Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quality of Life

Now that our family is complete and we can look forward to our future as a family of five, I find myself thinking a lot about balance and the quality of our life, as a family.

Growing up, we always had family dinners. My dad would be home around 4:30 from work and, like clockwork, dinner was on the table at 5. While times have changed, more families have two working parents, and schedules seem to be crazier than ever -- I still think back to those dinners as an important constant. It's a time to check in, to share (although sometimes sharing including yelling with all those kids) and to know that no matter what, you'd end up at the end of the day with the family who knew and loved you best.

Now, here we are in 2008... where my husband leaves the house in the morning and we have no idea when he'll be back. Family dinners haven't been an option up to this point. He most often gets home when Lucy's already in bed and the boys are close behind. By the time the weekend hits, there are so many tasks that need to be done that Sunday night arrives and we've done none of the things we planned to with the kids and I feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment.

I can't help but think of the term "quality of life" and really evaluate what that means to me. What is fascinating about it is that it could mean completely different things to different people. While one person just wants more time as a family, for another -- it could be career success or weekends at the lake. It's such a subjective thing... and it's truly the number one thing on my plate to work at achieving. Not only will it create more happiness within me -- it will allow the kids to evaluate what's most important to them in life and will hopefully help them achieve it for themselves as they grow up and start their own lives.

I'm actually thinking of starting a new blog focusing on my quest and asking others to jump in and find out what makes them tick too. Because I think if you can define what it means to you and make a list of those things that will bring you closer to it, you can take one step at a time to finding it.

What does quality of life mean to you?


Unknown said...

This is an interesting question. When I first met my dh he worked a rotating schedule as a police officer, midnight, days, evenings and so on. I even worked a rotating schedule at one point and we got so used to not having dinner together. Then came ds and dh went to a corporate job where he was home every night. Then we moved, new job, dh traveled at least three out of every five days and we went back to never seeing each other. Now if he's home every night of the week I don't know what to do with him! :)

Dh's been late a lot lately (and gone to Brussels tonight) and I almost find it's somehow easier for me to do the dinner, bath, homework, bed thing with the kids by myself. I had gotten so used to it.

I guess maybe it relates to how I grew up. My dad was a firefighter so he worked 24 hours on and 48 hours off. So it was three days at home some weeks and some days four at home. I got used to having just my mom and sister around sometimes and on some days it was just my dad.

I do wonder what my kids will think back on, if they will remember that more often than not we don't eat together as a family of four...

Precious Wonders and Little Monkeys said...

Boy does this resonate with my family and I!!! Hubby used to work two full time jobs while I stayed at home with our daughter. Basically I never saw him for 2 and a half years of our marriage except during a sleep coma. I love having him home at night though... when we had him in the morning, it "upset" the routine because he takes his time getting ready which means no schedule for little ones to follow. I enjoy the nights with him MUCH better! Feels like I won the lottery. Strange how it works one way for one person and another way for another person, but when you look at it as a whole...it's basically the same.

=0) Sara/Sofa

The Family K. said...

I'll be following your new blog if you ever decide to set it up. We're definitely in the same boat, no 9-5 schedule for my DH. ("9-5?" What is that?!) It's definitely an issue that weighs heavily on my mind.

Andrea said...

For us, the best days are the ones that are slow and simple. Dad is home around 5 and we have plenty of time together as a family.Our life is pretty full , but we set everything aside when the sun goes down. Right now we are concentrating on spending more time in front of the checker & game boards and less time in front of the T.V. That is the struggle for us. Not letting technology steal time away from each other. It is hard sometimes, but I know the kids will thank me one day.
I think the new blog idea is a good one. I hope that you see it through.


Anonymous said...

For me, quality of life means having enough time to spend as a family. It's also the reason I became a stay at home mom. I always knew that when I had a child, I wanted to be there for them, every day, all day. While this choice isn't for everyone, I've never regretted it, even on those days when Nick is driving me up the wall. :) And, it's also the reason my husband and I chose our careers (teacher - him, school counselor - me). It allows us to spend as much time together as a family. Sure, it would be nice to have more money (especially since we are living paycheck to paycheck) but in the end, all that matters to us is that we are together.

Anonymous said...

A quality family life is my #1 priority. I am consumed, obsessed some may say, with how I can support our little foursome. I want to create more than I had and I want to pass along all of the wonderful love I received growing up. I want to feed us organic foods, limit TV time, enjoy nature together, and I am fiercely protective of our family dinners. All said, I think we are doing a great job of creating a strong family unit. We all feel part of a team. Where we need to focus is on the balance between being on the team and being individuals. We don't all have the same interests, but there are only 24 hours in each day and most often we forgo the solo activities for family time.

Ramona said...

Know what's sad? I've been thinking about this question since I saw your post yesterday and have yet to formulate anything. Life is so hectic right now that just getting from hour to hour is my sole focus. Would love for you to setup this new blog because I need one more, just one more to follow! :-)

Anonymous said...

I think flexibility is the key. We've done all of the above depending on work schedules. Now that the kids are older, it's their schedule that dictates life! Weekends are for family.
My family, like Jackie's had the 5pm dinner every night. Funny, when I think back on my best memories, it's always those few precious moments I stole with my parents alone. Going to lunch with my Mom after kindergarten when all the older kids were in school, running errands with my Dad after he dropped off the bigger kids at their activities. So, I would have to say, that while it's a noble effort to have the family dinner time, what really counts, is just time. So don't stress. :-)
BTW - shout out to Jade Waters-Tippo - how are you?!?!

Anonymous said...

i love this post... i only have one child and i'm already feeling like time is an issue... the feeling every sunday night of disappointment... Having it all isn't the problem- DOING it all is!

Anonymous said...

We have 3 aged 4 and under, too. We are fortunate that Daddy is home by 5 everyday, but then some days we have activities at 5:30. Our big must do is dinner (in the south) at 1:00 every Sunday afternoon. It is a big meal and a big to-do. At least we are getting that one time together that is constant. For our oldest son, he has special Daddy and me time every week, and movie night with mom (at home) every Saturday night.