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Indulge me for a minute. Close your eyes and imagine standing at your kitchen sink doing dishes. You’ve been doing dishes so long you’ve just ran out of hot water. You look around and see you still have at least one, possibly one and a half sinks full of dishes still to do.
Now open your eyes and think about how you’d probably feel in that moment. Typically I think that feeling would be frustration bordering on anger.
Now, imagine you’re doing that many dishes because last night you enjoyed a wonderfully delicious and filling meal with family and friends. That while you’re standing there doing dishes you’re listening through your open window to all of your children outside enjoying each others company. Imagine you have no where else you need to be and nothing else you need to be doing. Imagine that you’ve spent the last month (or longer) feeling like you’re running every minute of every day and often are in fact actually running every minute of every day.
Can you imagine how in that moment I was feeling the happiest I have been in a long time?
I stood there with my hands in warm soapy water (because the dishwasher was already full and running), looking out the window at the beautiful mountains, listening to my children playing with one another, teaching one another, chasing bunnies together, talking, playing, laughing together and I was simply truly happy.
We are a large family in a busy time of life and I’m not even slightly exaggerating when I say the idea to sell everything we own, load up and run far away from every responsibility/commitment we have has been a very real thing for the past 10 months of my life. I want my family back, I want more time of just us, I want more time with no where else to be and nothing else to be doing.
Because there are nine of us it doesn’t take anything more than each of us having one thing going on for the schedule to become almost overwhelming. Trying to decide where to pull back to help us have more time as a family isn’t an easy thing to do. On top of dance, sports, church, and work there are extended family and friends who also deserve some of our time. With all of that how are we ever going to find time to spend quality time with each other?
I don’t have the answers and I don’t think there is an easy answer but I think the first step is simply saying “no” which is so much easier said than done. That may mean “no we’re not signing you up for xyz” or “no, we’re staying home” or even a simple “no thank you”.
I have nwo officially been married 18 years, in 2 days I will have been wearing the title Mother with pride for 17 years, and in less than a month I will have been alive for 38 years. It is apparently the perfect time for me to step up and take my family back. I need to stop letting wants, commitments, and even guilt keep us from the most important relationships we have to encourage, nourish, and let bloom. For as far back as I can remember Mother was the only job I ever truly wanted and in 1 year 2 days my oldest officially becomes an adult. While I know I’ll never be perfect I am running out of time to be the very best Mother I know how to be and I don’t want to look back with regret so I am taking my family back, one day at a time, and I’m starting today!
I don’t want to let guilt and temporary disappointment threaten the relationships that are the most important ones my children will make and I want Nate and I both to know that we’ve done our best to truly know our children, not just love them as a parent but to know them well enough to like them and enjoy them and to let them know us and hopefully like us. There are so many personalities in this house I want to know and enjoy all of them.
So tell me, how do you keep family first? How do you nourish these important relationships? I would love to know, I need all the advice/help I can get. Please leave tips/tricks/ideas in comments! Thanks.
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We just have two little guys right now so it’s not as busy but with a plethora of health issues, I have had to learn to say no, more especially for things that I do. I have learned that taking the time with my kids has made all the difference and the times spent teaching them in the quiet of our home has been the best remedy. As they get older, my husband and I have talked about not over doing it. It’s good to have reminders like this!
Thank you for your thoughts Jen. We have tried to not “over do” but with 7 kids it becomes hard to let them each have something and still have family time. Every day is interesting around here, that’s for sure. Thanks for coming by!
I wish I could give you all kinds of good advice, but I’m probably in even worse shape than you. I have my fingers in so many pies it’s ridiculous. I keep thinking of giving up some of it, but then I’m like do I give up this thing that I love to do, or that thing that I love to do, or sit home with my family and stare at the walls and be bored? The only thing I would be willing to give up is the one thing that keeps a roof over our head – ugh. Good for you on making a fresh start. Keep us posted with how it goes.
Thanks Adrian, I want to run away probably about every other day right now just to see if I can get time to slow down if we have nothing else to be doing. I also hear you about the things I’m willing to cut out being necessary evils.
Loved reading this! I would say I just try to always set aside after school til after the kids are in bed for my family. I save work and personal stuff for after the kids go to sleep!
Thanks Pam, I love the idea of putting things away while the kids are up and at home, a lot of the time we’re running from one place to another but it would still be beneficial out and about or at home. Thanks for the tip and for stopping by!
I love this! I love the perspective that you opened my eyes to! Sometimes I complain to much but really, everything comes down to me being so blessed! Your family is absolutely beautiful!
Thank you Kami, it’s so hard to let kids (and us) have/do something we love and not have it take over our whole worlds. We are very blessed and sometimes if we’re not careful we can let life overwhelm us and turn those blessings (money to do things, etc…) into a stress or burden. Thanks for stopping by and of course for the compliment on my family. Have a wonderful day.