I’m a work-at-home mom who gets to spend a lot of time with my children… but that doesn’t mean I always use those minutes wisely. Sometimes I find myself rushing from one after-school activity to the next. With three kids, you can only imagine what my calendar looks like.
When I feel like the family is drifting away from one another and getting caught up in the daily grind, I immediately reset. I pause — and remind myself why I became a parent to begin with! It’s not about being the busiest. It’s about making memories and spending quality time with your kids.
If you feel that you are everywhere but where you need to be, I have 5 SUPER EASY tips to help you savor those special moments with your family this week. It’s possible, even in this day and age, I promise.
1. Plan ahead
The most important thing to realize is that your calendar is in your control. Are there too many playdates? Too many after-school slots taken up with sports commitments? Think about where you can fit in some serious family time, and MARK IT DOWN if you need to. If you are like the rest of society — going absolutely bonkers trying to keep up — either let it all go (like me) or schedule “family game night” into your week. By doing so, you are ensuring nothing will come between you and your children fighting over that Monopoly championship win.
2. No more electronics during meals
This rule has been a home staple of mine for years. If it’s time to eat, everyone has to sit down at the kitchen table and leave their iPads, iPods, iPhones and everything else that starts with an “i” in their rooms. The TV turns off, too. No noise whatsoever should be coming from anything that plugs in. Meals are about reconnecting. Meals are about laughter. Meals are when your kids get to complain about what you made that night, right? Every night, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Either way, I look forward to the quiet with my kids.
3. Create a family hobby
Every time I go away on vacation, I buy my son a huge puzzle — 500-plus pieces or more, for sure! When we start, it’s always overwhelming, but my kids go crazy over the thought of completing it. We LOVE working together. Admittedly, my children are young, so I end up doing most of the work. But it’s really about something to do together that makes it so wonderful for everyone involved. If puzzles aren’t your thing, then think about what would work for you and yours.
4. Indulge together
We don’t have dessert every night as a family, but it’s certainly a treat when we indulge together. I love to bring the kids with me to the supermarket and let them pick out which pie they want when I know we are going to have a sweet adventure after dinner. I know the Coconut Cream Pie from Marie Callender’s is always a home run with everyone on my list. All I have to do is defrost and serve, which makes this dessert as easy as… pie.
5. Let go of expectations
We are in a day and age of status checks, hearts, likes and the need for society approval. This is pushing parents to go for the bigger and better. It doesn’t always have to be a trip to the arcade! Sometimes it could just be a game of cards or movie night at home. Your children want to spend time with you — any way they can. Sure, they enjoy the huge escapades… but they will also enjoy a game of charades or a quick hike outdoors. Just be together.
6. Just look
I’m still thinking about getting these words tattooed somewhere on me. Whenever I feel like life is a little too overwhelming, or if I feel too stressed from work, I pause and just look. I look around. I see my kids on the couch. I see the toys all over the floor. I see the diapers in a wicker basket. And then I remember how blessed I am, and I can slow down and plug back in. I look my babies in the eyes and tell them how much I love them. Odds are I also kiss them madly until they pull away, begging for some air. These moments are critical for me. When my mind gets away from me or fills me with anxiety, I just stop and look at my life, and then I go there and be with them. It’s the best medicine around.
Savor every second of those little ones.
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between Marie Callender’s and SheKnows