A Window in Family Life

There are many seasons in family life, and we have just entered a narrow window. We’ve moved from the toddler stage (where I had to make many personal sacrifices) into the a period where the children are old enough to remember all the fun times we are experiencing together, but still young enough to do everything with us.

I remember something my Mum said about this stage of parenting (she died 5 years ago and I cherish memories that pop back into my mind).

She said something like this: “Kelly, every stage of parenting is special but when all the kids are in primary school, there is a small window of opportunity to create amazing memories.  Once you kids went to high school, you began to branch out and have your own life, and then there were boyfriends and friends who joined the family too. This is great, but the family dynamics change. So enjoy the time when you’re kids are in primary school; make the most of it.”

I’m beginning to understand what she meant now. When I was in the first stage of parenting, I found it challenging, and while I cherish the memories of when my children were young, I didn’t find the period to be all that fun.  Now, our family has moved into the second stage of family life and we are making the most of it.

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I see the life with my family in pictures, and if I try and put this concept into graphics, it would play out like this: Achored by the Big Picture; Living in the Moment.

Anchored by the Big Picture

I’ve experienced family life through my growing up years, and now, as I create my own family life.  I’m a goal orientated person, so I’ve thought about each stage of family life in broad terms. This helps me focus on and enjoy the precious moments in each stage so I don’t wish it all away.  This diagram shows only my own thoughts/values/experiences.

family life stages diagram

Live the Moments

I look at the above and I see the building blocks: you have to get through stage one before you can successfully move to stage two, so on, so forth.  There’s no point trying to rush stage one because it’s the important part of the process.  When I know what stage I’m in I can accept it and then embrace the moments as they happen.

Right now, I’m embracing the concept of creating memories. With the big picture in the back of my mind as an anchor, I let go and live the moments as they come.  Below are some pictures of our recent inexpensive camping holiday, and  as I look at them, I see the moments, how they are creating memories, and edifying our family.

Family

Being with each other, developing relationships and sharing our time with friends and family.

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

Fun

Creating fun memories and putting positive times under our belt. (Drawing on postive times helps when our family goes through a rough patch.)

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

Adventure

Exploring, seeing, and doing as much as possible together.

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

Nature

Instilling a love and appreciation for the environment as we explore nature, and learn as we live.

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

Places

Visiting new places and loving familiar ones.

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

Food

Creating family traditions that are remembered long after the event has taken place.

family life stages

family life stages

family life stages

{All pictures were taken with my iPhone 4 mobile. For tips on getting the most out of your mobile camera, click here.}

Be anchored by the big picture; live in the moment.

What do you value about family life? What stage are you in?

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Comments

  1. says

    Love this Kelly. My father-in-law always talks about “memory banks”. Looks like your kids are making lots of deposits into theirs. I agree, very important to build those family bonds/ family unity

  2. says

    Love this. When my firstborn was a few months old, I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait for her to grow up (horrible thing to think, but at the time…) You’re so right when you say you can’t rush it – each stage is of value and importance. We’re almost into the 2nd stage (3 out of 4 in primary school next year), and I’m really beginning to treasure the memories we’re creating now.

  3. says

    I am trying to look for opportunities to create memories too. One of the ways we do this by creating traditions that happen at the times every year (like camping, cutting down a Christmas tree, birthday traditions etc…). I am also trying to create times when we REMEMBER our memories! “Remember the time when….” My eldest daughter (7y.o.) is into doing this at the moment, and that really creates bonding time – and lots of laughing too. Shared experiences are important in a family, I think.

  4. says

    Kelly I’ve just finished only yesterday the 30 day Happy place behaviour challenge which was amazing in changing my behvaiour as I’d been struugling with my mum for a while. I found so many happy moments everyday even on the not so good days. I hope you don’t mind I am going to share this post on Facebook as you have captured everything that is important in parenting, motherhood and family life x

  5. says

    We are in the same stage, totally. Thank you for this. I love that you are so goal orientated and that this turns into structures and plans…xx

  6. Jackie K says

    Best thing I’ve read this month. Thank you! Great perspective and reminder to create fun memories. We’re in stage 2 and loving it.

