“We are parenting two forty-year-old men and a frat boy.” —My husband
I’ve been mostly absent from my blog for about a month now. Actually, it’s been since January 27th, exactly. The day before that silly-faced kid in the picture above turned eight. I remember the date, but I barely remember his 8th birthday. There was something about an elusive cookie cake (should have made it myself, but I was busy!) a possible snow day and the floodgates at work bursting open into a fast-paced hiring seasoning. This was the first of my children’s birthdays that I did not take a picture of the cake/cookie/cupcakes before it was sliced. I did manage to get a video of him opening the presents I threw into gift bags. And thanks to his oldest brother, who insisted on buying his little brother a gift with his own money and found the roll of tape that’d been missing since Christmas, he had a boxed and wrapped present. At least someone took the time to prepare for his big day!
So, things have been really hectic lately. But I chose this life. I asked to be a full-time-working, grad school student and home schooling mother. I invited this never-ending to-do list and I subjected my family to the potential fall out when my carefully constructed daily schedule is rearranged and some things on the to-do list are pushed to low priority status to make room for other things to have a short-term high priority status.
And my family responds beautifully to these seasons. I’m grateful to them for their willingness to pitch in when the areas I normally have covered are left unattended. My husband sees me on my work computer and takes over after a long day of work and coaching by cleaning the kitchen and engaging the boys. My children keep up with their school work and their chores and become a tight little team of super-helpers.
Naturally, I don’t expect them to soldier up indefinitely, as all busy seasons eventually come to an end, but I am filled with so much gratitude to be the wife of an egalitarian-minded husband and the mother of children who can put aside sibling squabbles and play together on the team called family.
Today, I finally feel a break in the busyness and want to share what we’ve been doing to connect during this busy season of life.
- I make a point to hug my boys and my husband every single day. When life is moving at a manageable pace, the hugs and the snuggles happen naturally. When I’m trying to get through the door in the afternoon, into the kitchen to make dinner, into the school room to check progress, to the soccer field for practice and back to my computer to do my own schoolwork and any work leftover from my job, there isn’t a lot of time for physical contact with my family. I make a point each day, with each of my sons and my husband, for a hug and a genuine, “How was your day?”, during which I actually listen, with my full attention, to what they say.
- Texting throughout the day lets them know I’m thinking about them. I check in with my family throughout the day even when it’s not busy, but these little moments of electronic connection become even more important when we’re busy.
- Family outings create memories during a time when the days run together. It becomes to important to step away from work and focus solely on the ones I love even it’s only for an hour or two.
- I remind my family of the same fact that I repeat to myself each day, “It’s only season; it’s not like this all the time.” And that’s the truth. My job becomes more demanding from January-June, but July-December allows for a very healthy work/life balance.
- I’m not afraid to be unable to do it all. I know what my real priorities are and at the top of that list is my family. There are days when I simply cannot get it all done and being okay with that is healthy for both myself and my family. In this house we don’t glorify busyness for the sake of looking busy and important. When it’s time to work, we work and when it’s time to relax, we relax. The goal during the busy season is to accomplish the tasks at hand and return to homeostasis as quickly as possible.
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