How many times have I heard this from various sources as my children were growing up! Well, they haven’t quite finished growing up yet and I’m still hearing this phrase from time to time. Skeptical as I was in the beginning, seasoned parents giving me their two cents, input from people who have passed the glory days of having tiny children. I don’t think I really paid much attention before, but it’s becoming more relevant to me now.
As it happens, of course. Everyone is caught up in the life and moment that they’re living in. Having children, even just one, is enough to make one really appreciate that tiny moment of silence when you are 110% sure that your child has definitely fallen asleep for the next hour or night. As parents, we get so wound up in the routine of daily life: wake up, prep lunches, yell out reminders to get changed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, school drop-offs, school pick-ups, after school chores and activities, dinner, shower, bed and repeat. When does the playtime come in?
For my family of two working parents, a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old and two dogs, the one time we get to throw some of this necessary, but mundane routine out the window is when we head to the snow. Believe it or not, weekends are so often filled with ‘Things To Do’ that we’re scrounging for Family Time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of the boring stuff, the children still need reminders to brush their teeth and get changed, there’s still cooking and cleaning, but something’s different.
For the longest time I pondered over this one mystery. Is it because Mum and Dad are more relaxed? Or that the children are more tired and hence go to sleep earlier (so not true)? Is it because it’s a holiday and everyone’s so happy there aren’t any fights (not true either)? My husband and I came to a realisation: it’s because in all the humdrum of daily life, we don’t often get to spend quality time with our kids. Maybe your family is different, and that’s great that you’ve found something that works for you! For our family, the best time is when we’re on the mountain together.
The kids love going to ski school and seeing their friends, they love larking around with their instructors and finding their ski legs. We don’t try to stalk them during the day, but sometimes we chance upon them on a run and it’s a moment of pride when you see your uncoordinated 5-year-old actually following instructions and skiing behind his instructor in a beautiful S shape. The children get picked up (we love the half days!) and we all go out for a couple of runs together, with them happy to share with us what they’ve picked up for the day (I get the infamous ‘can’t remember, Mum’ when I ask what they’ve done in class for the day so this is pretty special for me!). We slip-slide home in the cold to a warm dinner we all contribute to (or try to!) and while the rest of the night is pretty routine, it seems just that bit more... Good? Special? Zen? Altogether?
Well, that’s what it feels like to me anyway. What do you and your family do together?