Being a new mum overseas lead me to learn very quickly.
By the time baby and I were ready to go out for the day it was nearly 10:30 and more often 11am. Depending on where we were there wasn’t usually a baby changing room or nursing area. We got used to changing in the car, having a bottle of sanitzer and finding a cute blanket to drape over us so he could nurse. No problem there. You looked around and saw what others were doing and just adapted.
This happened a lot.
On being a good wife and mother
Somehow I believed that to be a good mother and good wife the house needed to be neat, tidy and shipshape before we left. Where had that notion come from?
11 isn’t too bad you say. No it’s not in my foggy sleepy place but it was the extras we did because of where we lived. It never occurred to me to do different or be different, consistently. I had the idea but I would fit in and carry on. Tiredness was overwhelming. The problem was that everything closed at 12 for a three-hour lunch except for the restaurants. Everything.
This break in the day when everything stopped and the focus changed to food, community, fellowship and laughter. Right in the middle of your day.
I was just revving up and now we all stopped. It took months to adapt and integrate.
When I did everything changed. It was less about getting the house ready but us ready instead to be out and about by 9 and back in time for 10:30 nap. Now I could clean or not while he napped. We had lunchtime with friends that lasted hours. Families were together in the middle of the day. This isn’t a fairy tale or a throwback to the good ole fictional days. This was our life a mere six years ago. There was a calmness and routine to our day that made it easier to cope.
We left that place with two children and stepped into a large suburb that offered 24 hour everything. People grabbed food on the go. No time for stopping. When you’ve experienced different things you reflect more because you see the impacts on your family.
Since we had experienced such different patterns for the same period of day. It was easy to see what worked for us. We could see when we needed to ramp things up or when we just had to stop.
When was the last time you stopped and reflected on the pace of your family life? Looked at what clubs and activities your family take part in and wondered if this is working out well for them.
In our bid to raise playful tots this week we are adjusting our community time. For me that’s unlinking my email from my phone. It’s easy for habits to creep on you and become your norm. I heard two important conversations that encouraged that decision. Jon Acuff’s Keynote from Blissdom 12, via Blissdom at home and his spelling story over the breakfast table; listening to Michael Hyatt from This is your life about work life balance while I cleaned one room and dh cleaned another we happened to be listening at the same time. I’ve been wanting to get out of the habit of email checking in the morning. Now I could.
When I look back at our Italian experience and what we’ve become as a family I see traits that started there. There are some things we’ve lost that I want us to find again. It can’t be the same. We are a family of 5 now. We live and work in a totally different way. However we can plan to do better.
This week is screen free week. April 30 to 6th May. Don’t worry whether you’ve forgotten or you can’t do the week. It’s not about all or nothing. There’s a chance here to stop, reflect and make a change. Trains and trucks take a long time to stop let alone turn around. Families can too. But it starts with us.
Take the time to think about how you are using your screens in your home. What are we modeling? Decide what is acceptable in your family?
Don’t just adapt. Make a choice.
What first steps will you take?
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