Oh, friends! You are in for a treat today! This post is EXCELLENT. And I can say that since I didn’t write it!
Guest posting for me today is Lara Krupicka, a writing friend and fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Lara’s words are an inspiration to younger parents, like me, who are trying to figure out the balance between having children and having your own identity. I hope you are as encouraged by this post as I was!
Last summer my husband and I volunteered on the ground crew of a hot air balloon for a local balloon festival. We helped unpack the basket, tethers, tanks, and envelope (the colorful fabric part of the balloon). And then we went through the slow, but exhilarating process of helping the pilot fill the envelope with first cold, then hot air. Once it was inflated, we lent our weight to keeping the basket on the ground so visitors could come up close to look. Which for a little while actually meant standing in the basket. Never mind that it never left the ground for a flight. It was still pretty awesome!
All the while, our children (ages 15, 13 and 10) slept at home. They couldn’t handle early hour (5am) and were too young yet to crew. But we didn’t let them hold us back from doing something we’d both been hoping to experience for years. And when we woke them for breakfast later, they were anxious to hear our stories.
We jumped at this experience now, while our kids are still growing, not only because it is one we have been looking forward to, but also because we believe in leading by example. And we want our children to embrace adventure. We want them to pay attention to the soul stirrings and heart cries that call them to engage with our world in ways only they can.
But our kids can’t do that if we fill every hour of their days with school, clubs, sports, and activities. And they won’t do that if we spend all of our days focused only on them and their clubs, sports and activities.
So in our household Mom and Dad sign up for classes, play in tournaments, and join clubs. And we do so without guilt or regret. Because even though those activities take us away from our kids for an hour here or a half day there, they ultimately return us to our families as fuller, more fulfilled people. We are better parents when we are with our kids because of the interests and activities we pursue apart from them. And our kids in turn are becoming explorers who aren’t afraid to strike out on their own to try an unusual sport or activity that catches their interest (like the fencing class my youngest took last fall).
When was the last time you engaged in an interest of your own apart from your kids? If you aren’t sure where to start, trying writing up a short bucket list of new things you want to do, places you want to see, and people you want to meet. Then pick one idea and give it a whirl. See what the adventure does for you and your kids.
Lara Krupicka is a parenting journalist and mother of three. She’s also the author of Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure & Camaraderie Into Every Day and the recent release, Bucket List Living For Moms: Become a More Adventurous Parent.