Our kids’ activities fill the calendar almost every day of the week. Work-life pops up before and after our commutes. A chill day provided this dad with a healthy perspective.
His temperature was up, but after a dose of medicine, it settled down. He had the chills… so, he wrapped himself in a blanket and resembled a rather large and well-tucked burrito. We didn’t know if it was the flu or an ear infection but he was quarantined to the house. Meanwhile, his mom had now recovered from a brief chest cold but dad continues from a sinus infection that no amount of antibiotics, steroids, or Alka-Seltzer chugging will relieve.
But during this weekend of ailments, side effects, snot rags, and mucus… we chilled. We had time to simply be with one another, to rest. All outside activities were kept at bay.
And it did not suck.
When parents consider how much time is committed to other things, outside of being with one another, it is kind of mind-blowing. It is hard to imagine a generation prior to Millennials or Gen Xer’s that had so many activities and time commitments on the weekly docket. I highly doubt Boomers, who are grandparents today, were raised by parents who required a calendar to keep track of everything.
And in the end, where does a weekend of chilling with one’s parents stack up to compared to everything else we provide to our kids?
Here’s my opinion– it is equal in importance.
Compared to families that have two kids, I admit we have it easy. Our family: one boy, a six-year-old, a four-year-old dog named Bowie (named after the artist of course), and Trooper the cat, whom we were told was three-years-old and loved dogs when we rescued him but he’s probably closer to seven. And no, he never liked dogs but thankfully the animals that roam our house have called a truce.
My son named the cat based on the Iron Maiden song, The Trooper, for the record. Very cool.
The four of us lounged, chilled, and tried to recover during a weekend where we missed a birthday party, canceled a playdate, and tried to get healthy. There was not much to do. My son and I tinkered around in the basement when he felt well, watched a movie with his mommy, napped, and hung out.
I was rubbing his head in the afternoon when he leaned against me as we watched Nickelodeon’s show, Kid Danger, which is on more frequently than CNN at present. We talked a lot, just about life, family, his interests, school, friends, anything.
I thought about these kinds of chats with my dad, which were few and far between being raised in a divorced home. That saddened me for a moment, but unless I croak, hopefully, he’ll have fond memories from weekends like this when our family had some quality downtime.
What was even less distracting was work… because I’m not. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but being between jobs and close to landing a respectable one, I had zero work emails to tend to or an overbearing boss to worry about prior to the Monday commute. When will that happen again in my life?
I procured two life lessons during this weekend of disease, but perhaps the disease itself is life on some level. Our ability to parent often gets convoluted with so many commitments. Here’s what I learned:
One weekend per month: Commit one day to lounging, being spontaneous, doing a day hike with your immediate family, and blowing off everything else. Just be together. A friend told me once, you never get this time back at this stage in your child’s life. There’s only two years old once, or maybe your child is ten, or your three kids are 2,4, and 7. Let creativity and imagination take over if that’s what inspires everyone. And, share a good meal around the table as a family, together.
Work-Life: Write down your priorities for the following week on Friday, then turn off your work email. You can turn off your email via your smartphone. Did work supply you with a phone that you’re required to use for your job? That’s wonderful! When you leave the office on Friday… turn it off.
Then… just be together.
If you liked this story you may enjoy the following:
The Paradox of the Abandoned Castle Turret: Safety or Adventure?
The Wrap-Around Holiday: The Easiest Way to Enjoy a Two-Week Vacation
Participation-Award Syndrome and the Consequences of Entitlement
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