Five Mirrors in My House04/18/2013
Being Happy by Meagan Francis
As a work-at-home mom of five kids, you can probably imagine that my days can get hectic. When the children were little, needy, and around all day, it felt like we were together all the time. But now, most of them spend much of their day in school… and between homework, practices, my work hours, and getting dinner on the table, it’s easy for those afterschool hours to go by in a blur.
During the last school year, I noticed I would start feeling anxious as the time the boys get off the bus approached. I never felt like I’d gotten enough done yet, and the end of the school day felt like an interruption rather than a welcome chance to re-connect with my kids. In short, the end of the school day was making me an unhappy mom!
I realized that what I really needed was a little ritual that allowed me to “put away” my work day and embrace the “family and home” part of life. So I started winding work down about 15 minutes before I expected them home, and took that time to clear off the dining room table, straighten up the kitchen a bit, and make a snack.
Then when the kids got home, instead of feeling distracted or impatient because of their noise and bustle, as if a tidal wave of young energy had just swept through the house, I’d feel ready to sit, chat, and enjoy a snack with the boys as they unwound after busy days of their own.
I called it snack-and-chat time. I’d take a few minutes to help them unpack their folders and empty lunch boxes, look over papers and sign forms, and plan out our evenings.
The little ritual helped us all feel calmer, more connected and a lot happier when they ran off to play or hang out with friends and I got back to the business of being a grown-up. Sometimes I would still need to respond to an email or two before the end of the business day, but after getting a little taste of the sweetness of family life, it became a lot easier to tear myself away for the rest of the evening.
As days get busier, little rituals like these are easy to let go of, but they’re one of the things that give every day a feeling of specialness and connection.
This year, all four of my boys – first through ninth grades! – will be gone most of the day, and I can’t wait to re-introduce our snack-and-chat ritual; this year with my three-year-old daughter helping to make the snacks and greet her big brothers.
I just know that taking a few moments to talk, share a snack and reconnect will put a smile on all our faces.
For more happy thoughts from Meagan, visit www.thehappiestmom.com.
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