Sunday, April 27, 2008

Space to be together and space to be apart

I'm not someone who loves to go from one activity to the next in one day, or even have a lot of activities over the weekend. I love to socialize, but in-between I like to pause, regroup, breathe and feel that I am in my own space. Interesting when you have children... So, I have always been sensitive to the issue of not over scheduling my children both because it is too much for them and too much for me. And knowing this about myself has really been a gift in helping me regulate the day. Regulating in the sense that we must have at least a small window on those busy days where you can have a moment to call your own.

Last night we had friends over for dinner and we spent a relaxing evening enjoying a nice bottle of red, a good meal and actual adult conversation. I was dragging this morning, having been up fairly late the night before, so I decided to stay home with GIRL while E and BOY went ahead to church. I absolutely love our church and our Sunday routine is a good one, but there was something so restful about not going anywhere for a couple of hours. GIRL and I sat and had a leisurely breakfast together. We had time. No rushing. Space to be together and space to be apart. Choices. Moments that seemed to stand still. It was so lovely.

I remember watching her on the couch, as she was "reading" books to herself and suddenly realizing...my GOD, she is like me. She needs to have space in-between activities, to not be rushed, to just find her own rhythm. And it was a huge AHA moment for me. I'm not sure how I've missed it, but it seems so clear to me now. If I can keep this insight close in my consciousness, how many tantrums can I avoid? Or, maybe not...but the contemplation is pleasurable.


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23 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I bet this knowledge will help you avoid a lot of tantrums.

I had a friend once who finally figured out that whenever her daughter hit someone a play date it was code for "I've had enough."

flutter said...

it must be cool to see all the ways your kids are like you

Elizabeth said...

I love discovering my children's personalities. It can be very helpful. My middle child is Very shy in new situations, it took me FOREVER to figure out. I still have trouble, because the rest of us (excepting her Dad) are rather at the other end of the spectrum...God Bless and enjoy!
PS, very brave photo of my Snorkie boy over at "my place".

g said...

the need for quiet time...how true!

Sober Briquette said...

Yeah, this weekend I was the butt of the joke because I refused to agree when my husband insisted "doing something is better than NOTHING." Because, sometimes, it's not.

The past two times Fiona has gone into full-blown drama queen mode, rather than getting turned off and mad, I have worked through it and she actually responded well. I was so proud of myself. These are important moments to recognize and hold on to.

Kalynne Pudner said...

I'm trying to remember if I've met Jenn. Because that's my Beastie at age 4. By five, she'd learned to verbalize her need for space, by saying abruptly to little girlfriends engrossed in play, "That's enough. Now go home!"

She's 16, and nothing's really changed but the colorfulness of her language.

Jo said...

I have been caching up on your blog--and loving every minute of it! Your fantasy was great and very similar to my own. I think the four a.m. thing is so true--I am going to have to start getting up earlier to get anything accomplished at all.

So nice to have a daughter who has your sensibilities! I am the same, I definitely need to a balance between being extroverted and introverted. I realize too that I need time to day dream and inspire myself. I used to think it was frivolous but now I realize it is essential to my spirit.

So good to read all your thoughts...

barbra said...

My oldest daughter and I butt heads all the time. The funny thing is, when my husband takes the other two to Dads' Parent Ed on Wednesday nights, and Oldest and I are alone together, it is so very peaceful! Very interesting.

HRH said...

So true. My middle dearest is like that. He is sitting here on the floor beside me putting together lego masterpieces by himself. He can do that for hours if the house is quiet. Poor him. The house isn't often quiet.

Rima said...

I am the same way, JCK. But funny, I've never considered that my children might benefit from the same. I'm glad you wrote this post, because I'm going to try to pay more attention to their signals now, too.

Mrs. G. said...

I think many people overestimate just how busy kids like to be-my kids used to throw huge tantrums when I pushed too hard or ran that one last errand.

Domestically Challenged said...

Quiet and space - they are SO important - there is much to be said for being 'slow' in the calm sense of the word.

Manic Mommy said...

HRH is such an Andy mini-me that he's always able to tune into our boy's thoughts and needs.

Good for you for finding time for yourself. That's the one I tend to leave out. Much to my detriment.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, JCK,
Thanks for thanks for stopping by. I didn't post the lovely photos of the "Roach House" display they had. There were lots of little ones on the floor of a "kitchen" and then the tour guide sais, "Oh, they're quiet, I should spray them"....ugh. She sprayed water on the floor, walls and cabinets, and they absolutely "came out of the woodwork...talk about heebie-jeebies...
God Bless! EJT

Ginaagain said...

I crave quiet time and my middle kids do too. The oldest and youngest are like thier dad and want to go, go, go all the time.. or at least have the tv on so they have the illusion of going.

Mary Alice said...

What a great insight. I think that Sunday morning lesson will be one that stays with you forever.

Jennifer H said...

I am the same way. On the weekends when we have a lot going on, no one is very happy.

So good that you had a quiet moment to make this discovery about your daughter.

Angie said...

So often, we get so busy carting our kids from one thing to the next, we forget they have needs and little personalities in there, too.

KEEP BELIEVING

phd in yogurtry said...

Lucky GIRL. To have a mommy who identifies and who is observant : )

I'm the same way. I like my down time. Puttering. I've got a touch of ADD and that spells busy mind, easily distracted, likes to explore tangents. This does not translate well into a multi-scheduled day.

I think over scheduling our kids is modern ill that leads to cognitive and emotional consequences. Bravo to you and your family for figuring that out on your own. Downtime is where the imagination flourishes.

phd in yogurtry said...

Lucky GIRL. To have a mommy who identifies and who is observant : )

I'm the same way. I like my down time. Puttering. I've got a touch of ADD and that spells busy mind, easily distracted, likes to explore tangents. This does not translate well into a multi-scheduled day.

I think over scheduling our kids is modern ill that leads to cognitive and emotional consequences. Bravo to you and your family for figuring that out on your own. Downtime is where the imagination flourishes.

by Johanna Brandvik said...

i'm an "innie" so i totally get the recup time between social engagements. my girls are the same way...they need time and space to wander, rest and just BE.

Jen said...

I really think most of us need a mix of activity and down time. In our society we seem to feel we are being bad parents if we aren't dragging our kids off to soccer, piano lessons, scouts, camp, etc. They need time to just play, and use their imaginations!

Janet said...

I'm a veritable hermit and so is DeBoy. We could happily never leave the house. The Queen, however, is a social butterfly who likes nothing better than getting in the car and going somewhere, so we split the difference. She has dance and tumbling class and we go to the library on Fridays. DeBoy has just started tumbling as well (though at that time of day he is asleep half the time, so he goes to about every other class). But on dance days as soon as we get there he's ready to go home.

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