Making time for family, friends and the one you married.

One major challenge I face daily is how to balance everything. Let’s face it, kids are major time-suckers. If you don’t have children, it’s almost impossible for you to truly understand how much time they suck out of your daily lives, from navigating through a major tantrum just because you picked out the wrong color socks, to feeding them something they will actually eat, getting them ready for school, a playdate, bed… not to mention a million other random little things that add up to you locking yourself in the bathroom just to find 10 minutes of solitude. Children require so much of you mentally & physically, once you do a half-assed clean up after they go to bed, doing anything other than crashing on the couch or going directly to bed to catch up on the sleep you never get enough of is not easy. It’s tough to get past this exhaustion, so you simply have to plow through it and force yourself to get out there and DO something!
This past weekend, I did just that and I’m pooped, but enjoying the glow of a really fun few days. The hubs took Friday off and we dragged the kids along to a couple of more adult, yet family-friendly outings. It never feels like a date when the kids are there, but we try to take in moments as a couple, and the kids often surprise us by their reaction to everything so we end up enjoying the day even more because we got to experience it as a family. Our visit to the Grand Rapids Art Museum was fantastic. If you live in this area, you must go & check out Open Water no. 24. It is the most impressive painting I have ever seen. The GRAM wasn’t a children’s museum, but it was family-friendly. Our kids were a little nutty, wanting to run & scream through the whole building, but it was a happy & excited nuttiness. Still, I was surprised no one yelled at us; not even a sour look from the security people. After an hour & a half of pointing out colors, shapes and animals they recognized, we were exhausted and ready for lunch. Luckily, we were downtown, and only a few blocks from our favorite brewery: Founders! Here, the kids refused to sit still and weren’t nearly as happy, but it was still very enjoyable. Maybe it’s the Sappy Slappy Bastard I drank clouding my judgment, but I swear, I felt such bliss being able to spend that beautiful day together. It definitely made the tantrums we had to face later in the day more bearable.
Saturday evening we arranged for our sitter to watch the girls just so we could watch the MSU/Butler game at a bar with some friends. So happy we did that. Even though MSU lost, we had a blast, almost forgetting we were parents for a few hours. It used to be very rare for the hubs & I to go out without the children, but since we found our amazing sitter, we have gotten that part of our life back – at least a little. Things will never be what they once were. We can go to the bar & catch a buzz, but our kids don’t care if we are hungover; they will still need us when they wake up at . Despite this occasionally painful responsibility, having a break once in awhile really does help one’s sanity, and I know we come back home as better parents because of these breaks. We plan nights like this a couple times a month, sometimes with friends, sometimes without; I’m sure there will be a whole blog-post about how we found & fell in love with our sitter soon.
As expected, Easter morning we were woken up before dawn and the kids searched for the eggs we admittedly had very fuzzy memory of hiding the night before. Watching the joy on their faces made it all worthwhile – hangover be damned!
I do try to make the most of every moment with my children because I know that every moment is precious and soon they won’t want to do things with Momma & Daddy. Unfortunately, not every single moment is a memory in the making. There are many frustrating moments that you don’t want to take a mental picture of! This is one of the reasons I feel it’s vital for me to push the reset button once in awhile. Sometimes, it’s a simple night-cap with the hubs, sitting on the couch, watching Lost together. But, there’s nothing like leaving the kids with a trusted pseudo-parent in order to get out of the house and finding an excuse to celebrate with the other important people in your life. Let’s face it, kids are temporary residents in our homes. I plan to spend at least another 50 years living with my husband. If we don’t find the time to connect away from the kids once in awhile, what will happen when they move out? 

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