I’ve run out of words and feelings and patience.
There is a constant undercurrent of something not right.
A slight sinking feeling that something is about to happen that I will regret. I can’t shake it and I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is.
Frustration continually bubbles to the surface and I can’t keep a lid on it.
Little things seem insurmountable.
Everything feels murky and difficult.
Perhaps it is the dark gloomy days of mid winter getting the better of me? Perhaps it is the struggle of getting back into the school routine with a house full of tired kids. Perhaps it is too much busy. Perhaps it is hormones, or a lack of exercise. Perhaps it is everything.
Whatever the cause it is a tell tale sign that I need to step back from things and reconnect.
Reconnecting doesn’t have to be something special, or difficult.
It is not easy for us to get out of the house with just one child to spend time ‘one on one’ but it is possible to make time to do that among the chaos of every day at home. You can also reconnect as a group of often it feels as if we need time to come back together as a family as much as time to connect one on one.
It is often adds to the stress levels when you try to organise something big or new, but it is easy to connect while doing the same old stuff you always do.
Here are some of the ways we reconnect when things feel wonky…
- Go for a walk – just walk, hold a hand if they will let you, talk and notice things.
- Sit down next to someone – just plonking myself down on the couch next to one of my kids and doing nothing else but being close, even if they are watching TV, helps.
- Grow something – there is something about planting a seed or digging in the dirt that is very grounding for everyone.
- Make art with them or beside them – don’t just set up the activity and watch, join in.
- Make time to snuggle – five minutes squished in bed with them in the evening is worth it’s weight in gold.
- Write a letter – my older kids love to get a letter from me on their pillow, with paper and pen to write back.
- Do a job together – fold the washing, weed the garden, wash the dishes… just the two of you.
- Dance! – my kids may roll their eyes at me but a little crazy dance party and bad singing always helps
Recognising when we need to reconnect with our kids, and ourselves can be hard to do. And it can be even harder to make the time to do it… but it is worth it.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Love the idea about writing your kids letters and leaving it on their pillows Kate – what a lovely idea, would love to do that when my kids are at reading/writing age.
I find when things are getting wonky, cutting down on too many outside activities and doing things together at home really helps. My kids love little things like me or my husband getting on the trampoline with them – they’d stay on it all day if we were on it too:-). It’s also lots of fun and we get some exercise too. Also, I find one on one time with each child helps enormously ( even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes), sometimes I do it by just taking one of the kids to the shops with me so we can talk by ourselves in the car and while we are shopping.
Oh yes! The trampoline is a great de-stresser and connector! (As long as I don’t wet my pants!)
rebecca at thisfineday says
I love all of your ideas! Dancing is a favorite of ours along with singing! We even take baths with tunes :-)
Playing with puzzles and games is another thing we do for some together time along with baking.
My girls’ favorite thing to play right now is pretend, where they are the mom and dad or sister and I am the kid. It’s so cute to hear them say, “Kid… it’s time for bed.” “Sister, you need to drive the car because the kid is sleeping.” Cracks me up!
I firmly believe singing (even bad singing) is good for the soul… so is a little pretend play! :)
Kirsten McCulloch says
I do find it hard to connect individually with the kids when they are all at home (like for the last five weeks of chicken pox and school holidays). But I’ve realised if I can make 15 minutes to play memory or snap with my seven year old, that can make a real difference to her. And snuggling with any one of them while reading a book *just to them* helps too. Mostly I read to my 7 & 11 year olds together (they share a room, and both go to bed at 7pm, before which I usually read to them for 15-30 minutes (also in bed) although Liam, my 11 year old, reads until 8/8:15). But on Friday and Saturday nights Liam is allowed to “stay out” in the living room until 8:15, and I read to him for half an hour or so after i get Ms three to sleep, which is a lovely time, just for the two of us.
As for reconnecting as a family – some time out in the sun together (when there is sun) – is one of the best remedies I think. Away from the washing, and the fighting over toys, and the paper cut up and dropped on the floor, and the too many dishes and did I mention laundry? Whether it’s going for a walk, or heading down to the oval to kick a ball around, fresh air and the sun just can’t be beat.
But, sometimes feeling overwhelmed is more about needing to reconnect with me I think. And then just going for a walk On My Own, can work wonders. Easier to do than find the time though.
I think you hit the nail on the head… it is about finding time and ways to connect with everyone… especially yourself!
I love your letter idea!!
When I need to reconnect I find going outside with the kids and playing a game with them, or lying on the trampoline making shapes out of the clouds together refocuses us and brings back some joy. Just by putting everything else aside and being together for that moment brings everything else back into focus!
Oh I totally agree… it is not so much what you do but the fact that you stop doing everything else and just ‘be with your kids’ (or your partner, or yourself)
Exactly what I’ve been needing. Cheers for the reminder!
Oh Kate, I know those days too!
I love and agree with all of your ideas to reconnect. I think it’s just about stripping away all the unnecessaries for a while and getting back to the simple – talking, listening, reading, cuddling, walking. It doesn’t have to be much. But it works.
I hope you lose the wonky soon :)
thank you… we are slowly ironing out the wonkies :)
I get overwhelmed and need to be present regularly. Trying to fit too much life into the everyday will do that to a person. I always find that to reconnect I’ve gotta get out of Dodge – grab the kids and head outside to wander and roam and wonder. x
Maybe that is why things are feeling so tough right now…
My usual answer to fractious children is “everyone outside!” but the weather here has been so dismal, and freezing here of late that we are often stuck inside…. I need to make more effort to change that.
Chris Eastvedt says
I think doing something active with your kids would be the best way to reconnect. I understand what you’re saying about sitting next to your child in front of the TV, but I don’t see that that really does anything more than remind your child that you exist, and that you’re home with them. For some parents who are never home I can see how that might be an accomplishment, but I think we can all do better.
I’m more a fan of being active with kids. The dance party sounds great! But even the art project or a walk are good because you’re really encouraging quality get-to-know-you time, on both sides. That’s what you need.
I agree that active things are a great way to reconnect but there are times when you just don’t have that in you. You don’t have the time, or the energy, or the forethought… and sometimes, just shutting out everything else and sitting with your child, being with them, even if that is just holding their hand while watching TV is all you can manage and still worthwhile. I often find it is little moments like those that make the biggest difference.
Chris Eastvedt says
Funny, I could feel the tired desperation from your last comment. My point about sitting passively on the couch next to a child comes from my own childhood. If I was sitting in front of the TV and someone sat next to me, I could completely tune them out. They were doing their thing, and I was doing mine as far as I was concerned – there was no connection. No specific contact was mentioned in the article, but if the parent is actually interacting, if even in a quiet way (holding hands, stroking hair, the occasional shoulder squeeze…), then sure, a connection is obviously being made. And, of course, every little bit helps.
Veggie mama says
I have got to get into the sunshine. Even if I’m just laying there. I feel so much better, and can recharge a bit. Is tough when I’m not getting much sleep, though, wahhhhh!
Lisa Nolan says
I miss reading your blog! Jamie shared this on g+ and I loved it, spoken like a true super-blogger-crafty mom!