Working 40+ hours per week outside of our home allows little time for me to connect with my boys on a creative level but I honestly try my best. There were many nights in the very early days when Drew was just an infant that I would finish my work day in the office only to go straight to a classroom in effort to finish my Bachelors Degree. Luckily, my parents helped when Brandon was still working third shift but I have still always felt incredibly guilty over the time that we spent apart during his first year of life.
After I graduated (one month after Drew's first birthday), I wrote him a letter explaining why I did what I did. I want him to be a hard worker and appreciate a little sacrifice and elbow grease. With that being said, there are still times that I think about how empty I felt sitting in a room full of strangers while my husband or mother was caring for my infant. While pushing myself to finish that degree, I promised myself that no matter what happened, I would continue to build a family, work full time and complete my MBA. Well, baby number two came along a year after I completed my Bachelors and he is now 18 months. Would you believe that I haven't even thought about starting the MBA program... Its funny how priorities change.
Despite the fact that we did spend many evenings apart, Drew and I are very close and always have been. Amongst many activities, we read together, draw together, take walks together and still at three years old Drew even sleeps in between his father and I every night. His imagination never ceases to amaze me and I am almost fascinated by his child-like dreams but yet he is still such and old soul.
Samuel, who I hope to one day be the "middle child" is the baby right now. Unlike his older brother, I hold back on pushing him too hard because I realize that he will be grown up oh too soon. Sammy is creative in his own rite - we use kitchen utensils and old tins as drums or empty boxes as cars. Sam loves to put things in his mouth so we have to be careful about giving him small items but I love to fill plastic containers with dried beans so that he can shake them. He really entertains himself well!
At the end of the summer, I purchased the book "The Creative Family" by Amanda Blake Soule. In the first chapter she talks a lot about inspiration... In our home we have mimicked her "inspiration wire" by utilizing what was meant to be a Christmas Card Organizer by Hallmark. It is in our living room and works perfectly! Anyone in the family can put any item up there whenever they want. At Drew's preschool they focus on one letter a week so if Drew wants to, I often will place photos of items that start with that particular letter - if you notice, I said, "if Drew wants". I also carry a ton of guilt about this full time job that I have to work - I enjoy my job so that makes me feel even worse. Drew spends a full, very structured day at preschool so I do not push him to continue to talk about his "letter of the week" if he'd rather forget about it for the few precious hours that we have to spend together in the evenings.
As I grow as a mother, I realize that every family functions differently. What works for one family might not work for another and I try very hard to allow other moms to inspire me. In our family, we love the outdoors. Most weekends through the spring, summer and early fall, you can find of at a variety of Kentucky or Indiana State Parks soaking up sunshine and the nature around us. We are so very inspired by nature and wildlife - away from the T.V., we love to play games, visit various nature centers and hike many of the easier trails throughout the park.
What are some things that inspire you and your family? How do you keep it interesting?