Building Better Families #8 – What Choices Have You Made?

I feel like my family is slipping away from me.

My youngest is 11 ½ years old, my oldest is 17.10

When my kids were younger we made an effort as a family to spend time together every weekend doing something fun – in fact that was why I started this website – to help other families in the Twin Cities find fun things to do with their families. To help them build memories together and actually enjoy each other.

We worked hard to expand what our kids were exposed to. We went to museums, cultural events, festivals, new parks, wildlife refuges and anything else that came along that seemed interesting.

In Building Better Families Matthew Kelly talks about how important it is to help kids grow intellectually by exposing them to new things – we were really good at that.

Then a couple of years ago our lives took a turn we weren’t expecting and we fell out of the habit of doing things weekly. It slipped to a couple of times a month then to a couple of times a year and now we are lucky to even do that much.

It seems that the effort we put into exposing our kids to new things was more important that I realized. It wasn’t just the activities we enjoyed it was the time we spent together.

However there was also a struggle with balance. While I enjoyed spending time with my family it seemed like I didn’t have a moment to myself when they were small.  There is always more to do than there was time in which to do it.

So we made a choice.

We chose to spend time together as a family, exploring the area we live in.

I can’t say this was a conscious choice, but our children were so important to us that it just never occurred to us as parents that we could do other stuff too. We had wanted children for so long that when they finally arrived we wanted to enjoy them to the fullest.

But children grow up and suddenly they aren’t interested in spending time with us – forget about being seen in public with us.

29Not spending time together has really changed our family dynamic.

It isn’t that bad things are happening, or the kids are getting into trouble, but we don’t seem to have that emotional connection that we used to. My oldest is working as much as she can in order to save up for a school trip to Germany next summer. Because she works almost every day it is almost impossible to find a time when all of us can even go to a movie together. The youngest one isn’t interested in anything that requires leaving her room.

It seems that life is full of changes and it is time for me to make some adjustments. My goal is to be a bit more deliberate about my choices. My children still need me as a parent, just not in the same way they did when they were young. It is time to step back and let them experience some independence.

I will miss the adventures we had together when they were younger, but it is time to start looking forward. It is time to take another look at what I am doing, but more importantly why I choose to do those things. Building a better family may start with building a better me.

 

Start Here This article is about why I started this project in the first place.

Introduction I don’t always read the introductions to a book, but I am glad I read this one.

Chapter 1 When was the last time you were inspired by something?

Chapter 2 Enjoy your family right now.

Chapter 3 – Part 1 Parenting is not about 1 great success

Chapter 3 – Part 2 – What word do you measure your parenting success by?

Chapter 3 – Part 3 – Screaming is a good thing?

Chapter 3 – Part 4 – What stories are your children listening to?