Balancing It All Through Routine
Finding Balance by Jessica
I used to think that connecting with little ones was the easy part; surely it would get harder to find quality time to just be together when these children of mine grew into opinionated teens and young adults? But I find that carving out one on one time can be challenging at this stage of the game too. There were some nights when I'd fall into bed and realize I hadn't pulled my youngest onto my lap or hugged my daughter all day. How did that happen? How could I possibly let that happen?
From my friend Mary Beth:
"It is impossible, and I think you’ll agree with me, to check on them and tuck them in at 11 p.m. and not tear up a little, thinking of the yawning gap between the mother you wanted to be and the mom they ended up getting. Their faces all odd and smooth in sleep, their limbs looking even longer and coltishly akimbo, completely innocent and deserving of slo-mo big-bosomed MAMA kind of mothering, homemade pies and wide-open arms, instead of the snapping and eye-rolling one they did get, who snarls a little too easily and does not appreciate their sheer miracle-ness nearly enough while they are awake, but rather lets the million tiny guilts of a day coalesce into two fat tears each night."
My four, imaginative, energetic children are wonderful players - something I'm very grateful for. I don't need to provide endless projects and activity ideas for them, and almost never hear the words, "Mom, I'm bored," but that can have its pitfalls. When your children don't need you to entertain themselves, it's really easy to leave them to it while catching up on laundry or work correspondence.
My husband and I decided that the best way to make sure we were all coming together as a family each day was to create some kind of night time routine. The night owls in this house outnumber my husband 5 to 1, so lots of nights he'd be snoring before we all managed to rein it in and get in our pajamas. Now, we make sure that even if it's one of those 'fend for yourself' nights dinner-wise, we're still meeting in the family room for regular together time. After about an hour, my husband trots off to bed, the rest of us pile on the squashy sofas and read books until we can't keep our eyes open any longer.
First, I read picture books to my youngest. He brings them by the pileful, and I pull his ever-growing little frame into my lap and cover his sticky cheeks with kisses. When his little head begins to nod, I tuck him in with his favorite teddy bear, and return to read aloud chapter books to my older three.
Right now we're working our way through the Harry Potter series (we're on Book 7!), and my two oldest are riveted. I think my daughter just likes to be a part of things, and often falls asleep next to me on the couch. Sometimes we're up pretty late -- especially near the end of the book when every chapter turns into a cliff hanger.
I was never a fan of scary stories, but watching my boys giggle and squeal and cluster together to hold each other tight during a particularly tense part is pretty entertaining.
The time we make to connect with one another might not be very conventional, but it works for us, and it is a time I cherish. And I know in my mother's heart that making sure we connect now will help us build the kind of relationship that will carry us through any difficult stretches in the years ahead.
Find more balance with Jessica at www.balancingeverything.com/.
Get to Know Jessica
Take a closer look at the blogger, wife, mother, and master of...
Picking Your Battles05/09/2013
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Navigating the Online Sea03/13/2013
Kindness in the Everyday01/10/2013
Lessons In Disguise10/12/2012
Book Club: Jessica's Pick10/12/2012
The Gathering Ritual09/06/2012
No Manners Dinner08/16/2012
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Balancing It All Through Routine06/21/2012