Thursday, August 18, 2011

Divide And Conquer

Coming down from a week of vacation with my family, I could wax on and on about the importance of quality time as a family unit.  It is indeed very important to us to have all of our children with both of us parents as much as possible, so important that it happens most of the time.  But this post isn't about being altogether. 

Recently I was talking with my parents about buying a new car.  I come from a family of 7 children, so I thought I'd ask their opinion of larger than average families in larger than average cars.  When I mentioned possibly buying a large extended size club van, my Dad wrinkled his nose.  "Once we had all of you kids, we discovered how great family vacations were when we took 2 cars."  He went on to mention the benefits of all the many different combinations you could try - a boy car and a girl car, a "big kids" car and a "little kids" car, etc.  I remember listening to books on tape in a car with Dad and the older kids while Mom and the littles drove behind us, singing along loudly to "obnoxious" children's classics.  I remember girl talk time in the car with Mom while Dad and all the crazy boys drove in a separate car. My Mom mentioned how she never liked vans and was happy that she never had to drive one, even though she had so many children.  Granted we were spaced over the course of 16 years, so there were frequent times when only a few of us were going this place or that, so we rarely had need of one big car to get all of us to one location.

I'm still pretty far from making a decision about vehicle in my future, but this conversation really gave me a chance to think it all out.  And I've been noticing...

Just as it is important for us to try and get a bit of time with each of our kids to connect, it is important for them to connect individually with each other as well.  I notice how sweet the sister bond between my daughters has become when I get them away from the boys and they have a chance to focus on one another.  Taking my oldest two somewhere shows me how grown up they boy are, how well behaved, how smart.  Time with my two little guys gives me a chance to focus completely on their babyhood and enjoy Jonah's sweet toddler talk.

This week, with my oldest son away with his Grandparents, I've been able to interact with Dinah as the oldest daughter, my right hand girl.  It has been a truly special time.

Family time altogether is still number one in my book - but these times with just a few here and there are pretty special too.

How do you facilitate "alone time" for your children with each other?

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  1. i'm in the baby trenches over here! i have a 4 yr old, an almost 3-yr old, and a 7 month old. my husband is a bi-vocational pastor and insurance agent. my parents live 30 minutes away but they try to come once a week to give me a morning out. my in-laws live 3 hours away and they try to take the older two once every two months for 3 nights. so other than that, i don't get good chances to get that one-on-one time with any of my little ones. i long to spend more time with my 4-yr old, as i can tell she is desperate for it. . most of the time when my baby naps (30-45 minutes at a time) i try to stop everything to sit down with them & read or play. so there are moments during the day, they're just very short. i know this will get easier as everyone gets a little older, but right now it's tricky! i love your family blogs, very inspirational and comforting!

  2. What an intriguing idea -- taking two cars instead of one. I love the reasoning behind it ... dividing the family in a way that really brings you all closer together. Very cool...

  3. Hmmm... some good thoughts from your parents to mull over as we make "the vehicle decision" at our house, too. Thanks! :) At this point, our little car only holds 2 carseats, so we're definitely needing something different in the coming months.

    Hope you had a good vacation!
    Michele :)

  4. We have 3 year old twins and often on Saturday mornings my husband and I each have errands to run. So typically he will take one on errands with him and I'll take the other with me. Then we switch the following week.

    About once a month I try to take one twin on a special "mommy and me" day and we do something fun together - I usually give them a short list to pick from. These days are so fun - I enjoy them as much as they do.

  5. If I could get it to you easy we're trying to unload our Suburban which seats 8.


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