We don’t get enough nothing days here, even though all too often it feels as if every day is a nothing day because we spend too much of it driving between places to drop the girls at one thing or another, dealing with tired toddlers and stressed out teenagers, hustling people through homework and music practice.
Those are the wrong sort of nothing days. The ones I like are the ones we used to have when we home educated, when we lounged in our pjs all day, curled up with a book, the baby playing on the floor, endless cups of tea interlacing discussions about bats and medieval politics and how to design a dress for a doll 12 inches high (and why do we use inches not cm anyway… and oh, what did you say you wanted me to find out for you?) I miss the days when an 11 year old cooked a lunch and we took time off education for an afternoon in the garden because the sun was out and the sandpit was calling and anyway, we’d almost certainly learned enough today anyway.
I miss the days when a family day didn’t mean revision needed doing or the children would disappear to the four corners of the house, ipod in hand, ear phones in and housework avoidance techniques on. I miss the days of 4 little girls huddled in a sofa cushion house while parents, ostensibly busy, enjoyed the sound of delighted children immersed in play. I miss hours of hearing that babble, knowing I made the right choices in having them at home, having so many of them, letting them be. I miss late nights and family films.
But just occasionally it happens; at Christmas it ALWAYS happens. We batten down the hatches, light the magic and stand back to revel in 48 hours of doing nothing but enjoy each others company. And the delight of it is always that that time together reminds us all of how much we enjoy spending family time together. We always pledge to do more of it; we do eat together most days but Christmas reminds us of taking time to chat, playing games together, curling up with a film together, exploring new toys with the little ones and new gadgets with the big ones, talking and maybe even just not talking.
I’m seeing the effect of no family nothing days at the moment on all of us, particularly the angst ridden teenager, gcse revision/music exam/gym competition/dance exam/4 shows in a week all having taken their toll. She had to write a definition of leisure time this week and it made her cry – she doesn’t get any. I’m pledging to get that time back for her soon, days and days of sitting in the sun, taking walks, reading books for pleasure, making things, playing with her brother and having time to talk, do nothing, spend that little bit more time with her sisters before it is time to grow up and fly the nest.
Arla Foods are giving you the chance to win £200 to spend on goodies for a family ‘nothing day’ to indulge your family in taking time to do the small, delicious, memorable things together that sometimes seem so simple we don’t do them. You can find out more at their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter.