Being in school and having various volunteer commitments makes me sometimes rather busy. R also works a lot of overtime, taking it when he can get it since it is never a sure thing. Often my activities take place in the evenings. This means that R and I do a trade off with the kids. Some days we see very little of eachother. It can be hard with our busyish lifestyle to stop and consciously make time to do things all together as a family but it is something that I think is so so important. Same goes for the other important relationships. Couple time is also important since our marriage is the foundation of our family. Although I do think that the family should always be a first priority. Friends are also invaluable and it is incredibly important to make time and nurture these relationships as they can fade to a degree when put on the back burner.
I’ve been trying to put in place some measures to ensure that I am making a commitment to maintain ALL, not just some of the relationships in my life. I think a lot of onus is on the woman in the household to “keep the family together”. Not saying it is warranted… but the pressure is still there none-the-less. Here is what has been working for me.
This past weekend we went out for an hour around the block. B on his battery powered ATV (a kijiji find!), me on my rollerblades, R on the bike and N in tow in the bicycle trailer. It was good fun. At least once on a weekend we try to do something all together. We also make an effort to be home more nights/week than out. This means no more than 3 nights out in a week (cumulatively for everyone). I think I will keep this balance in mind when the boys get a little older and want to do activities in the evenings. This may mean that as our family gets busier I will have to cut back personally on my evening commitments. I am okay with this.
At least one night/week R and I try to watch a movie after the kids go to bed (sometimes we have to cut it short since we tend to get tired). We also text throughout the day and hug and kiss hello and goodbye. Once a month, we try to get out for a date night.
I love my friends. God forbid something were to happen to my family, I know I would still have a family of friends. One of my very best friends lives in Edmonton now. I try to skype with her or call her once every week or two. One of my other best friends has kids and so we try to get together for play dates to catch up. I also enjoy getting out with my other kidless friends for a nice dinner or to go to an event. Recently I went to dinner in Toronto with 2 of my good girlfriends from university. It is sometimes nice to not always be talking about the kids (since they don’t have any to talk about) and to do adult things. I try to get out with friends sans kiddos at least once/month. I also love Facebook since I can keep updated and in communication with friends that I don’t get to see as often.