As the new year approaches, people often get reflective and introspective, pondering the things they…
It’s funny how words evolve from one meaning to another over time. When I was a child, juggling was something a clown did, or something you and your friends tried in vain to do with a few tennis balls the dog hadn’t completely chewed. Today, juggling has an entirely different meaning and it isn’t one of fun and frivolity. Juggling today pertains to keeping all the balls in the air, but those balls aren’t chewed tennis balls, they are the many expectations and jobs we do as we try to keep on top of our increasingly busy lives. Quality time has become something we strive for, now that our time is stretched so thinly we feel these opportunities to reconnect need to be perfect.
As I juggle kids appointments, playdates, school work, house work and my own job I feel torn in a million pieces, unable to figure out how to put myself back together and have more moments where I am fully there for my children, family and friends. The expectations to do everything perfectly, like we see online, are weighing me down. I have reached the point where my balls are dropping and I can’t get them going again, so instead of giving up I’m going to let a few of those balls drop, release myself from those expectations and concentrate on the ones I know will make me feel whole and give me a chance to make quality time happen more often.
I love spending time with my kids, friends and family and I love to cook and bake but finding time to do it all is exhausting and stressful. Making perfect meals and having everyone eating together has become an unrealistic goal, so I’m tossing it out and redefining family mealtimes. Combining meal prep and time together may be unorthodox (right there expectations of perfectly decorated cookies and beautifully plated meals goes out the window!) but bringing all of us together to laugh and create slows life down, connects us and still gets the job done.
Dinner parties of the past had me slaving alone over intricate dishes I found on Pinterest. The stress of having everything turn out exactly right (and avoiding the dreaded pinterest fails) made me lose sight of the main reason I was doing it, which was spending time with friends and enjoying good food together. Keyword here “together”. Now I get everyone in the kitchen chopping and stirring and having much more fun than being served a four course meal I had slaved over alone. Even the kids help out, peeling veggies, opening cans, or filling the sink with soapy water and washing up as we go. There’s always something to be done, and doing it together makes it go quickly and offers opportunities to talk and share stories we might otherwise be too busy for. Don’t even get me started on our killer kitchen playlists!
Finding a way to eat every meal together took up a lot of my time and created a ton of stress. So instead of every meal, I’ve lowered my expectations and now plan for one family meal each day, be it breakfast, lunch or supper. It’s simply a time for all of us to unwind and eat as a family, solve problems and celebrate victories. Sometimes it’s a simple late evening snack when everyone is home, a tub of ice cream on the counter and spoons in hands as we just be together.
When you step back and decide to make your own rules about how things are done you release yourself from all those expectations and can move forward creating a whole new way of looking at how you connect with each other every day. The things that matter are each other, not how your dinner is plated – even if it is a Pinterest fail.