As I am sitting here mentally running through my busy day, I am reminded that I need to take some time out for the really important things in life…..and family is at the top of my list.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of work, school, after-school activities, and other things that demand our time that we push spending time together as a family to the bottom of the to-do list. I have heard it said, more than once, that we make time for what is important to us. I truly believe this. Family time is something I put at the top of our to-do list!
This is easier for some to do than it is for others. Maybe you are a dad who travels for work a lot. Maybe you are a single mom. Maybe you have children in several activities and are constantly running in many different directions. Maybe for you some good, old-fashioned family time can’t be a daily or weekly thing but maybe you could carve out a day a month to spend together and make some great memories. The quality of the time, I think, is more important than the quantity. Really be in the moment. Talk with your family, laugh together, and just be silly.
When you are having family time, unplug from the world if possible, just for a little while. Let your family know you are all in!
Some of our favorite things to do as a family is cooking together. I used to work at a busy physician’s office and when I would get home Sydney, Mason, and I would start making dinner together. Jim had over an hour drive each way to and from work, so he usually came in at the end of the cooking. Sometimes Sydney or Mason had a practice of some type and we had to work around that. For the most part, we always had dinner together as a family at least 4 to 5 times a week. We sat at the table and talked to each other. Learned about each other’s day and what was going on in each other’s lives outside of home. Cooking and eating together is a great way to spend some quality time with your family. You have to eat anyway, so why not turn it into an activity you do together! Even if you are super busy and don’t have time to cook, bring dinner home and sit down together as a family and enjoy the meal together. Shut off the tv, leave the electronics in another room, and just talk!
Another thing our family enjoys doing together (we still do it now even though they are grown up) is playing board games. Obviously, the games have changed over the years. We have graduated from Candy Land and Life to Catan and Wits and Wagers. Euchre is also a huge favorite now. The snacks look a little different also. We now sometimes have wine and other adult beverages instead of juice boxes and chocolate milk. Sometimes we get together with our parents and families and have a game evening. We really love doing this!! On my side of the family, Christmas Day always involves board games and cards. Board games most definitely is not Jim’s favorite thing to do (I know, who doesn’t love board games and cards?), but most of the time he joins in.
When Sydney was in dance (she did ballroom dancing) and Mason ran cross country, we included both sides of our families in the recitals/performances and the meets. We would all go to dinner somewhere afterwards and have a really good time. The busier our lives are, the harder it is to spend quality time with our own parents. So why not just include them in the hustle and bustle of our lives? Invite them to the games/meets and the performances/recitals. Have lunch/dinner together afterwards. Our parents loved this and it helped build a stronger bond between the grandchildren and the grandparents. The days of having dinner at Grandma’s on Sunday is long gone for most of us. So, the next best thing is to bring the grandparents into your lives.
Maybe your family enjoys the outdoors. Maybe camping is your thing and you can squeeze in a camping trip or two a year, even if just for a long weekend. Bike riding or hiking might be your thing. You might not be able to do this every week, but sometimes you might be able to go monthly. When Sydney and Mason were younger, we always went camping at least once a year. It is so much fun and kids love it! If you have never been camping you should really give it a try. They even have “glamping” now, which is upscaled camping for those who don’t like it quite so rustic. It is so amazing what your kids will share with you when you are just sitting around a fire roasting marshmellows. There is just something about a mesmerizing fire that everyone enjoys! My parents have a fire pit in their backyard and to this day you will find all of us there enjoying smores and quality time together a couple of times during the summer.
Slowing down, unplugging, and enjoying family is for everyone, no matter where you live, no matter how much time you have and no matter what your family dynamics look like. Just make time for the really important people in your life. I promise you won’t regret it!