As parents of active preschoolers sometimes it is difficult to think of outside of the moment. Your focus may be -- what do I feed them, what park do we go to today, will they go down for their nap, where is that shoe? Life is busy when you have little ones running around the house. I know you have heard me, and others, say “Oh, but it goes so fast”. Yes, it does go fast but some days may feel like they go on forever!! As you start 2018 take some time to think about what you would like to do with your child this year. Do you want to laugh more, be more spontaneous, more structured, more playful, more serious? Find one thing you would like to do this year to be a better parent and be purposeful in setting up a plan to achieve that goal. Who can help you achieve your goal? I could always come up with the idea for a fun activity but it was Curt who actually made it “fun”. In our home I was the planner and Curt was the one who activated my plan. It was a nice balance – still is! What is something you can do with your partner that would enhance your family’s life this year? It could be as simple as taking time to go on a family walk before/after dinner, reading a book together, gathering shells at the beach…. Be sure to set a realistic goal that everyone will enjoy and that will be easy to implement. When everyone is on board you have the support needed to be successful.
BOOKS to READ
Next try to set a goal for yourself. Find something that you enjoy (something new or something you used to do) and try to add it to your schedule. It may be something as easy as a neighborhood walk but you will need support to have the time to do something all by yourself. What can you do that will help you be a better parent – how can you give yourself some time to relax, re-charge, rejuvenate? This was always difficult for me. I had a hard time setting up time for “just me” as I always preferred “family time” – still do! The one thing I did do for myself was to go for a walk with my neighbor – still do! When we walk we have a chance to vent, laugh, share stories and get some outside time as well. Nick was happy to hear that Mary and I still take our walks. It makes him feel like the neighborhood is still the same. Mary was the one person he would go to when he was little. She was his “Mar Mar”. He would toddle down the sidewalk saying, MarMar, MarMar. The first time he called her Mary she almost cried - she knew he was growing up. She had a brain tumor removed in June 2011. This was a difficult time for all of us, but especially Nick. Being away in Wisconsin was hard on Nick and it was comforting to him to have the established traditions still in place. Who would have thought that my daily walk with Mary would become one of Nick’s anchoring memories.
As our sons grew older some of our family activities turned into family traditions. One by one, little by little, some of the things we did as they grew up became the traditions that created their childhood memories. The things we did as a family and the things that were set in place as my “Mommy Time” are part of what make up Joel and Nick’s childhood. When you set a goal it may be for just a short time – learning to knit was a wonderful goal but I discovered it was not my gift! Or it may be for a lifetime – walking with Mary has been an activity that has been going on for 35 years now. I enjoy looking back at what we have done as a family, what I have done for myself and what the members of our family have accomplished in this past year. Curt and I have set come goals for what we want to do this year – going on another family snowshoe trip is one of them! Take some time to reflect and to reach a goal this year. You never know – in the years to come it may be one of your family’s treasured memories.