how to get your housemates to feel like your family again

One-on-one time, where have you gone?  Remember those long stretches of unplanned, uninterrupted time to just be with another person?

They're still within reach.  Right in your very own little family.  Here are some possibilities:

1:  Have a long talk with your partner.  In the daytime.

My husband and I happened upon a rare, unplanned, small stretch of time when we were both home during the day and our daughter was out.  Not late at night when we were both tired out of our minds.  In the daytime, y'all!

Well, it was sort of unplanned.  As soon as I realized I had an open half-hour, my brain raced around frantically thinking about all the things I could cram into it.

I had about six things I thought I could maybe do during that half-hour.  Here are the possibilities I gave up to have a long talk with my fella:  a lovely little nap, a quick work-out, catching up on my email, sending a long overdue message to three dear friends, getting in a little writing, making some work phone calls, and calling to schedule an appointment.  

So:  rest, exercise, email, friends, creativity, work, and self-care.

2:  Stay home and do nothing.  But really nothing.  Not distracted nothing.

It was a full-on mama-and-daughter day, and I asked what she'd like to do together.  Did she want to go somewhere?  

Tell me some options, mama.
Okay.  Museum?  Library?  Scrap Exchange?  Fabric store?  A walk?
I want to go to the library, but really I just want to stay home.  

So we stayed home.  And we talked about friends, things we've done that she likes, things she wants to do, and so many pretend ideas.  Here are the things I gave up to stay home and have that lovely long talk:  interaction with adults, a chance to cross "return library books" off my list, getting thread to sew up our torn couch cover, checking my phone, and a walk in the fall sunshine.  

So:  self-care, errands, errands, habits, and self-care.

3:  Go on a super-quick date.

When I originally thought of the idea, I had pictured a somewhat-leisurely long-ish dinner--a little dressed up and a little romantic.  The day brought its challenges.  Our long-ish dinner ended up being a relatively quick drink sidled up to the bar at Geer Street Garden.  And one of the most fun (and funny) dates we've had in months.

To make it happen at all, here are the things I gave up:  a shower, eyeliner, my original plan, and being able to say yes when my daughter said, "I wish you would stay."

So:  self-care, my plan, and my mama-feelings.

4:  Take a nap together.

We curled up together one afternoon, and she wanted to talk.  And nurse.  And talk.  And nurse.  And snooze.  

I woke up 90 minutes later when she woke up.  My first thought was, "Shit.  I fell asleep."  Because I had grand plans for that nap time:  work emails, blog writing, washing dishes, calling a friend.

But, boy, did that girl wake up happy and snuggle-y.  For that, I gave up:  work, creativity, housework, and friend-time.

Alright.  That's a lot of giving up.  

If I had made a different decision at any one of those times, that would have been okay, too.  It can't all be long talks with our families while the dirty dishes pile up and the friends get ignored and no one ever takes a shower.

But deep connections with the people we love are hugely important to us.

No matter how efficient you are, some things just take the amount of time they take.  

And when you decide to let some stuff go--really let it go, and not try to cram it in later--there is more room for that to be perfectly okay.

This week, I'm exploring how we make (and don't make) space for deep connections.
This post is part of a regular series about family.