  7. says

    Your post reminds me of something someone once said to me. In response to a wish for the weekend to come faster (well, work sometimes inspires that sentiment), they said that I shouldn’t wish my life away just longing for and focusing on the weekend. Now that I have children, those words and your catch phrase to live/love the moment take on even more significance. I like what Kelly Lock said too about creating traditions. I want to start doing that for my family so my girls have something specific to anchor their memories. The additional suggestion to create times to remember the memories is a good one too.

  8. says

    What a great post. I think we constantly need reminders to enjoy the moment and the stage we are in.

    My family is still in Stage !, and while it is difficult, I am conscious of treasuring every moment of it because I’m very aware that this stage will soon be over and I’m sure I will miss parts of it.

    Plus I know our time will come to enjoy the other stages.

  9. kylie says

    This has bought tears to my eyes! It is so true and our eldest is in grade 4 and its flying by! he is currently on his first school camp which makes me more emotional ;) but the window is getting smaller and smaller for all our kids and we need to start getting more lost in the moment!!! Thankyou for a beautifully written family wake up xxxxxxxxx LOVE IT!!!

  10. says

    As usual Kelly an enjoyable and thought provoking post.
    I am in the first stage of family and it can be hard at times like you mentioned and sometimes not all that fun. I have a very pleasant happy little girl who is a delight, but like you say physically demanding.
    I do however need to think about how to be more creative in my parenting approach and really enjoy this stage before its too late. Will think about it, take action, blog about so will let you know.
    Thanks Kelly!

    PS> Will you be setting some new Living the Moment Challenges? I really loved those. If not I will go to your archives and do some.

  11. Kat says

    Thanks for sharing this and for giving me a new perspective.
    I now have all four at school most days and it has been a huge adjustment for me to send my baby (aged 4) off to school five days a fortnight.
    At the moment I am mouring the early years, the baby and toddler stage (yearning for another some days) that has past us by.
    I miss having my little buddy home with me and feel a bit lost and unsettled on those days she is at school.
    Your post reminds me, as I try to work through this that we can move into this next stage and embrace all the fun and adventure together as a family.
    Mind you some days I find myself growling and dealing with arguments a whole lot more and I am thinking, gee it seemed a lot easier when they were little.
    It probably wasn’t, but I miss that stage.
    Btw your photos are just gorgeous and capture your special family moments perfectly.
    How are you finding your time at home on your own with kids at school? Are you a bit lost, or finding lots to do?
    The gym has been my saviour, but I still feel a bit lost.
    Would love to hear your thoughts.

  12. Marsha says

    “while I cherish the memories of when my children were young, I didn’t find the period to be all that fun” – Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this!
    My daughter has just turned 4, and I do not miss the toddler years! I do not miss 3 years of age, either! We have definitely had lots of fun but it’s very hard when Every. Single. Activity, ends up in tears because she wants to do something which defies the laws of physics and gravity. You know – things which are actually not humanly possible, like balancing a block on top of a pointy pyramid.
    Not gonna happen. And she doesn’t care about learning why it won’t work – she dissolves into fits of rage. All perfectly normal, and yet, draining all the same.

    She’s only just growing out of this behaviour & I’m looking forward to the kindy, pre-primary and primary school years, when she will be able to understand certain things & we’ll be able to have LOTS OF FUN with a lot less drama! :) I’m sure there’ll still be moments of drama, but at least we’ll have solutions…

  13. says

    I’m really excited about the coming primary years too Kelly, there’s so many things I remember doing with my parents that I want to share with my kids, camping, hiking, gardening, playing in the yard together…… Whilst it’s tiring sometimes, I just remember the sacrifices made for me & all the wonderful memories I have & it puts in perspective what’s really important.

  14. says

    I love this post. My youngest is 3 and my oldest is 8, and doing any outdoor activity tends to fall by the wayside because it is so hard to get everybody into the same place at the same time. It is miserable. However, all your pics have reminded me of how fun it can be, so I’m going to push just that little bit harder and hope it can come together, because not doing it is no fun. Thanks.

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