However, getting in the habit and making it work for us has been very difficult. Our first six years of marriage were spent dealing with deployments and a wacky schedule in between. There was never such thing as a consistent weekday we could count on to have all of us home. Also, I couldn't bring myself to try to do an FHE when my husband was gone as it meant trying to meet with a one-year old and a four-year old, with whom I had already spent my whole day. I didn't see the point. We have managed to hold them at times, in between underways and shift work, and it was nice when it happened, but it never stuck.
Now, for the first time in our family's history, my husband has a normal work schedule. One where he comes home every afternoon and, with rare exceptions, has weekends off. I figured it was time we tried again, so we have. More than once. And every time we can't keep it going. I've been so frustrated with this. I mean, it's great when we do it and the kids seem to love it, so why can't we manage to keep it up now that we don't have the Navy as an excuse?
A few weeks ago, while we were visiting relatives in the States and browsing through a toy store, I was trying to find a few games our two-year old could play when it hit me: Maybe we were just trying too hard, trying to do too much all at once. Why not start with something small and simple? Something we could all enjoy that wouldn't require a lot of planning ahead of time? I bought a few of the games I had found and flew home with both them and an idea to start a family game night.
We've now managed to hold our game nights three weeks in a row. Our kids love them, and Wyatt, our five year old, knows just enough about the days of the week to anticipate Mondays. I coupled them with homemade pizza night, another one of our favorites. It makes getting dinner together easy, too, leaving less reasons to skip on FHE.
I'm happy with how this is going so far. In truth, I think we were over thinking it a bit, trying to emulate people who have this FHE thing down-pat. I do hope to eventually incorporate some kind of lesson, maybe just by adding a spiritual thought at first, but I don't want to mess with a good thing just yet. Sometimes you have to start small, rather than try to get it perfect on the first try.
Ana is a restless soul who would love to keep moving around the world the rest of her life. This is probably why she married a submariner in the U.S Navy six years ago. They have two energetic little boys, and currently live in the Bahamas. She blogs about life in paradise at Sunrise on the Water.
Pic came from Flikr, taken by therichbrooks.