Monday, July 14, 2014
A Week of Busy
As a family, we have a pretty great evening rhythm. Family dinner each night, after dinner walks, a little play time for Reece before his bath with daddy, a bedtime snack, and then reading and snuggles with me, before he falls asleep. We like this rhythm, and it works for our family. Two years ago, when Reece should have started school, the few daytime programs we participated in Reece was now too old for, or they were moved to the evening, as the children were in school during the day. At that time, Justin and I made the decision that our evening family time was more important than running around to activities, so we stopped our participation in them.
Fast forward to this summer, and swimming lessons. We were lucky enough to find a lovely young lady who was teaching swimming in her family's backyard pool last summer. We signed Reece up for a week of lessons at 10am, every morning. It was perfect. Reece clicked with his instructor, and it fit perfectly into our days. This spring we received a letter letting us know she was once again offering swimming lessons, but they would be in the evening as she had secured a full time summer position working during the day.
Justin and I talked it out. The pros...Reece knows and loves her, her home is pretty close, in rural terms, and I don't have to spend a lot of time searching out a new instructor. The cons...a disruption in our evening family rhythm. It is only a week, I said, and with that, we did it. We signed him up for the week, swimming each night at 5:30pm, the time we usually eat dinner.
What a week! We moved dinner to 4:15pm, I managed to put an easy meal on the table each night and have it cleaned up before we left at 5pm. We made it to swimming and back home again by 6:30pm, which was perfect timing for a short play before the start of our usual bedtime routine. But even with making it all happen it still felt so very rushed and busy. If you know me in person, you know I don't do busy, in fact, as a family, we don't do busy. We like the slow lane, and if we ever needed proof, last week was it.
Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed being at the pool with Reece, watching his confidence grow in the water, and doing a little knitting at the same time, but the rush, and busy it added to our evenings was not fun. And it definitely made being mindful and present much harder.
I am glad we did the lessons, Reece improved so much in those five days last week, but I am also glad that we return to our rhythm this week, where we can sink into the evening, and enjoy our time together. The evening activities can wait a few more years.
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Isn't it funny how we stretch to accommodate the schedule and weigh what is important and what might not be important. I think it's wonderful you signed up and altered the evening routine. I remember tennis season and NOT being about to cook because I was at a match. We just rolled with it and if we were picking up pizza on the way home, it was okay (or cold sandwiches, or breakfast for dinner). I remember being at the matches and then they were over and a thing of the past.ReplyDelete
It was hard, but we did it. It was so lovely to have a relaxing dinner and enjoy our family walk this evening :)Delete
Kim, I can really relate to this. My oldest is doing swim lessons every morning at 10:30am for two weeks. The lessons are close to home and only half an hour, but still… having to get everyone ready and out the door really feels like a disruption to our slow summer mornings, and by the time we get back (after a stop at the playground next to the pool, of course), it is lunchtime. She loves the lessons, but I am very much looking forward to returning to our slow, no-plans mornings!ReplyDelete
Enjoy the return to your slower mornings :)Delete
I think you and I would make great neighbors Kim, I don't do rushed either. I remember when all five of my babies were home and I had one in dance, three in ball, and a baby in diapers, it was a very stressful time. I am so thankful that Mike is self employed and could help, A LOT. Now that I am almost done raising my family [Alex will be 17 this month] my life has become calmer, for the most part, just the way I like it!ReplyDelete
I know we would Tracey :) We are the same there, having Justin around to help makes a huge difference. Happy you have returned to calm. xoDelete
I know how you feel about rhythm- "it" used to be so nice. Now that our kids are teens it's really hard to keep it all together in a nice flow for Fog horn and us. I realize this is why I have been so down lately..the teens have their own routine, friends and sports etc. But I guess that is something I need to get used too. Glad to hear that Mr., Reece is becoming a fish- nothing better!ReplyDelete
I can imagine with children of different ages, pinning down a rhythm must be hard, especially with teenagers.Delete
Not quite a fish yet, but working on it :)
I relate to this so much! We are a slow paced family here too. Every so often though, we have a week or stretch of days that are so full. (We are coming off a week of that right now). While it's all fun stuff, by the end I need a stretch of days at home to get back into our normal rhythm and re-fuel. For the most part I never regret the busyness, but it sure is nice when we are back to our quiet paced life!ReplyDelete
Those busy weeks are good reminders, aren't they? It also makes me realize how well our rhythm actually works and why sticking to it is important for all three of us.Delete
I do OK with busy, but always need a break of calm afterwards. We have more of a problem during the school year when Finn has OT and therapy each once a week after school.... I feel like it significantly cuts into his play time, and I hate driving around town at that time of day. But, sometimes the benefits are worth the negatives.ReplyDelete
I feel like I am in a constant state of struggle trying to make our life more routine, but honestly, I think I am lacking in that department!
Rhythm is hard sometimes, and I can image with two children it is even harder. And sometimes things are not always in our control, like Finn's appointments. I have found the key for us, even during the busy times is to ensure we stick to our wake, meal and bedtime rhythm. If those are good everything else usually flows okay.Delete
It's a tough call, isn't it?ReplyDelete
We have had a few afternoon/evening activities. Julia's Irish dance was in the afternoon but the bus didn't get us home until after 6. Soccer practice is also in the evening, but we managed to get the two of them onto teams that practiced and played at the same time on the same day, so it only threw us off once a week.
