When you’re on your death bed, do you really think you’re going to look back on your life and say ‘I wish I had spent more time working and buying groceries’?
Of course not.
You’re going to wish you had shoved the vacuum back in the cupboard, gone out for dinner instead, and spent more time with your family.
Unfortunately, modern life conspires against us. It has us believe that we should be always doing something terribly useful, always getting stuff done. Nonsense. What better stuff is there than nurturing your kids and helping them grow up into fun, creative and happy adults?
The secret then is making the time. It can be hard to break the habit of always needing to feel ‘switched on’, but with practice you can learn to live more in the moment. Here are my tips:
If you’re at the movies with your kids, be at the movies with your kids. Whatever activity it is that you’re doing, switch off your phone, focus your attention, and really engage with them.
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Children really do notice when a parent isn’t giving them their full attention and nobody wants to be the mom who always looks like she wishes she was somewhere else.
Schedule some spontaneous fun
Having a family diary or calendar that you can all write in, so you’re not spending your life reminding your partner about upcoming events, is a great way to get organised.
A personalised calendar full of family memories is a fun way to do this, as it doubles as a reminder of the importance of having fun together. As well as dental appointments and soccer games, schedule in down time, date nights, family activities and a bit of extra time for whatever takes your fancy.
If you feel like your life is one big to-do list, chances are you find it hard to switch off and relax. Take some time to put systems in place and you could save a lot of energy in the long run.
Are there any apps that could save you time and money when shopping? Could you share lifts with other parents to clubs and sports practice? Ask friends for recommendations as well for extra tips to free up time.
Don’t blog about it!
This may sound odd coming from me, but it’s so easy to get caught up in that whole frame of mind where everything you do has to be worthy of a blog post, tweet or picture you can share.
Remember those days when we used to go out to the beach or the park, we didn’t have phones, and we would just have fun? Sometimes the only people you really need to share an experience with are your family…
Jo Middleton is a freelance writer, blogger and mum of two daughters, living in Bristol, Jo also writes the award-winning blog Slummy single mummy.