1.the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
“such synchronicity is quite staggering”
2. a bitch.
So, I have all of the topics for every given day preselected, and on that day I just go and look and see what my topic is and then do any researching needed and do my writing. Lately I feel like the universe is toying with me. I don’t want to write about this topic today, it’s sensitive. But I’m going to do my best. Because y’all deserve the best and because I told myself I’d make this work daily regardless of what I felt like or what was going on. So without further ado…
Today’s popular New Year’s resolution is… Spend More Time With Family.
Step 1) Have family.
Step 2) Be nice to your family so they’ll want to spend time with you.
Step 3) Make time for your family and don’t go “Oh well, I screwed this one up, let me get another one.”
Alright, all family drenched crankiness aside. Family is a wonderful thing. Family knows everything there is to know about you and still mostly puts up with you, flaws and all. And you do the same for them. There aren’t a lot of people in the world you can say that about, but hopefully you can say it about your immediate family, and even better if you can say it about extended family. There’s something really special about the validation of a family member and it’s an amazing feeling when you discover that relative that you’re a carbon copy of that just gets you in every way and makes you feel like it’s okay to be you. There’s not any part of your family you shouldn’t be making more time for whether it’s your kids, spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, they all have something valuable and wonderful to add to your life, even if sometimes they bring some awful with it.
So. How to spend more time with your family. The FINDING time part is going to be up to you, I can’t fix everyone’s schedule on an individual basis, you need to decide whether it’s bringing less work home or extending deadlines or actually taking vacation days (which most Americans don’t bother to take, probably largely because we don’t get to be sick without fear of losing our jobs, but you have to decide a good balance), or sacrificing some of your nights out at the club, or maybe not having your kids in so many extracurriculars. The time is there, you just have to make it.
The easiest way to spend more time with your family, if you aren’t already doing it, is to have dinner together. Even if you’re really strapped for time we all have to eat. Every night might not be possible because of invites from friends and special events and whatever, but have family meals scheduled every night at the same time and set the expectation that everyone be present at least 5 nights a week. Family dinners are important quality time that promote conversation, can be a time to share in your faith by saying grace, ideally would be a source of gratitude although we know kids are never really going to thank you in real time for the food you make them, they’re going to appreciate it when they’re older and living on their own, and when you see extended family they can be an easy way to get everyone interacting. Your kids may not have anything to say to your aunts and uncles they’ve never even really heard of, but everybody eats. Let your kids help make dinner too, and as they get older have it be their sole responsibility once a week. They’ll get satisfaction out of having done it themselves, you’ll be preparing them for life in the real world, kids love to help cook, and hopefully you’ll only have to smile through a few choked down failures if you teach them the basics and how to follow a recipe and some easy to make meals.
Go for after dinner walks or bike rides at least once a week. It doesn’t need to be a big expedition, just 20 or 30 minutes around the neighborhood is perfect. It gets everyone active and people are in happier moods while they’re generating endorphins, and the ability to walk side by side instead of having to make eye contact can make it easier for kids to confide or open up about things that are bothering them or parts of their life they want to let you know about but are uncomfortable with.
Plan a family night that once a week you all spend together. What you do is less important than that you do, but do have something planned so it doesn’t fall flat. Take turns planning. Let everyone in the family rotate picking something to do on Family Night. Give them a budget (which might be set at $0) and tell them it’s their turn to pick. Even if they say they don’t want to, set the expectation that it’s their responsibility. They may just be at that age where showing enthusiasm for family time is lame but then when the night rolls around they give an eyeroll and an “If I HAVE too, I guess mini-golf isn’t TOO bad.” If they stick by their family time is lame stance, don’t fight about it, just have your own backup plan ready and too bad they’re part of the family, they’re participating. One night of the week will kill no one, and which night of the week it is doesn’t need to be set in stone. Be flexible so you’re not ruining the big party, dance, whatever. Family night doesn’t have to mean just family either, if your kids still think you’re cool enough to show you off to their friends, let them. Also be prepared to stick by your word on doing what they picked. If you find yourself playing a video game you haven’t got any idea how to play, that’s okay, mash some buttons, that’s what most kids are doing when they start anyhow. Plan bigger family days once a month or once every few months, whatever your budget allows for, and take everybody on a day trip to explore another town or visit an amusement park or a museum or a circus or something special that might cost a little more than your average family board game night.
