Pennies of Parenthood: The Investment of Connections

A little while ago I was finding myself exhausted and disappointed at the end of each day.  It was really discouraging. I could think about all this “stuff” I got done, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled.  I was feeling worked to the bone, but no satisfaction from it.  That’s when I realized it was because I was missing out on some key, focused growth- in my most important relationships.
I decided to set a goal of doing something meaningful with each child in my family individually each day.  It didn’t need to be big, it just had to be consistent.  It could change a little, but it had to be regular as far as schedule or I knew I wouldn’t do it.  I decided to give Sammy his time in the morning, give Michael his in the afternoon and give Sophia hers at bedtime.  This is how my day started to take shape…
Before the craziness of the day started I got some snuggle-flashlight-reading time with Sam in my bed.  Sometimes I would get up before him and then race to jump under the covers once I heard him getting up.  Sometimes he would catch me already awake and say “Mom! What are you doing?  Let’s go under the blankets and snuggle!”  Or sometimes he was a great excuse to just hang out in bed, read or think quietly as I waited for him to crack the door open and sneak into bed with me around 8 AM.
If it was a busy day and there wasn’t a lot of time in the day for “snuggling” I would recruit his help for starting some laundry…
 …or he would join me in my morning workout.  No matter what we had some time to connect in the morning, being silly and giving me the chance to look at this world through the eyes of a four year-old.
In the afternoon I found some time for Michael.  Michael’s personality type thrives on both new experiences and traditions.  Board games are a great way to connect with him.  He can play chess over and over again, and we can chat while we play too.  This was taken at a Dr.’s office while we were waiting with a simple fabric checkers board I made him.  
(It was ALL glue gunned together…LOL)
He also thrives in new experiences.  One day I had him help me make dinner (we try to do that a few days a week) and I taught him how to throw pizza like I used to when I worked at a pizzeria.  He loved that.  Teaching him a new skill, as simple as how to clean something or make a new paper airplane goes a long way in connecting with him.  And he remembers!  He continues to surprise me with things he recollects that we did together months and years ago!  The investment in spending time with him is SO worth it.
 My Sophia gets bedtime to connect.  She loves singing together (or being sung too.)
 Lately she REALLY loves being read to…
 …or reading to me.  I truly treasure this!  Reading isn’t easy for her, but it’s easier in a safe, nurturing environment.  When she has the safety of consistent time together at night she looks forward to trying to read more.  We’re both tired by this hour, and it doesn’t always mean lots of time together, but it’s something.  It’s pennies.  And pennies in a jar add up.
 
Here’s to investing some time each day in the relationships that matter most!  I will save ideas for connecting with husbands another day, because I need to stop writing and go chat with him right now. 🙂 Love, Eva