My husband and I both love to be busy. It’s both good and bad. It’s good because we get a lot done. But it can also put a strain on our family when one or both of us doesn’t realize our desire to be always on the go is hurting our family. I am the type of person who loves the chance for business trips, going to conferences and keeping my email down to 0. He is the type that likes to work through lunch, can’t let a problem go until it is solved and has almost an entire month accrued in paid time off because he doesn’t like to take days off.
Our children are happy, know they’re loved and love to spend time together as a family. It can be tricky, balancing two parents who work and two little ones at home, but we have come up with some guidelines that we stick by that has made it possible to stay true to ourselves and our family.
Monday nights are family nights
We don’t schedule things on family night. Ever. We play games, sing songs while my husband plays the guitar and just talk. It is my daughter’s favorite night of the week. Most of the time we don’t spend any money; we just play games at home. But every now and then we go miniature golfing or swimming.
We stay in contact
I know when my husband has a problem that needs to be solved at work before he comes home and he knows when I am running late from a meeting. We communicate so we don’t frustrate. We also have a shared Google calendar that we update with everything, even when we don’t think it is important to the other person to know. I put the hours I volunteer at the school on the calendar even if I know he is going to be at work during that time and probably won’t need me. That way we’re always in the loop and can be involved.
Both parents put the kids to bed
I wouldn’t trade those last few moments with our girls before they go to sleep. We both are there to tuck them in, read a story and say prayers together.
We go on vacation together
My husband may have a lot of time off saved up, but at least once a year we try to take a full week vacation. We don’t always make it, last year it was because our baby was born, but this year we took a full week to go to Disneyland and we made memories that I truly cherish. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
Family dinner happens every night
Family dinner isn’t negotiable. If one person has something, a lot of times we snack and wait for them. It changes the whole feeling in our house if we don’t have dinner together. My husband and I both love to cook. Some nights we make elaborate meals from scratch together, and some nights when we are both tired, we pull out a Dream Dinner to simplify our family dinner.
This summer we have been trying an experiment with Dream Dinners to make family dinner less stressful, and I think it has been a complete success. We have had family dinner when I didn’t feel like cooking. We have had family dinner when we were short on time or patience. We have even had family dinner when we had surprise dinner guest. Dream Dinners has been easy and a fun experiment in taste and togetherness. We have discovered some favorites. The Thai Peanut Chicken is our number 1 with quite a few of the burgers following close behind. For us, it has been a good experience. We are busy people, and that is OK. Dream Dinners lets us be whatever we want to be — busy, out playing, in reading or just watching TV — and still have dinner together.
Now that summer is over and the cooler weather is settling in, I am reflecting about what I have learned this summer. I think the biggest lesson is to slow down for a little bit every day. Find out what happened at your child’s playgroup, sing silly songs together and make silly memories around the dinner table. You won’t ever regret have dinner together every night and it just might be a favorite childhood memory when your child grows up.
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You can find my other Dream Dinners Post here:
Alleviating Mom Guilt With Dream Dinners
How to Connect With Your Tween
Saving Family Dinner and Freezer Cookie Dough Balls