One of my resolutions for this year was to work even harder on my relationships with my children and most importantly, my husband. I want to spend quality one-on-one time with each of my kids and have dedicated time with Tom each week. If you had asked me if this was necessary a few years ago, I might have scoffed. Why wouldn’t I spend one-on-one time with my kids and my husband? That’s what life is about, right? Yet time goes by very quickly and it is filled easily with work priorities, errands, activities, workouts, birthday parties, events, and more. A week can pass and I look back and wonder what happened even though I know it was filled with “stuff”. But much of that “stuff” were things that in a month (or even a day, let alone a year) won’t be memorable. It is the mundane, day-to-day tasks that need to get done. And 80% of it I do with my family but I wouldn’t call it quality, one-on-one time that builds strength in my relationships with each of them.
So this year, I want to build better relationships with my kids and husband.
I’m carving out an hour each week to spend with each of my kids. I did this last year with Caleigh and Blake, but looking back I could have given it much more intention. Breastfeeding Maggie alone was quality time that added up to much more than an hour a week. For mother/daughter bonding, I can’t think of anything much more powerful than letting her nurse while I held her hand, talked to her, or stroked her back. Caleigh and Blake proved a bit tougher. We have our bedtime routine, which is a lovely end to the day and sets their minds at ease before going to sleep. But getting time where I just spend it with them is not so simple. Here are my thoughts for this year:
- Caleigh received a guitar from Santa for Christmas and it’s on my bucket list to learn to play. I’m thinking of lessons together starting soon
- Nightly walks after dinner. A walk around our neighbourhood takes about 20 minutes at their pace. In the winter, a bit longer. But what a great time to strike up conversation and hear about their day.
- Reading together for 10-15 minutes at night.
- Sunday Fun Days – their choice. Go to the library. Go for a hike. Paint pottery. Trampoline. It has to be an activity that we’re actively doing together and I’m not on the sidelines while they go off and do something.
And then there is the most important relationship I have, that is with my husband. We have been married eight years, going on nine in August. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact, I look back on eight years and realize just how many stressful events we’ve had and it’s mind-boggling. I also look back on those eight years and see so many amazing memories. There are the big ones – our wedding, weekends away together, and the births of our children to name a few. But it’s the smaller ones that make me smile and make life all that much sweeter. The year we played dodgeball together on Thursday nights, watching him on the football field when he’s just so happy, laughing hysterically in the theatre while watching Bridesmaids, and even last night as we went skiing together (without kids!) and just having the chance to talk as we rode the ski lift together and had a drink after while watching the football game in the chalet. Those are the simple yet perfect moments that make me so grateful to be going through life with such an amazing human being.
So date nights become a priority for us this year. It won’t be each week, but at least twice a month the two of us need time to be together, without the kids. And even if it is just for a half hour walk in the middle of our day, it is such a high priority for me to celebrate our relationship and how much we mean to one another. Plus, adding up all of the little things that can strengthen our bond.
- holding hands
- listening more
- back rubs
- learning something new together
- having earnest discussions
- planning for the future together
It sounds like a project, which isn’t the intention. The intention is simply to have a stronger, more amazing relationship with my children and my husband. I don’t want to take those relationships for granted.