I don't know about you but as a parent I am continually feeling guilty that I don't spend enough time with my kids. YES I am with them everyday, cooking for them, getting them to and from school, different activities and sports so yes there is time spent and conversation to be had, we even have some time at night snuggling and reading BUT is that enough?? As I sat and prayed recently thinking of my kids I realized that even though we are often in the same house day in and day out we are not spending QUALITY time together. We have quantity of time together YES but NOT always QUALITY! As my kids are getting older, Jackson is 9 1/2 and Bethany will be 5 in 3 weeks I know that my time with them is getting shorter and that window of opportunity is shrinking! Yet as a Single Mom I am at times or should I say most days, incredibly overwhelmed with the day-to-day responsibilities and care of my kids, my "to do list" is longer than ever as I take care of it all alone! SO how can I incorporate more quality time into our already packed schedule. Then the thought came over me, it's not about one more activity necessarily but about taking the time we are at home together and instead of us each doing our separate activities why not do activities and things together!! Not to say you can't have your alone activities because as a parent especially a single parent you definitely have to have those things in life that you do all by yourself. It helps you stay healthy... I so get that!! But as I prayed I thought, "why not ask the kids what they would want to do to spend more time together". So I called a family meeting at dinner Sunday night which by the way if you do not doing regular family meetings it is a great way to discuss things that may be on your heart and also give your kids a chance to give any input of things going on in the home at school or just in life in general. Here is what they shared:
Jackson suggested family movie night. SO Friday night will be a night where the kids pick a movie and we have picnic in front of the TV and watch a movie or two. Just the three of us! He also suggested that we have game night on Tuesdays (our one free school night). He has always liked playing board games and that is something we do not do nearly often enough so being intentional about putting this on our weekly schedule is good!
Bethany needed at little help with ideas as her idea of fun is playing Barbies or Babies 24/7, NO LIE!! Recently she has gotten into cooking and helping me in the kitchen so her and I will do some cooking or baking on Tuesdays while Jackson is at school, that is her day with me and I am sure there will be Barbie time as well. Today we are making iced sugar cookies, YUM!!
Another thing I have gotten away from is allowing my kids to help me plan our dinner menu so as I talked with them I asked them what they would like for dinner this week they each chose a favorite dish I make and gave suggestions for other dinner options. SO I wasn't stuck figuring out what the kids may eat this week or if they would like the choices I was preparing for dinner.
I also realized since becoming a single Mom and since Jackson is in school everyday I do not have opportunities to hang out with just him anymore. SO I am instituting a Mom and Jackson date night again. We did that when Todd was alive and even some last year but it has been months. Jackson enjoys having one on one time with me just like B does. He will get to choose something fun and affordable to do!
Also one thing I thought about that I wanted to do with my kids is more camping! They really enjoy being outdoors and camping provides such a great environment for exploration in Gods awesome creation and is also great "quality" time. I am grateful to my Dad and Sherrill who have invited us to join them camping more this year. WE ARE EXCITED AND READY!!
An indoor campout was something I just read about recently that one family does. They literally came indoor with sleeping bags without using any electricity. They build a fire, cook smores, and only use flashlights and battery operated things. I think the kids and I will be trying this soon!!
So if your like me and you just need some help getting the ball rolling I hope some of these ideas that my kids and I have come up with will help you or at least get you started. I think sometimes we agonize or feel guilty about what we are doing or not doing and get stuck in that place and then do nothing!! My kids and I have to continue to keep moving forward in life creating those new memories. We are now a family of three which is complete and whole and as we look at this New Year the possibilities are endless as far as what we can do and experience. I am grateful to have the opportunity to parent such wonderfully amazing kids. I true gift straight from the hand of God! It is the most awesome responsibility I have been given. One I am not taking lightly!
Be encouraged today Mom or Dad, you are not alone. God is with you and His word says he will guide you and direct you in everything, that means parenting and spending time with your kids!! Stay tuned for other ways to encourage your kids spiritually...
Psalm 25:5 "Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Living for more with you!
PS Another idea shared by a friend recently is to take a notebook and write a note to your child and place it under his/ her pillow and then they reply and leave it under your pillow. It is a great way for you to encourage, or share anything with your child and stay connected. Then they can in turn have a place to share and write whatever is on their heart to you!! I LOVE this idea and am starting this with Jackson today!
My kids favorite soup is Potato Cheese Soup (it is very simple to make and I throw in frozen broccoli to give it a vitamin boost, my kids LOVE it)
1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen organic broccoli
1/2 c. matchstick carrots ( I buy them at the store already cut like this)
3 c. water
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 pint (2 cups) half and half
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c. Swiss cheese, grated
2 c. (or more) Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese, grated
1. Cook vegetables in water and bouillon until tender.
2. Melt butter in separate glass bowl. Add flour and salt and blend well.
3. Stir in half and half in butter and flour mixture to thicken. Add to vegetables.
4. Stir in pepper and cheeses in until cheeses melt. Do not let come to a boil. Serves 6
**Lastly a great resource for creative ideas for you and your family along with helpful tips for parenting http://www.focusonthefamily.com/**