You Can't do Everything!
As I work with families, I am amazed at the variety of ways there are to be a family. Through the years I have seen just about every type, shape and figure a family can come in. I've seen them rich, poor, big and small, happy and sad, living easy lives and hard ones too. I am not one to make judgement on a family, I know that we all do what works for us. However, if there were one piece of advice I'd dispense, knowing for sure that it's the right thing for everyone, it would be this:
You can't do everything, so prioritize family time.
I'm pretty sure you've thought that too. I know that time with your family is something no one else can give you. I know that time with your kids is irreplaceable, even a lazy day at home. I know from experience that it's not the big vacations you'll look fondly back at, but the sweet, every day rhythm of life. We get caught up in the doing of things, the going, seeing, getting and buying. The accomplishing, the competing, the winning.
I know that when the children are no longer in your hands, you'll think back and remember the tucking into bed, the millionth time reading the same book, the singing, the laughing, the games. These are the things that will last.
One of my very favorite memories was one summer day when I was working as a nanny. The children (there were 4: 2 year old twin boys and their 8 and 11 year old big sisters) were restless and ancy. The house needed chores to be done, there was a mountain of laundry, we needed to go to costco and the regular grocery store, and none of us wanted to do it! So, in the best interest of all our happiness, we created together a wonderful day. We hit the grocery store getting the necessities, then rushed home, and worked together to put the groceries away. Since it was a very hot day (yes, it gets hot in Seattle!) we decided to create a "virtual beach" in the front yard.
We pulled every single toy we had that related to beaches, water, and sand, and piled them in the front yard. We filled the plastic pool, got the sprinkler set up, and everyone in their suits and lathered up with sunscreen. We brought out cool drinks and snacks, books to read, and had the most luxurious wonderful day I can remember.
I know that that day sits in my memory, because we chose to prioritize life. Not the doing, accomplishing and competing; but the fun, the love, the creativity that life with children is.
I hope tomorrow you'll try the same, and experience the joy of a lazy day with children, knowing that the floor can be swept later, the laundry will wait, and that life won't.