Have the occasional nostalgia night amongst your family nights where you look at old pictures and watch old home videos and talk about relatives and recount family stories and about who you were before you were mom or dad, and maybe occasionally toss in some stories about the cute or funny things your kids did that they might not even remember. That doesn’t mean embarrass them. Most of us like to hear about ourselves if it’s something good or something happy or something before we can remember.
Read with your kids. It doesn’t really matter how old they are. When they’re little it might be before bed, snuggled up. When they’re older it might mean a chapter a night from a beloved book while you sit on the floor or they sprawl in a beanbag chair. Even older it might mean reading the same book independently but simultaneously so you can discuss it with each other. When things break, let your kids help you fix it. When they get older it might be more of a make your kids help you fix it, but younger kids love repair work and DIY and seeing how things work. And all kids are learning life skills when they get to help fix things. When they get older maybe that thing they’re helping to fix is an old car you bought cheap that they’re helping to get in working condition for when they can drive it. I wanted to help my parents paint the walls in our house when I was a kid. I was given an emphatic no. I’m now willing to have kids just to have someone to paint the walls. If kids want to help you do something, let them help.
As kids turn into teenagers and spending time with them is harder, they’ve also become real people with real interests and things they’re passionate about. Learn what those are and be willing to spend some time in that world. Maybe that’ll mean volunteering together, maybe it’ll mean dressing like vampires and writing bad poetry, maybe you’ll learn some really interesting dance moves. Whatever it is, if your teens are receptive to you checking out their world be prepared to do it.
If you’re so completely strapped for time that none of these ideas work for you, well, I think you need to reevaluate your life and your priorities personally, but your kids are important enough to make time for. Maybe that means everyone gets up 15-30 minutes earlier to spend time together in the morning. Maybe it means skyping from the office. While it sounds kind of cliche and embarrassing, kids say that finding notes in their lunchboxes from their parents is one of the ways they feel most special. Just keep it to a note, not a singing card and no confetti.
If you’re doing the modern families don’t have to live together life, make the most of the time you do get with them. Still be their parent and not their friend, kids want you to be their parent, but still do all of the above on the days you get to spend time with them and pay special attention to creating opportunities to talk. On your days that aren’t with them still make a point of once a day skyping or facetiming or old fashioned phone calls if nothing else. The two biggest things a kid needs from their parents are love, and learning how to navigate through life as an adult. Be a part of that.
So. Today, spend some time with your family. Apart from that:
Steam your face. There are specially made face steamers, but you can also boil some water and pour it in a basin and throw a towel over your head to tent it and trap the steam and direct it at your face. Give it 15-20 minutes. The idea is to open your pores and let them unclog. Once you do cleanse your skin really well, and drink a lot of water, let it get the toxins out.
Clean your living room shelves. We’ve been doing the living room really piecemeal, because it gets most of the use out of every room in the house and can be a big one to tackle all at once. The shelves should be just about the last thing in it at this point, and I’m willing to believe that no matter who you are you’ve got some kind of shelves in your living room. Where else would you put your media and electronics and knick knacks? So. Dust, polish, organize. My DVDs go alphabetical. I would never suggest that everyone should be as OCD as me. But DVDs should go alphabetically.
That’s it for today 🙂 I will see you all later on Facebook for the Question of the Day!
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: Family Portrait
Album: Greatest Hits…So Far!!!
I am for real kinda floored by the amazing CDs Amazon is giving away for less than $5 when I paid $20 or more for them. This one I bought twice at $20 or more cause I got one for my mom too. P!nk is amazing.