When my family comes together on weekday evenings, we’re already exhausted from a full day of school, work, or wrangling little ones who turn everything into a power struggle.
But we still have a long road ahead until we get to relax:
- Prep dinner
- Help our oldest with her homework
- Convince the kids to eat dinner
- Tidy up the messes of the day so we can start fresh with new messes tomorrow
- Shuttle everyone off to a bath
- Brush three sets of teeth
- Tear the toddler and preschooler away from their Magna-Tiles and the oldest away from re-reading Harry Potter and start the (never-ending) bedtime routine, which deserves a whole list to itself
Not to mention all the sibling clashes we have to referee, the toddler emotional outbursts to console, and the chocolate to sneak when no one’s looking – because mama’s gotta cope.
This Doesn’t Make Sense
Every evening is go-go-go.
My husband and I are so busy running through the nightly list of must-dos that we rarely have time to stop and just be with the kids.
After the kids are tucked into bed, my husband and I collapse on the couch. Most nights, I turn to him and say, “I didn’t get enough time with the kids tonight.”
Which doesn’t make sense because we spent the whole night together as a family. And yet, the time we had together was in go-go-go mode.
The only time we had to stop and connect with the kids one-on-one was to mediate an argument or comfort someone who got hurt.
That doesn’t exactly fill my tank with love and connection, and it doesn’t fill the kids’ tanks either.
There’s Got to Be a Better Way
We didn’t see how we could cut anything from our evenings. Some things just need to happen every night, like making dinner and helping with homework and stopping the angry toddler from pummeling her older sister.
Then one day when we all got home around the same time, we started running off in different directions to kick off the after school routine.
But I couldn’t take another night of my family being together without really being together.
“Wait!” I called out.
Everyone stopped and turned to look at me. My husband cocked his head to one side.
“We’re doing something new, starting tonight.” At first I wasn’t sure what to do next, but because I was tired and newly pregnant, one idea came to mind.
“Follow me,” I said, and I headed towards the master bedroom.
Amazingly, everyone did follow – even the toddler.
I climbed into bed while they all stood watching me.
I threw the blankets wide. “Let’s have some family cuddle time.”
They stared with confused faces, so I patted the bed and smiled big. “Jump in!”
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