WE ARE TOGETHER as a family more often than not when not attending to our workplace responsibilities or my volunteer commitments. During the week we are almost always around the dining room table for the evening meal. Occasionally a meeting or another commitment makes it not possible for us to be together for this connection opportunity but it is the exception to our life and not the rule. We prioritize at least one day of the weekend to be together and engage in activities together as a family. Whether it’s errands, chores, or a fun activity we do it together! More often than not it is both days of the weekend.
Hitting the hills on a hiking date...
When we welcomed our second son to the world 11 months ago we were faced with competing family interests. Our newborn required frequent feedings and many naps throughout the day. Our then 3½ year-old required activity and could miss his daily nap with minimal consequences. Many times my partner and I found our family divided with me spending time to keep our older son busy and active. She would be spending much of her time with our newborn providing food and comfort for his simple needs. Instead of family time most of the time it was necessary for me to go one direction with our oldest and my partner to remain with our youngest at a slower paced day or activity. This period was challenging because we were often apart when we wanted to be together.
What glacier? I don't see a glacier...
It took some time to start to overcome this challenge and embrace this change but we eventually came-up with a solution: dedicated dates with our boys.
This seems simple but this transition required my partner and I to shelf our guilt of not being together as a family. After we did this we could embrace the fact that one-on-one time with the sole attention of one parent is also important for our children and our relationships with them.
In some shape or form I had already been having dates with our oldest son. With my partner making dates with our oldest this put me in a position to learn about or new son in taking care of his needs for a moment. For no real reason I was apprehensive at first but I knew better than to give in to my apprehension. I jumped into these moments with our youngest and I treasure all of the one-on-one moments and dates I have with our boys.
At the end of this week I will have had two dates with our youngest, one date with our oldest and a hike-date with my partner. I have taken two days off of work to make three of these events possible. I realize this is a luxury but if you find yourself in a workplace position to do this, you should! Family time is imperative and important but please do not let it overshadow the importance of one-on-one time. After just four years of parenthood I know that all of the time spent together or has unmatchable value.