My Mom told me a story about when she had her first three children. Before having her own she was an elementary school teacher and was used to scheduling activities and creating opportunities of play for the kids. Naturally, as a young mother, she did the same. She would set up the playroom like her classroom with an activity for my sister on one side, some toys in the corner for my brother and a game on the other side of the room for my oldest brother. The kids all played happily. Success. But then one day she saw something different and she viewed their playing in a different light. She saw one child move over to play with another and another start her own imaginary game. Her children were creating play for themselves and they didn’t need her to create it for them. They were just BEING children and this was just fine too. My Mother found comfort and relief in this and while I commend her for being such a hands on mom, I am happy she discovered this for her own sake (and sanity!) and for giving us the ability and creativity to play on our own. We were never bored on the farm.
I’m struggling to find a balance of just BEING in my family. With a Hubby that works long hours and irregular times on evenings and weekends, times allotted for our individual activities, and trying to fit in fun and exciting family experiences, just BEING gets lost in it all. I want to be able to give E new experiences and I feel like I need to create these, but they always seem to be rushed or in a limited time frame. Some may think they only reasonable option would be to drop our individual activities. But that is a balance we are not willing to give up. It’s what keeps us balanced as individuals and happier as a family.
The biggest struggle for me is the weekend mornings with E. I try to schedule in an activity, preferably outdoors, to wear him out so he’ll have an afternoon nap. It’s sounds bad, but it makes for a happier household for the day. E gets a nap and isn’t cranky or overtired in the evening and while he is sleeping, I get a nap in or get some things done around the house. When Hubby gives me the heads up that he has a Saturday morning open I try to pencil in an activity to make the most of our time together as a family of three. We go to the park or to a family outing like to the Experimental Farm, but it just always seems rushed. Rushing to get out of the house. Rushing to see and do everything on site. Rushing to get home for lunch or a nap. I am trying to avoid rushing around; wasting time just trying to get to the next thing on the agenda and letting life pass us by. I am also trying to avoid E developing the “only child syndrome” that Hubby has (although I don’t plan on him actually being an only child for long).
I often think about my Mother and what it would be like living in her shoes when we were young. She didn’t constantly have places to be or activities to get to, but yet she didn’t have much choice. My Dad was working in the barn or the fields and she was home, holding the fort. While I envy the calmness and freedom of playing on the farm and just enjoying each other rather than scheduling things all the time, I do not envy her lack of freedom and balance.
And so I am searching for a balance with my family. Just playing. Just lounging. Just laughing. Just cuddling. Just creating memories without have to sign up for them or schedule time for a car ride to get to them. Memories and experiences in our home and close to home without timelines.
This past Mother’s Day weekend, while Hubby was working, E and I set out to Britannia Beach for some outdoor fun. We walked along the shore line trails and E tried to convince me that the land he saw across the water was Wolfe Island,
and that the geese that were flying were going to Wolfe Island
and that the ducks were swimming to Wolfe Island. I let him talk away in his little dream land and soaked up his innocence. We played soccer in the fields of grass,
stopped and had lunch (we’re still working on that chewing) on the bench
and then played on the play structure in the park. When I sensed he was getting sluggish from all the activity, sun and fresh air we packed up and headed home for a nap. While he napped I completed the guest room turned play room transformation that I’ve been wanting to do for the last two weeks (yeah for more room!) and I got some painting and crafting projects done.
It was such a relaxing and enjoyable day. I felt like I accomplished so much and it was a great start to my new goal. I can’t wait to do it again and next time I hope Hubby can schedule in time to just BE with us too.