We are still working on our rhythm and are a bit less concerned with the timing of it all than most people we know. (This may be why we are still working on our rhythm!) We have supper and a bit of play time before we go to bed with whatever book we are reading together, and I read a chapter or two to them as they fall asleep. It happens later on the nights we have activities (or "events" - like the free concerts in the park or the outdoor movies or whatnot), but we've definitely found that having a regular rhythm makes the nights when we have to change things a bit move more smoothly.
I could NOT do a whole week of evenings out. I'd be ready to crawl under the covers & never get out by Wednesday... xo
It is! You are right about having a rhythm and the odd night that is off rhythm is still a fairly easy night, we have found that too.Delete
It was a tough week for me. I just kept saying, only 4 more, 3 more, 2 more days. And then it was Friday and we were done.
Short breaks into rhythm make it so much easier to appreciate your rhythm when you get back to it. Like a candle that shines brighter in the darkness. Be well.ReplyDelete
Yes, so very true. A little reminder of how important our rhythm is to all three of us.Delete
I totally get it! My word for the year is slow and I am trying to live by it. Last week was fast for us too and it was a bit too much for me. I forgot to do some important things...ReplyDelete
Oh no, hope you got those important things done.Delete
That sounds like a proof of the importance of rhythm! And it must be very constructive for Reece! I'm always surprised how early you have dinner on this side of the ocean... we usually eat around 7pm...ReplyDelete
Definite proof! Yes, we do have dinner early. I did as a child too. We are starting the bedtime routine at 7pm :)Delete
Yes. Our evenings have been less than peaceful around here and I greatly dislike it. I'm not good with distress and frustrations to end the day. I think late nights and early mornings make us tired and grumpy... hard stuff. I'm glad you are returning to rhythm. We are finding new ones, and it's good, even with the stress it brings.ReplyDelete
Never a fun way to end the evening. I sometimes enjoy the shift into new rhythms, a little something different without too much change. We actually end up with a little shift with each season, and it always feels right.Delete
I love hearing about your "rhythm" and even hearing about how your family deals with disruptions in that rhythm. With Ellie, I'm finding our daily rhythm ebbs and flows. Some days we struggle and some days we float along together quite well. It definitely is a tough balance, especially when living in the busy suburbs. I'm hoping to create even more steadiness and balance as the years go by, but it's always helpful and interesting to hear of others daily "rhythm".ReplyDelete
Thanks Summer. It was the same way with Reece when he was Ellie's age. We had a pretty good wake up, meal time and bedtime rhythm at that age, but the days themselves flowed along a little more based on how we were feeling each day. We have definitely moved into more of a daily, weekly and yearly rhythm as he has aged, and with homeschooling.Delete
We are the same. So many of my girl's friends are in sports and they are constantly on the go with practices during the week and games on the weekends. I am glad my girls are artistic and not athletic. I hate weeks that are loaded up as it does happen with school events sometimes.ReplyDelete
Glad things are settling back for you. My girls just returned from two weeks away and I vowed we would get an evening routine started. It's different as my girls are older, but they get their computer/television time while I cook dinner, then we eat and clean up together (I wash, Em dries, K puts away) and each night I try to spend twenty minutes or so in the bedrooms with each of them before lights out. So far so good.
It is something we hope to avoid in the next few years, but as little man ages, I know he will develop interests that might have us out in the evening. Hoping by that time we can find a happy medium with it all.Delete
So far so good, glad to hear it. It sounds like a lovely evening rhythm, and I love that you spend some time with each of them separately before lights out. xo
Yes, yes. I am the same. Thankful when familiar, comfortable and simple routines can resume after a little (or a lot of ) hustle and bustle.ReplyDelete
It always feels so good.Delete
Oh I feel this! I signed myself up for a class this next few months and realised it would spell busy for us, and have now changed my mind. There's is time and it can be done later, when busy won't overshadow our rhythm. I'm so glad I read this today Kim xxReplyDelete
I have done that too Elisa, when I realize what it means for our family and our rhythm. xoDelete
I'm becoming more and more the same. We have a few nights a week where we do our Tao learning with our group and the kids have a babysitter. Although it is all planned (Easy dinners, early bath time, etc.), I always feel like I'm pushing the kids passed their regular pace. I don't like rushing them. Week-ends are worse for me : They get so over planned so quickly and sometimes it feels there is just nothing we can do.ReplyDelete
Hopefully this week will be milder and slower for you. xo
It is much slower, back to our regular rhythm this week and it feels so good. Weekends here are all about slow, we try not to plan too much, and soak them up as much as we can. xoDelete
Oh, I envy your ability to be so on it with scheduling. Now that it's Summer our kids are often up at 10 p.m. Whoopsie.ReplyDelete
It is just part of who I am, it is the type A, have to be on top of things, control freak in me :) And if little man is up that late, he will be a very unhappy little man the next day.Delete
This was really interesting to read, finding out just how deliberate your choices are to give you the lifestyle you want. I frequently feel that it would be great to slow our pace down, but I think choices already made - particularly having 4 children all with very different personalities and interests and at different stages of their lives - definitely make it hard. I think I just have to enjoy the ride and wait for a slower pace when they're all grown! And although last week was too busy for you, it's great that it confirmed that you're on the path you want to be, and I'm sure you're appreciating your evenings more than ever again this week.ReplyDelete
I am glad you found it interesting. We have definitely been very careful in the choices we have made that allow us to live life in the slow lane. I do think this is much easier with one child, and also a child that is so young. We know it won't always be like this, we know Reece will develop interests that will eventually change our evening rhythm, but for now we are content with the way things are.Delete
And yes, I agree with you. Last week showed us that we are on the right path, and we are very much enjoying this slower week.