggle.
It has taken planning such as…
Adding in some fun traditions such as waffle breakfasts on Saturdays…my husband tries different recipes and toppings and the rest of us enjoy eating them!
Trying to eat together most evenings-not always possible but we aim for more family meals than not.
Reading to my kids most evenings and give them at least a five minute good night cuddle.
And recently my husband and I started having dates on days that I have off and the kids are in school. We might have a late breakfast or lunch together. Once we even got a quick hike in. No babysitter required and we can connect after a busy week! I am fortunate that my husband often works from home so he can have a bit more of a flexible schedule to accommodate this every few weeks!
And the endless saying no…
No to stressing about finding Christmas themed clothing when the school emails me the day before a Christmas concert to announce all the children should show up in Christmas colours/themes…whatever we have in our closet will be good enough and I choose not to stress over it!
No to that extra three things of homework that the teacher sent in the backpack…we will do one or two and when it is bedtime, it is bedtime…a note can go to the school saying we will work on it the next day instead. Our time as a family and my kids’ sleep is much more important than hours of homework at this age!
And saying yes to the things that connect us..We try to do fun things as a family even if they are simple-a family walk with the dog. A trip to get hot chocolate. A board game together.
We will be selective in our Christmas activities rather than trying to do it all. One year while we were driving around to “enjoy” the Christmas lights…one child was sleeping..the other was screaming…my husband and I looked at each other and decided never again. We make our holidays restful, manageable, and fun. Instead of focusing on gifts and excess, it is about time as a family.
Sometimes less is more. Less chaos means more time to connect.