One of the challenges I feel on a daily basis is trying to find the right balance for our family. I suppose this is something every family deals with in their own way: busy children and working parents make for a busy pace of life that can become rather unsustainable if its not kept in check.
But with a Matthew in our family, this is especially important. Rather than needing a full agenda of social activities and things to do, Matthew thrives on a simpler schedule. He values people spending time with him and activities that help him build his skills and his language. Big parties, fancy activities and exciting adventures come in second to the more simple daily routines like eating, resting, reading books and playing together.
I have to admit, this has been a difficult adjustment for me to make. I’m a very social and busy person—I thrive on hosting gatherings, spending time with friends and family, and just being together with people. I also deeply value alone time and quiet—but neither of these things is best for Matthew. Not large social events and not time for me to retreat alone to my room to recharge.
That doesn’t mean I don’t need them, though. I think it’s important to recognize that each of us in our family has needs and desires, and we should work together to meet as many of them as possible in a way that creates balance for our family.
My husband Aaron is gone overnight this weekend. Rather than this being a stressful time, it’s been a lovely overnight with the kids. I’ve kept things simple—no big social gatherings or parties. Just us being together in simple ways. Matthew thrives in this kind of environment. He’s been calm and focused the whole time Aaron’s been gone, because he’s gotten a significant amount of my attention. And then when the kids are down, I’ve also gotten a chance to have some quiet alone time, which I’ve needed too.
I don’t know that life with Matthew makes balance any more challenging than it is in other families—but I do find that I need to be more intentional about making sure everyone has their needs met.
I’ve said it in blog posts before, and I’ll say it again: the best place for our family, where life feels the most simple and balanced, is when we are together outside somewhere. Hiking, camping, snowshoeing, playing on the beach, walking—these are the things that help us feel the most calm and enjoy being together. Being outside gives us the balance we long for, which is why we go out together a lot.
I am grateful for weekends like this one, when life is simple enough for us to enjoy being together. Matthew’s in a good space, and so am I. That matters a great deal these days.