After months of living out of our home and in a construction zone due to the Great Flood of 2016, I recently found our family settled into our new normal. Our routines of getting dressed and out of the door without screaming (some days), coming home for dinner, homework and baths, and our weekends with varying activities. I began to find myself falling back into the chaos of everyday living.
Driving home one night I thought back to our time of being displaced by the flood, and I had a moment of clarity. I realized that things were hectic at that time, yes, but we were intentional about spending time together as a family. We did this to make our children’s lives as normal and fulfilling as possible during this time when our housing situation was anything but normal. My husband and I did our very best to get things we had to get done (work, chores, etc.) and to spend time with our kids so they could feel our love in all the chaos. Then I felt like someone was popping me on my head as I thought, my kids STILL need this, flood or not!
That began our journey toward intentional parenting! After discussions with my husband on how we could each improve, we made an agreement. We would do what we needed to do by 6:30pm at night and then have family time until bed time at 8:30pm. Family time could mean dinner followed by watching a TV show we could all agree on or even family games played together. In the past I would justify that I needed to do laundry, dishes, etc. because I am not home most of the week but in reality what needs to be done is to love on my kids. Be intentional and give them your time and all of your attention during those two hours.
Now I do believe that part of parenting and running a household is getting chores done. Everyone in the family does his or her part to get things done before our 6:30pm cut-off. My son, 12, handles unloading the dishwasher, switching clothes, and keeping his room straight while my daughter, 6, helps me fold clothes, sweeps and keeps her room straight. The chores of course vary from day to day but when we all work together, we have way more fun and have time to play! I find that with each of us being intentional with our chores and our day to day activities, we can spend time with each other every night without my anxiety peeking.
Intentional parenting for me is dividing up my day so that I can give myself wholly to my day time job, wholly to my chores at home, wholly to my time at church and most importantly wholly to my kids during that time. If I can focus my whole self in what I am doing currently then I won’t feel nearly as overwhelmed and distracted with everything that I need to do.
I will keep you all posted on how this journey goes for us but right now, in the beginning, I am feeling some peace with dividing all the hats we as parents wear!