Friday, May 1, 2015

Quality time

This has been one of those weeks I just want to hug, kiss, and hold my kids and remind myself of how lucky we really are.  Beyond just the normal need to do this, we have friends whose little one is struggling and my heart has been absolutely breaking every day at the thought of what they’re going through.  

As much as I know that we really do have health struggles in our house, and I don’t need to diminish them because someone else’s are worse, it makes me so much more grateful that the surgeries that my girls are facing are pretty minor and routine.  

Last weekend was a little rough at our house.  Neither of the kids was sleeping great, my normally angelic, happy baby was a little crankier than usual, and then there’s the daily behavior struggles with Tera.  So when Zoey was up at 5:15 on Saturday and then at 4:50 on Sunday, I will admit I was a little frustrated.  But in those early hours of Sunday morning, as I fed Zoey in her room, I chose instead to focus on the fact that these baby days with her are getting shorter.  She’s getting pretty close to one (thought not much bigger) and the thought of these being my last baby days is difficult to deal with.  I already can’t believe she’s 9.5 months (she’ll be 7 months adjusted on Saturday) and the fact that two of those months were in the hospital, only to be followed by month after month after month of sickness, hasn’t made handling the passing of time in this first year any easier.  I feel like we’ve spent most of her life so far just treading water trying to keep our heads up.  

But in the end, whether it’s stressful time, sick time, or busy time, at least we have time together.  Some weekends fly by and I realize how much I enjoyed my time with my family and it makes it nearly impossible to go back to work.  And other times I realize that a whole weekend has passed and though we’ve been together, not much of the time spent was enjoyable, whether it be from illness, stress, or plans.  Both situations make Sunday nights and Monday mornings difficult for me.  

It’s a very difficult balance of time that families face.  Especially when one or both of the parents work.  You want quality time as a family, quality time to yourself, and quality time with your spouse.  And unfortunately, even in the best and healthiest of situations, that’s not easy.  Then you factor in real life with its sickness, chores, errands, and other commitments and it’s nearly impossible.  I’ve learned that I don’t much like some of the sentiments that float around social media regarding how you spend your time.  They go something like this:

Take time for yourself, you need it.

Take time for just you and your spouse, your marriage needs it.

Enjoy this time with your kids, they’re only little once and laundry can wait.  

Even just enjoy this time with your kids, they’re only little once (without the laundry commentary).

“They” say all these things and yet there never seems to be any instructions on how exactly to pull all that off.  And the one about enjoying your kids? Of course I do, but there are times when they also drive me nuts.  And I’m pretty sure that’s okay.  And all the advice about putting off household responsibilities and just doing whatever you want whenever you want? That’s great, if I had a laundry fairy, a dishes fairy, a cleaning fairy, and a taking care of the less than pleasant aspects of parenting fairy, but I don’t think I believe in fairies anymore as they certainly have not visited my house recently.   I’m not advocating always following a schedule or filling a weekend with cleaning instead of playing, but I’d also like my children to understand that there are things that need to be done.  And I also feel like dressing my children in clean clothes makes me a decent part as well…

So when talking about quality time? Yes, we all need family time, alone time, husband/wife time.  And when there isn’t time for all of them, I say, go with whichever one you need the most at that time.  This particular week I needed time with my girls and my husband.  It was a rough week at work, filled with sleepless nights due to Zoey being sick again and both kids awake on and off each night.  My mind is exhausted and filled with thoughts that won’t stop and my heart aches.  But I get to spend time with my family this weekend and don’t for a minute think I’ll be taking that for granted.