Earlier this year, I got to thinking about family and what I wanted my future family to be. I made the below wall art out of it. If you missed it, you can download the 8.5 x 11 wall art here.
My ideal family traits have remained more or less the same since then. I guess I had never really thought about what traits I wanted my future family to be.
As a teen, about as far as I got with that thought was telling my parents "I'm totally going to live with you forever... and my husband can just sleep on your couch."
In college, I just thought about where I wanted to raise my kids... city? suburb? rural area? (I seriously cannot say the word "rural"... Freudian slip?) I thought about if I wanted to stay at home, work... and just the basic roles my family would have. Did I want a husband? Did I want kids? Did I want to focus on my career?
I've since really thought about the actual traits I want my family- spouse, kids, or myself- to have. I want us to be fun, but responsible. I want us to be spontaneous enough to take a random adventure camping or to the lake. And, goofy enough to dress up for Halloween in matching outfits. Or, youthful enough to go the the zoo or event and really enjoy it. Maybe we'll play board games or make our own parade or make crafts.
I want us to help people and care for our friends, but have our family be the bottom line. "Family comes first." I want us to spend tranquil time alone together and to have fun together... with family being the priority, not friends... not jobs... not that sort of thing. I want friends and neighbors and a sense of community, but I don't want those things to trump family.
I want to welcome friends into our home... but not to the extent that our family can't spend intimate time together alone on holidays to celebrate as. a family. I want my kids, if I have any, to feel it's their home. Their haven. It's not the neighbor's home, or our office, or Grand Central for a constant stream of friends coming in and out for one thing or another. I want our home to be our own sanctuary.
I want to be there for friends and help people, but not let it get in the way of our family being a family. If you know me, you know how I believe that private alone family time is super, super important... especially on holidays, days of mourning, hard times, and to reflect and plan and enjoy life as a family.
Your own family needs you too. And, friends being over is not private family time. It doesn't matter if they're your best friend and "feel" like family to you or not... they're not your family. Friends change the dynamic when visiting and are fun to be around, and a family can't bond like it can during special family time alone. I'll probably have holiday parties for friends when I'm older since I love seeing friends around the holidays, but schedule special family time where it's only our actual family. There's a fine line between family togetherness and maintaining a fun social life.
Setting boundaries with friends is super key. It's important to be their for friends, but not when that deters you from being there for your own family. Maybe your friend's career drama phone call seems more important than your son's losing a prized toy... but it's not. It's easy as an adult to forget how big a deal some things as a kid are... or seem. A kid losing a favorite toy might seem like an easy fix to us... "oh, we'll buy another." Or, "oh, it's just a toy." No, it's not just a toy to a kid. Your kid needs you at times like that... your response to them is up to you, but I think it should involve some sort of comforting. No matter how many people you're there for or help, you're making a huge oversight if you're not regularly there spending time with your own kid.
Kids need that regular time of bonding with their parents. ALONE.... as. a. family. Not friends. Not co-workers. Not family friends who feel like quasi-family. Not prom dates. Not on the phone with work. Not neighbors... just family. Friends have a special place in our lives... but not like family does. And, a home should reflect that. A home's key role is for the family, and kids should never, never feel like they're in the way of the parent's helping others/working/etc.... or that it's not their haven or a place they can always come home to for comfort. Kids coming home to yet another client, person you're helping, friend you're hanging out with, etc. every day is not kids coming to their home... it's kids coming home to Grand Center. Balance is key.
Anyway, here's the wall art I made.
- ▼ 2012 (108)