Thursday, May 11, 2017

Refuel

You know that feeling you have when you get home after a long day? You just want to quiet your mind, pour a glass of wine, maybe cook something delicious or curl up on the couch and talk. The last thing you want to do is field a million questions and give commentary on Lego creations, art projects and gymnastics tricks simultaneously. My husband used to be abrupt with this influx of information. He would hug each of them but then send them upstairs without paying much attention to the things they showed him. He would simply seek me out so that we could swap stories about our days. This led to many conversations about better ways to handle the transition home. I wanted him to give the kids all the attention they desired; he wanted them to respect his need for 20 minutes with me.

I understood why he wanted it but, to be honest, I spend so much time tuned in to my kids' needs that I can forget to think about his. I decided to try a different track this time. We told the kids that the first half hour was Daddy and Mommy time. After that, it was family time. It has taken months for it actually to sink in that we are serious about this time but it has completely changed our family dynamic. Dane and I cook together while we sip a glass of wine or I just sit down and watch him do the work and feel grateful for a husband that cooks. We have time to tell funny stories, talk through big things that happened that day or just sit in companionable silence. It reconnects us and after that thirty minutes, he's completely ready to be the amazing dad that he is.

The other night, Rosie had taken a really long nap and she woke up in the middle of dinner. Dane took off her diaper and, instead of going upstairs to grab her undies, he put her in a pair of my son's underwear he had found in the laundry room. Gotta love dads. The song "My Girl" came on and he scooped her up off the couch and danced with her. He smiled a smile that is reserved only for her and asked her if he could dance with her to this song at her wedding. "Sure, Daddy. Sure, you can," she said as she laid her head on his shoulder.

We can't give when we are completely spent. We can't be expected to run on fumes. And yet, so often, we keep pushing ourselves and giving into everyone's demands. We say yes because we "should" and end up only being able to give half of what we normally could. My husband reminded me that it's so much smarter to stop, refuel and then embrace all the joys of life.

Do you need to carve a space in your every day to refuel? Twenty minutes may be all you need. There's nothing wrong with taking a little so that you can give so much more.


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