I've said before that I resist change. I like things to stay the same. Once I get into a comfortable routine, I want it to stay that way. I like meal times and school times and bed times to be consistent. I like order and everything in its place. Since we moved, though, our old routine wasn't working in this new place. We gave ourselves a few weeks to adjust, but after a few weeks of feeling rushed and stressed and overwhelmed, Brian and I had a long talk over the weekend and realized that it was time to make some changes.
It's not that we were doing anything wrong, but we realized there were ways to do it all better. (For us. For now.)
Most of our changes involve being more present with our family. Our kids rarely are apart from us, but sometimes we are so focused on the rush from schoolwork to naps to dinner to dishes to bedtime (routine, routine, routine) that we don't take the time to stop and simply enjoy being together. Our first decision was to consciously stop the rush. Simply stop. So dinner gets on the table late and the kids go to bed an hour later than planned? In the long run, who cares?
We also decided to limit technology. Our spring TV shows have ended for the season (good-bye, Survivor and The Amazing Race) so our nights are more open to other activities. Brian talked about closing his Facebook page and I talked about closing mine, but in the end we decided to combine pages and limit our friend list.
One day last week, Gavin drew a picture of me and I had a laptop in my hand. I was a little uncomfortable being associated with the computer. Why didn't he draw me reading a book or cooking dinner? As a result, I've decided to limit my daytime computer use. During the day, I only go online to check my e-mail or do school research. It's funny, though, because as I've cut back my daytime use, I find that I don't have much desire for it at night either and I've been reading a lot more.
I'm overhauling our meal planning, too. The week before we moved, Brian was too busy to go grocery shopping so I decided to do it for one week. It was the first time I'd been grocery shopping for more than a few items in about six years! Well, the next time we needed food, I went again...and then I went the next time, too...and now it seems I'm the primary grocery shopper again, at least for the summer. Last week I sat down and made a list of about fifty different meals and we plan not to repeat one until we've tried them all.
All of these changes are our effort to work toward one primary goal: pouring ourselves into our family. We were looking through some recent pictures of the kids and realizing that they are growing all too quickly. What happened to the tiny babies we had yesterday? How did they get to be talking, thinking, maturing children? We don't want their memories of homelife to be all rush and strained smiles and hurry-brush-your-teeth and hurry-put-on-your shoes. We want to take the opportunity to go outside and draw chalk pictures on the concrete. We want to look into their eyes and connect. We want to pour all we can into them now so they don't need to look for other places to be filled later.