family hour

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Normally, my children go to their father’s house every second weekend and every Thursday night.  This makes me a part-time mum.  But I do have to be ‘on call’ day in day out, in case their father can’t take them for whatever reason.  So the last three weekends in a row I have had the kids home.  Just before the first of these weekends I read about a concept called ‘love bombing’ and a ‘green hour’ over on the littleecofootprints blog.  Basically saturating the children with attention.  Of course, as all things in life do, this coincidentally came to my attention around the same time my daughter, who is a deep soul and very astute about what is happening around her, stated that she never got to spend any time with me on our weekends as I was ‘always in the garden’ (it needs a lot of work – more on this another time).  At the time, I replied that it was because she never wanted to hang out with me as she was too busy tearing around the bush making hideouts, or crafting away in her art studio (yes). But her statement cut me so deeply, as we don’t have quantity time, so why am I ‘letting her do her own thing’ during our precious little time together?

So my version of lovebombing and the green hour was this: I called it family hour as I couldn’t really spend one-on-one quality time with two children.  Each weekend I told them we would altogether spend an hour doing whatever each of us wanted.  The first weekend, we pulled names out of a hat to see who would get to go first. Me. So my hour was spent gardening. The kids put in the hour planting out tomatoes in their raised beds, watering the herbs, and helping me remove the mulch where our lawn is going to be.

When the kids from next door came over to play, as they always do when the kids are home, R1 told them she couldn’t as we were having ‘family hour’.  Then we started on R1’s hour which was craft.  Somehow, we picked up an extra family member from next door for this one, and then lunch interrupted, so in the end R1 got 40 minutes of her hour.  After lunch, while the others continued doing craft, I started family hour with R2 as he wanted to play knights with his miniature horses.  We did about half an hour of this before he ran off to play next door.

Oh well, we still had two more weekends to go.

The kids spent the week discussing their activities for the second weekend’s family hour.  We spent the weekend saying that family hour was coming up ‘after I hang out the washing’, ‘after Black Beauty has finished’, ‘when I get back from next door’.  I may have played horses for about 20 minutes.

We are now halfway through the third weekend, but ‘family hour’ is no longer being mentioned. During the last week R1 said she didn’t want to do family hour as she wasn’t interested in R2’s or my activities.

So today I shovelled mulch while R2 played with his stables and R1 was painting her little heart out. And while eating dinner (pizza at the kindy’s outdoor movie night) she said she had had a great day.

I have learnt that we are a family without having to force each other to spend our time ‘being a family’. I love where we now live, as the kids and I have organically found our ‘own thing’ which we can be absorbed in, knowing that we are together.

Gosh I am looking forward to next weekend though 🙂

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