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I'm a SAHM: In Search of Family Time

I'm a SAHM: In Search of Family Time

As a stay-at-home mom, you're probably familiar with the phrase, "the days are long, but the years are short." How true is this?!? Every day, we wake up with another long list of to-dos, usually including dishes and toys needing to be cleaned up from the day before. Even though our days can sometimes feel long, do you still feel like there are never enough hours in the day?

This is especially true in those few short hours after my husband gets home from work. As is probably extremely familiar to many of you stay-at-home moms and hard-working dads, my husband works long hours and has a long commute, so we often only have a few minutes of family time between dinner and bedtime. Because our time is short each evening, and because we know the years are flying by (how is our little boy almost FOUR?!?), we're trying to make the most of every little moment of family time we can find.

But this is easier said than done, right? The reality is that sometimes when my husband walks through the door at night, all I really want to do is grab a pint of ice cream out of the freezer and head upstairs to take a bubble bath ALONE!  And that's assuming he actually managed to escape work and make it home before bedtime. Or that I don't have to race off to something the moment he walks through the door, quickly catching up on the events of our day between bites of the $1 hamburger he grabbed on his way home. Does this sound familiar? As our kids get older, I know it's also going to get harder and harder to find moments together, because not only will we have to work around my husband's schedule and my schedule, but we'll also be working around our kids' school and extra-curricular activities.

I know we are ALL much happier when we spend time together, so lately I've been on a mission to fit family time in anywhere I can. And even though it's not always easy, it is always worth it.

For example, I recently decided to pack a lunch and drive to my husband's office for a family lunch date. With minimal midday traffic, this drive only takes about 30 minutes. But it was a long 30 minutes. Getting out of the house is hard enough when you’ve had a decent night’s sleep and your child is happy, but this was NOT one of those days. Because we made a last-minute decision to go on this little outing, and because my husband had a meeting he had to be at, I raced around the house to find clothes, keys, and a wallet. And then I hurried our little boy out the door. But in our rush to get out the door, we forgot to grab something off the stairs that he had really wanted to bring with us, and he was devastated! After listening to him cry without being able to console him, I finally called my husband and explained that today just might not work. But the three of us talked about it, and we decided to dry our tears and continue on our little excursion. I am so glad we did! Even though it was hard for us to get out of the house, and the lunch I made wasn't anything special, those few moments together were totally worth it.

I know my little family isn't alone in this search for family time, so I thought I'd share a few things we've tried that have helped us make the most of our time together:

Pack a picnic

One of the things our little boy loves the most is having a picnic in our family room while we watch a movie. And when the weather is nice and it's early enough in the evening, we grab our picnic blanket and head outside. It's inexpensive, relaxing, and makes everyone happy!

Schedule time together

Set aside one evening a week, schedule a weekly lunch date, or even find an hour that you can spend together each week. Or simply make sure you always eat dinner together. Commit to keeping this time open for your family, and don't allow anything else to interrupt it.

Put your phone down

I think it's pretty safe to safe most (if not all) parents have had an experience like Alyssa, and realized they needed to put their phone down more often. When you're together, be together! Put your phones down and make sure you're making the most of your time together.

Be flexible

I love the idea of having a strict bedtime routine and schedule, but we've found that sometimes the best way for us to spend time together as a family is to keep our little boy up a little late on nights when my husband is going to be home extra late. Luckily, our son is awesome about getting sleep when he needs it and will sleep in or take an extra nap if necessary.

Find YOU time and US time

It's important to make sure you're spending quality time with your family, but it's equally important to take care of yourself and your marriage. Every once in a while, turn the bedtime routine over to your husband, grab that pint of ice cream, and take a bubble bath. Or even better, turn the bedtime routine over to a babysitter, and go out with your husband.

These are just a few of the things we've done to help us find, and make, the most of our time together as a family. But in the end, you have to look at your own life, and do what works for YOUR family! So Baby Cubby community, what have you done to help you find family time?

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