I started out be reviewing a section from The Family: A Proclamation to the World that talks about how we are "supposed" to spend time together with our families:
Successful… families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
My co-presenters would be covering some other areas of meaningful mothering, but I would be focusing on the "wholesome recreational activities" part.. basically, I wanted to talk about FUN!
Let’s Talk About Fun!
Some of the best memories of my family while I was growing up are of times when we were having fun together. I have distinct memories of doing unusual fun things with my parents. I can remember going to a fair as a family and my dad walking through some kind of fun house, pausing every time he came to a window to make crazy faces at us (we were watching from outside). Once when my dad was out of town for the night, my mom moved all of the furniture out of the kitchen and got the skipping ropes so she & I and my sisters could play double dutch! That night we also made cookie dough and ate it before cooking it. I won't forget that day!
Those kinds of special memories are a big part of strengthening our relationships with our children.
I think I was asked to speak at this conference because someone had heard about my blog. Blogs are great for sharing ideas. I love that I can get on the computer and find out how to make a certain kind of cake, or get inspiration for birthday party decor, or something fun to do with my kids on a summer day. I love being invited to look through a little window into another person's life and thoughts by reading their blog. It's inspiring and encouraging to hear about the experiences that other people are having in their lives. But there is another side to the internet and to blog reading and that is the discouragement that can come from comparison.
That quote above is so true! Social media can overwhelm us with everything we COULD be doing. I think it's important for us to remember a couple of things:
1. We are all different!
Maybe you don't want to spend hours preparing for your child's birthday party, making everything by hand and creating a magazine-worthy event... that's okay!
Maybe you love doing that stuff... and that's okay too!
2. We go through Phases
We all go through different phases. Phases of more or less energy, more or less time, more or less desire to do "extra" things.
I know I do. There have been times when I have gone all out on a party and spent hours preparing. I do that because I like to do it (I want to!), I have time to do it, and I have the energy needed to do it. There have also been times when I have not had the time or the energy to do it even though I have the desire to. When that happens, I have learned that I need to accept the phase that I'm in and adjust!
Don’t get overwhelmed- SIMPLIFY!!!
You can totally satisfy your desire to do something unusual/special while simplifying and catering to your lack of energy & time. An example I'll give is of birthday cakes. In 2011, I threw a "Tangled Birthday Party" for Talia. For this party I made a pretty deluxe cake (which took a lot of time and basically exhausted me). The kids loved it!
In 2012, when Talia's birthday rolled around I was having problems with the joints in my fingers and there was no way I could handle piping icing onto a cake. So, I made a basic cake, frosted it, and plopped a toy on top of it for her "Lalaloopsy Birthday Party". The kids loved it!
The fact is that kids are generally pretty easy to please. We can do really fun things with them without putting a lot of time or energy into it!
All of the examples below took very little preparation and involved supplies that were easily found around the house:
[Bottom Left to Right: Indoor Ice Skating, Roasting Marshmallows on the Stove, Indoor Water Guns]
When you want to do something a little more involved with your kids, you can lower the stress for you by involving your kids with the preparation and cleanup! There are lots of good reasons to do this!
As we embark on summer vacation with our kids, I'll be keeping these things in mind. I love doing special, fun things with my girls and making memories with them. (That's what this blog is all about- making memories while raising our kids!) Sometimes that goal can seem overwhelming when we get caught up in all of the fabulous, time intensive ideas floating around us on the web. Let's remember that we can have a lot of fun without exhausting ourselves! If you've got the time, energy, and desire to do something major, then GO FOR IT! If not, then cut yourself a break, simplify, and remember that you can make fabulous memories with your kids without wearing yourself out!