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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.