Our Family Agreement

As a mum, along with the million other hats I wear, I rarely get time to just chill and do nothing.

In Summer, we’re fortunate enough to live quite near the beach so I will drive down there and recharge my batteries when the kids are at school but during the winter months, it’s not as easy.

Before children, my idea of bliss was a Sunday morning lying in bed, with trash tv (Hollyoaks), croissants, a pot of tea or cafetiere of coffee (depending on hangover status) and I would do nothing.  Well, nothing for anyone else.

Now that I am a mum, that sounds so self centred but actually, it also sounds like my idea of heaven.  A chance to recharge but in the warmth.

As all mums will tell you, even going to the loo without interruption feels like an achievement and going food shopping alone is something I actively volunteer for – go figure!

But I want more.  Because I’m worth it!

A Plan

Family Agreement So I sat and thought how could I get the occasional lazy morning without feeling totally guilty?  I came up with a cunning plan.

Every evening as we sit down to dinner, we ask “what was your favourite thing today” and “what was your least favourite thing”?  The kids are all used to this by now and my husband just calls me his dippy hippy and accepts if he doesn’t want any grief, it is easier to just go along with these ideas.

As we sat down to dinner over the weekend, I asked “if there was one thing you could do once a month, just to make you happy, what would it be?”  Thankfully, without any prompting my hubby shouted out “playing on my PS4 without having to share it and being allowed to play the games I want to and not Lego Marvel – yet again”.  Gradually, the kids all come up with something:

  • a girly night for my daughter (painting nails, watching Frozen – yet again, and generally being girly girls)
  • a proper family movie night, at home, with snacks for son #1
  • family meal out for son #2

and so I swiftly slipped in my one morning a month, undisturbed, in bed with a pot of tea.  No hassle.  I could have asked for a day and I think they would have said yes.

As I sat and smiled sweetly at my children, encouraging their selfish demands, our Family Agreement started to come together.    A list of one thing each to do each month to make us happy.

The Family Agreement gets better

Then son #2 suggested he would like to make a weekly choice too.  I glowed with pride and realised my plan was probably about to get even better.

Off we went, everyone coming up with something they wanted to do once a week to make them happy.  The rule is that you can choose something even if it meant someone else may not be as thrilled with the idea.

As a result of this, I have managed to get another hour a week “me time” but that has come at the cost of a weekly bike ride with my daughter.  In summer, that would be great but in winter, not so much.  However, if it means I get an hour of peace (no work, no reading reports, no keeping updated on SEN news, no writing another letter to get support for one of my kids) – just one whole hour of me time.  Well, I can handle a weekly bike ride.

Everyone gets something they want and no one (ok, I mean me) will feel guilty for getting what they want because everyone is benefitting.

Have you tried a Family agreement?  

Do you pine for a few hours peace and quiet?  A few hours of being left to your own devices?

Why not give this a shot?  Tell your family about this mad family and what we are doing and then sit back, let them think about it and who knows, you may be surprised.

Top tip – let them go first, encourage them to be self centred, encourage them to think big and then save your demand request ’til last.  By that point, they will all be so happy thinking about what they are going to get, you will just sail through with whatever you want!

Have fun and keep me posted.  I would love to hear if you are successful and how it works for you.

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