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5 Ways to Steal Back Time
Do you ever find yourself looking back over the week and wondering where the time went?
All you can remember definitively is you went to work every day, sat in unbearable traffic to get home and maybe got dinner on the table every night. Does it seem like life is just passing you by? If you’re a working parent like me you’re probably nodding your head or more likely holding your forehead. I’m pressed with this dilemma as a single parent of a 6 year old daily. Even if you’re a stay at home parent, adult interaction is usually minimal. We don’t want to take away those precious few moments from our children we share in the evening. However, our daily routine may have us feeling like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.
How do we break up the mundane routine, feel like an active social being all while maintaining a family unit? Well it’s easier than you may think. Just a few adjustments could have you feeling like you’re back in the game. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your week nights to spend time with old friends, make new ones as well as have quality activities for the little ones.
1. Share the Care.
If you have a network of three or more trusted friends, rotate child care for a week night out. The idea is for one parent to take all of the children for an evening. The cost of food can be shared or potluck to ease the burden. Have each parent choose one or two nights a month to take all of the children off the hands of the other parents. This is rotated through the group until every parent has had a childless night out. You just might be able to catch a matinee on a Monday night.
2. Host a Bible Study or Book Club.
You probably know by now that the lifestyle you use to enjoy, like hanging out in bars with your friends or getting a spontaneous phone call to meet up for dinner is virtually out of the question. If you can’t join your friends, bring your friends to you. If you’re looking for new friends, invite the parents from daycare or the school your child is attending. You could also post a flyer in a local bookstore or at the church. Hosting a weekly group is a great way to connect with other like-minded adults. It is also a chance to stimulate ourselves intellectually. In addition, it is super easy to include the little ones homework and reading time as part of night.
3. Host a TV Series Night.
Plan a night for friends to come over and watch your favorite weekly series. With digital video recorders (DVR’s) in almost every home it’s easier than ever to choose a time to watch your favorite shows. I like to host a Game of Thrones night for my Throne loving friends complete with a medieval pot luck. We bring Rotisserie chicken, roasted potatoes and rolls. We choose an age appropriate show for the children and set them up with a buffet. Then enjoy a few hours watching and discussing the highlights. If you can’t get together in person set up a Skype viewing party and discussion. Skype is a fun and convenient way to stay connected with friends during the busy week.
4. Have a Doc (document) Party.
Come together to handle hard to tackle things like life insurance, financial planning and wills. With small children in the picture I often worry about when I will have time to write up a will. How do I make sure my son is properly represented in my life insurance policies? How will his college education be taken care of even in my absence? These are things we all know we need to do but don’t have time and or desire to get them done. Why not plan a document party? You can get together with a group of friends over coffee and dessert to discuss your concerns. Invite a trusted professional to explain the ins and outs of insurance policies, riders and the “pleasant” thought of funeral expense insurance. Talking about your fears and expectations in a group setting and gleaning information from the questions of your friends could make the process downright enjoyable.
5. Have a Multi-meal Cooking Session.
If you find yourself feeling like a primetime heel for going through the drive through for dinner on your way home like I do, plan a cooking night with other parents that are pressed for time. Coming together in the kitchen is a traditional pastime. Put a fun and convenient spin on it by pre-planning and preparing dishes and snacks for the week. My friend and I like to share the cost of healthy breakfast burritos. We cook up eggs, veggies and potatoes in a tortilla and roll them individually in aluminum foil. Write the date on them with a sharpie and pop them in a freezer bag. Then all I have to do is warm it in the morning for a healthy out the door breakfast. The kids love to help fill and roll the tortillas. We’ve gotten so efficient we can roll up 40 in an hour and be home in time for bed time stories!
Being a parent requires certain personal sacrifices but staying connected to other adults should not be one of them. When you are not trying one of the ideas listed above, take a moment to meditate, read a book, The Bible or an article that sparks your interest. Remember, happy parents raise happier children!
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