How to get some more time with your children

Are you satisfied with the amount of time you get with your children? Most of us are not. Somehow we have been taught since generations back, that the harder we work, the better people we are. The whole society seemsto be impressed by individuals that work really hard, from morning to late evening.To be honest, that is something we need to do, to maintain the life situation we have created for ourselves.

I live in Sweden and here it´s really common, if not a rule, that both parents have their own car. It´s much more convenient than make plans how to travel to work together, or even use the public transportation system. Then we live in really nice houses, where every child has their own bedroom. Our kitchens is renovated to fit a good restaurant, but in the same way new studies has reported that an average Swedish family now spend less than 20 minutes in their kitchen, preparing dinner. Outside we build bigger and bigger porches and decorate them with new furniture´s and sunbeds, pots and plants. Of course we all need a really big barbecue!

When I grew up in the middle of the 70´s different families belonged to different “vacation-categories”. Most families spent their vacation at their summer-cabin in the country. The typical cabin was a small red house in the forest or near a small lake or by the sea. Very often the living standard was very low. For toilet visitations you needed to go outside to an outdoor. Sometimes you also needed to carry in water to the kitchen, from outside. Other families spent their summers in small sailing boats or caravans. I remember our summer leaves spent sailing in our boat. We were 5 people living in just a few square meters, minimum of fresh water on board and all the cooking made in just one or two gaslights. There was no refrigerator!

My point is, every family choose just one of the options how to spend their vacation together. We were a “boat-family” others were a “caravan-family”. Today we want to have it all! So many families rush between their big motorboats (it´s faster so you can come home quicker to move to the next activity), checking in on their summerhouses. Yes, today we don´t want to live in a small cabin anymore. We have almost the same standard in our summerhouse as in our homes. After that it´s time to secure some sun, and we head off to the airport for a week in the Mediterranean area. This week will cost an average family 1-2 months of income! In the autumn we go for a weekend trip to New York or some capital city in Europe. Then it´s time to plan the week we spend in the mountains. So many of us own our own winter-cabin (or these days apartments) in a ski-resort, but we just spend maximum one week a year in it! And this is how we rush through our lives, without stop, without any time to relax and catch our breath and be mindful about how we feel and what we really enjoy.

Consider all the TIME it takes to prepare and manage all these gadgets for so little time spent in it! Then consider how much MONEY we spend to own all these houses, boats, winter cabins and so on.

What if we decided to scale down our vacations and just do one thing instead? I realize that we probably can´t go back to the standard of the 70´s, but what if we train our selves to feel joy and satisfaction with the standard we achieved so far, instead of always chasing for more and better? My guess is that’s the key to get more time with our family and most important, our children! So many of us had not need to work so many long hours, if we got use to spend less money, rushing here and there to HAVE IT ALL!

Erika Lindström

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