img_6098wmsm.jpgI have had the distinct privilege of being a stay-at-home-Mom and then a work-at-home-Mom for a solid six years or so. This past January, I returned to full-time employment at my former firm as my husband’s industry took a swan dive. I now have school-aged kids and hated spending all of my weekends working while my family went on adventures. To sum it up: I’m working forty hours a week and my husband is working twenty hours a week while also shuffling the kids around. He’s likely moving up to full-time hours in the fall. Because, you know, we aren’t busy enough.

When I arrive home from work we sit down to dinner and the kids fill me in on their days and my husband fills me in on his day and then there is the dinner clean-up and the dessert dish-out and Lord knows we would probably all be happy to lay on a couch and zone out until the time where we can crawl into our respective beds. Don’t get me wrong – this sometimes happens. Especially if there is some AFV on the teevee.

The rest of the time I make a valiant effort to rally the troops so that our family memories involve more that the couch and the remote. A few activities that have worked for us:

1. Go for a walk.

I know, right? A walk. It seems so old-fashioned and almost uncivilized. We have a dog that enjoys the exercise and the kids love to throw rocks in the creek (over and over and over again) and point out wild flowers and just walk. The fresh air is an added bonus for the bedtime hour.

2. Play a game.

My kids are WEE, you say. They cannot play GAMES, you say. But oh, they can. They can play hide-and-seek (it’s sketchy as a toddler but also, funny). They can play “I spy with my little eye” (to infinity). The can play Bocce ball. They may walk right up to the other balls and drop theirs, but do we really need to be sticklers about technique?

3. Read a book together

Our kids’ school has a required reading program, so some nights our reading consists of working through those books. Other nights, we’ll read a chapter or two of a book series that the whole family loves (right now it’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians). It’s a good excuse to cuddle together on the couch and is a great way to wind down before everyone heads to bed.

I’m not suggesting that you try to be Super Mom (or Super Dad) and plan fantastic family activities every single night. On the days when everyone is burnt out you can keep it on the quiet side but on those other nights, maybe get outside and make some new memories. It’s worth it.

AngellaProfilesm150.jpgAngella is the wife of one and the mom of three. She is a Chartered Accountant during the day and a writer/photographer by night. You can see what she’s up to over at her site Dutch Blitz, or read her blurbs on Twitter.

  • Ali

    we love games! and we are ALMOST at the point where all three kids can play some of the same games. almost. I can’t wait for isabella to learn to play the settlers of catan!

  • Carol

    Work-life balance is so tricky. It can be so difficult to devote a whole evening to spending time with my children. My evenings seem to fly by, getting dinner prepared, and then cleaning up, homework, work email, and the list goes on. By the time I look at the clock it’s already 8pm. I do my best to take special moments to connect with my kids. In the car ride home from camp/school we talk about their day and funny things that happened to them. Just before I put them to bed we discuss their favourite part of the day. The weekends are reserved to family time. Playing games, going for walks and bike rides.

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