Simplify Childhood: Quickies Aren’t Just In the Bedroom (Episode 216)
When you hear the word "quickie", clearly our minds tend to go to one place. And yes, even there, it can be so, so valuable. So often, we're dreaming of a way to simplify childhood, and we so often get stuck in the rut of not enough time.
This is where the idea of a "quickie" came in - for all aspects of life. Yes, we are clear that even in a short time frame, ecstasy can happen - yet how often do we make that time for us as adult partners to reconnect, much less use this same idea to go ahead and make a connection happen even if you don't really have time for it.
Thus the focus of our podcast and blog post this week - if you want to simplify childhood, allow for "quickie" moments of connection.
How often do we ignore the moments of connection around us for the sake of time and convenience?
The Pressure of Obligation
How much obligation are we stacking in our lives that is completely unnecessary? I know that, when I was first embarking in this role of wife and mother, I had the bar set pretty high on what all I "needed" to ensure happened in order to connect with friends. These are the things that would weigh heavy:
- Scheduling/Coordinating - if I don't plan it, it doesn't happen, right? So the pressure of navigating everyone's schedules, location, etc was all on me.
- Hosting at our house - my house was often the central location for meeting, and I had to have it spotless. Since I love to renovate and decorate, I would often be showing off the house - so it had to be perfect for a grand tour!
- Long day - once you get somewhere, you're staying for a while, so have we considered food, naps, changes of clothes, all the "just in case" things?
- Fairness - wait, we just spent time with those friends, and now we need to visit with others before we can circle back to them again - too many friends that don't all know each other to hang out!
- Agenda - what will we do? Do we have a plan and a purpose so kids aren't holy terrors out of boredom?
"Quickie" Solutions for Quality Time
So here are some ideas for how I've allowed for the social connection and pulled back from the stress and overwhelm that can be added to it.
- Regular “Sunday Funday” - same 3-4 mamas every week, meeting at the central location house, from 10-2. I would host, and each mom would bring a snack or two to put on our snack table - we would just have a spread of veggies and healthy snacks the kids could graze on and set up for the afternoon - oftentimes us moms hanging on the back porch and kids playing in the yard the whole time. The consistency meant I cared less and less about them seeing my house perfectly clean, and the kids knew this was their time with each other each week, so they made the most of it, and we stopped stressing about food and just let them graze so we could enjoy ourselves as much as possible as well. Key tip - make it a consistent day/time, and ideally, outdoor play only, or confined to one place in the house.
- Neutral territory short trips - intentionally don’t pack the whole house when you’re going somewhere. I stopped stressing over making sure I had everything covered, and friends and I would just say, “drop everything, let’s meet at the park for an hour (or two) and let the kids play. When they are tired/hungry, we leave.” Key tip - your child will survive an hour or two - play with keeping it light, and the children also better understand the need to leave to accommodate demands.
- Avoid big events - don't try to coordinate visiting along with taking in an aquarium or entertainment park. The visiting is oftentimes entertainment enough, and it can be a waste of money to spend it for an entertainment attraction and you're so distracted you don't get to fully take it all in.
- Pick 1-4 "Extras" a month - those friends and family that are consistent in your life are oftentimes that great opportunity for a consistent and open playdate. Those bonus friends - the new ones you're feeling out, the visitors coming into town, the work-related events, etc - don't try to do it all. Add in what is manageable. Maybe once a week - or a month - you make plans to do something new - or more elaborate - with someone you don't have as much interaction with. Key tip - be okay with relationships having seasons. There will be some people who will flow in and out of your life, and sometimes we force something when a season has passed. Be open to new relationships, and remember that a healthy relationship includes two people both showing up fully and being willing to support one another.
I question if, sometimes, in our desire to really provide for our children and show them the world, we actually limit their growth in our efforts to simply make them comfortable in life. Instead of stressing so much about being prepared for everything, maybe this is an opportunity to allow for some growth as a family if there is any discomfort, and learning more about patience and what your body is capable of.
Are your children aware of the energy suck it takes to be the mind and entertainment for everyone in the family? Maybe it's time to help them understand it more. Be very open with your children - and yourself - about the many steps involved to do one thing, like meet friends at a park, or do that big birthday party. When our children learned to recognize that our energy and patience can be impacted by the process of "filling and emptying buckets" with how they give and take, they were much faster in stepping up to fill ours. And, in turn, we were faster to fill theirs as well. And ultimately, we both end up with less "wanters" and more calm.
You have control over your life and your energy - we pay attention to those times where we're flowing well and feeling good, and bring attention to how you got there so you know how to repeat it, and learn some tools to get there again.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Experiment with some "quickies" in your life. Yes, in the bedroom, and even more - beyond. Think of the "social quickies" that can simplify childhood even more, by allowing you even a short burst of joy to fill your bucket.
Look for opportunities to meet that don’t require...
- Coordinating babysitting
- Taking care of food/feeding kids
- Juggling naps
- Spending money
- Taking a whole day
- Obligation, resentment, and stress
Go small. We can get ourselves so elaborate we don’t actually do anything. Your friends are probably the same way. Instead of trying to do a big hosting/coordinating thing, get as simple as you can. Text a friend, say “hey, I’m going to the park from 10-11 tomorrow - no need to bring anything, just let’s visit while kids play for an hour”. Simply putting an end time on a playdate can really take the pressure off for everyone on how elaborate it has to be, and allows people to just show up and be present.
These little moments simplify childhood. They open the door to little joy bursts that don't monopolize your day - and can you really justify that you don't have the time for a simple 2 minutes of connection with your child, or bouncing out for a river walk with your kids and a neighbor, bringing nothing but your curiosity. Get comfortable with just being with one another, and discovering more about how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
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Questions or comments?
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, minimalism or travel - what is pressing on your mind?
Or, hop on over to the Unschooling Families FB group and ask your question there!