I hear all the time that you are supposed to do what makes your soul happy, do what makes your heart sing, but how do you do that when you are, say, the homeschooling mom of 5 working from home? Or a parent who works outside the home 40+ hours a week and you have a bunch of kids at home as well?
Let's start with you. You probably know what makes your heart sing. For me it's spending time with my family in nature, walking while multitasking (listening to music, listening to helpful podcasts, dictating books and articles) and also homeschooling, proofreading, reading, blogging, writing and Younique ... and watching trashy TV from time to time. Oh, and travel. And that's all I need. There, I'm all done. I mean, done as far as finding time to do stuff I enjoy. So I get up early and do some stuff I love.
For Mr. Kerrie it's riding his bike to the moon and back, creating and building stuff, fishing, camping reading, nature and travel with his family.
Okay, now for the kids. Now, I suggest ASKING the kids what they enjoy. Like I assumed Callie wanted to do Upward Cheer cheerleading again since she did it once and TALKED ABOUT doing it again. I did all the legwork to set it up and then found out she didn't really care about it. She hung out for a while and then recently said she wanted to play volleyball with her friend, our neighbor.
I moved heaven and earth to make it happen. Weekly practice, weekly games -- some early -- shoes, socks, shorts, uniform clean and locatable, ponytail holder, volleyball to practice with. Oh, and the cost of the program and attending an early Saturday morning thing at Bishop Miego for CYO on how to not be a douchey parent who yells at coaches.
BAM. A shining moment in my parenting journey.
Michael really just wants to go to the monthly LEGO minibuild so I dang well make that happen. And when he mentions he wants to make pretzels, we do that.
Joel and Callie begged to do homeschool co-op, and that affects us all and not everyone loves it, but we all do it for the greater good. Joel also wants to do soccer in the spring so there will be a new world I get to inhabit.
Joel does Scouts and wants to do Youth Group, so those go into the schedule and things are done around them.
Sam will enjoy soccer soon, I assume. For now he just kicks around with us. Soon he will be able to vocalize all the things he wants to pop into our schedule.
I asked Eva if she wanted to do dance or anything because once she did but it just wasn't working out time-wise and with the ages of everyone else ... and I had flashbacks to when Callie did it and the cost and the recital and and and ... anyway, now she just wants to play with friends and so I make that happen as much as I can.
If you are like me, after reading this, you are like HOW CAN YOU EVEN HEAR YOUR HEART'S SONG WITH ALL THIS CHAOS????
You do the best you can.
You find out what they REALLY want to do and what they can live without. You make sure you are doing something for yourself and for your marriage (even a monthly date is something!). My heart GRUMPS if I don't get my walks in and we all grump if we don't plan DOWN TIME IN NATURE.
Oh, that brings me to DO THINGS YOU ENJOY IN COMMON. Like we all love packing up snacks and heading to the park for the whole day with a ball and a book. Maybe we even grab a friend or 5 so the social kids are also happy. Sometimes you CAN make everyone happy, but they have to realize that most of the time it won't be that way.
And that is how life works. And it's a rockin' lesson for kids in a big family to learn now. Heck, it was a good lesson for only-child me to learn!
Ask for and accept help. If Joel wants to hit his friend's football game but we are doing other stuff that day, I ask if he can ride with people to where they are going. I send him with some water and a few bucks and I say some prayers that all will be well and there you go.
Have a great day!