I am the baby in my family, and when I say baby I mean the baby of my entire family including cousins and everyone. I never really understood the impact that had on me until I became an adult and had my own kids. You see, I was never around babies or kids when I was little because I was the youngest. I grew up my entire life hanging out with people who were older than me. I sometimes thought there was something wrong me because I seemed to always connect and want to be around people who were older than me rather than people my own age. And now I know why.
If I am going to be really honest about when I had my own kids I would have to admit I really struggled initially. Not so much the baby stage as I am great with routine so never had any major issue but once my kiddos were keen to start engaging and playing that is when it all went a bit haywire. I had never really played with kids before. As the youngest in my immediate family I was the first of my siblings to have children. This meant I didn’t even get to practice as an aunty. I didn’t know how to play with my kids, I didn’t have the patience for it and I really didn’t enjoy it.
I grew up in a family that spent a lot of the together playing sport, going camping and supporting each other. I knew what it felt like to be a part of that connected family team but I really struggled to feel like I was creating that with my own family. The first 5 years were a bit of a whitewash where I wondered what the heck I had got myself into and whether things would ever turn a corner. I wondered if I would ever feel like we were team Jockel, enjoying ourselves, connecting and supporting each other as a family instead of me enduring my days as a mother.
It was at that 5 year mark that things started to change for me. I am not sure if it was me who changed or my kids transitioning to a new stage of life but quite quickly things were different. I started enjoying them more. I started feeling grateful that I had these beautiful children and got to experience life with them. I felt so good about it that I decided to have a third hahahahaha.
This ended up being a wonderful decision for our family and our little guy has brought us all closer together in a way I never imagined. Having said that the level of busy for our family since having our third baby has skyrocketed. Partially because there is one more human in the house to look after but also because both of our girls are at school and are involved in various extra-curricular activities.
My biggest struggle these days is finding the time to connect with my kids one on one or as a family. Life can get so busy and sometimes I can find myself going weeks without feeling like I have really connected with one of my kids. This is not what I want for my relationship with my kids or my family.
Knowing this I am now intentional about trying to make the time to prioritise really connecting as a whole family. For us I have noticed we are all at our best after baths and dinner at the end of the day. There seems to be something magical about that time of day where everyone is calm and happy.
Our family LOVE music and often find ourselves having a pyjama dance party at least a few nights a week post dinner. It is that one time in our day where there is no stress or no “to do” list and we all just laugh and dance and sing together. There is no pressure about answering questions about their day or eating all of their dinner, it is just us together dancing like no one is watching.
I have come to realise that those moments are so precious. Sometimes it might be just ten minutes but what I know is those ten minutes are some of the most important of our day. For other families it could be reading together, or playing soccer in the backyard or cooking together. I would love to hear your stories of how your family connects with each other in those little moments?
I just want to say a big THANKYOU to Bupa for sponsoring this post. Bupa believes your family is at its best when you connect and support each other as a team. To find out more about their Team Family initiative and discover ways you can connect with your team visit here.