Plan a family outing, plan a family movie night, plan some family time spent together.
I love this concept but it sure can lead to a bit of frustration. I’ll read how I “should” do all these things in a magazine or in a blog post and have visions of all of us cuddled together under blankets on the couch, eating popcorn, and watching a movie. I see us playing games around the table with smiling faces, perfect snacks, and ready to pose for a Norman Rockwell print. I think we’ll all go frolic in the fall leaves or pick out pumpkins.
Then reality hits, first we won’t all fit (comfortably) on one couch, some of us would be cold and others tugging on the blanket probably spilling the popcorn in the process. Agreeing on a movie to view is enough of a challenge on its own. Board games equal bored games for one family member, perfect snacks would mean more time in the kitchen making four different things, and seriously getting those boys to pose for any picture? Ha! Fall is hunting season so that means family outings of that nature are a tall order (although I’m not giving up!).
These things could (and have at times) really leave me frustrated and throwing up my hands in despair. However, I am learning that we can have family time without all four of us present. The boys watched a movie on Friday night when they had a friend spend the night that I had originally thought would be our “family” night movie. However, I wanted to be flexible and let them have the fun of having a friend over and they decided to watch the movie then. The following night, I watched the movie with my oldest son who was willing to watch it again when I mentioned I had sort of wanted to see it. My youngest son wandered in the room for a bit and watched some of it again. Tonight as I put together this post, my oldest son and husband are watching the movie and I’m glancing at it occasionally. J is in a different room watching episodes of Ninjago. By the way, the movie that has intrigued G enough to view it 3 times and that I was willing to watch a second time is Megamind.
If I’m going to put family first, I need to be flexible enough to give up the frustration of trying to plan some idea of a perfect family nights and accept that this works for us. We may not have had a “family night” this weekend but we did have family time throughout the week. My favorite family time from the past week was actually the time we spent sitting in the parking lot waiting for the rest of the family to arrive for my father in law’s birthday celebration. My husband has this hang-up with leaving early to get places and so we arrived rather early and had time to simply be together with no distractions.
Sometimes the best family time is spontaneous rather than forced. I need to remember every family is different and having a family night does not have to mean for our family the same thing that it does for your family. What do you do on your planned (or spontaneous) family nights?
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the rest of the 31 Days of Putting My Family First Series.