13 Moms Share How They Keep Their Busy Families Connected

13 Moms Share How They Keep Their Busy Families Connected

How 13 real moms keep their families connected despite the hectic pace of modern life.

By: Heather Chaet

The scene: a typical day in my home. It kicks off with the usual controlled morning chaos. As my daughter rushes to grab her backpack and coat while brushing her teeth, I circle the room five, maybe six, times before I find my smartphone. We dash off to school, now 14 minutes behind schedule. The day roller coasters into what I call The Mad Evening Dash. We scurry home from dance practice, crank out the homework, scarf down dinner, speed through a shower, and -- finally! -- slide into the pajamas.

At last, it’s bedtime. As she snuggles under the covers, my daughter looks at me, and, through a big yawn, mutters, “You know, Momma, it seems like we are always on fast-forward.” Then she points an imaginary remote control at me.

She’s right. That is the way life feels most of the time. With work and school and homework and play dates, our family’s schedule is more than a bit out of whack, making it nearly impossible to squeeze in any amount of together time. How can families stay connected in this hectic, fast-forwardy world? We asked some moms to share their tips on keeping their families connected amid the chaos.

1. “Family dinners are a must for us. We share the best and worst parts of our days. It gives me a glimpse of what goes on in my kids’ world and vice versa. The bonus part is that this conversation starter opens the door for them to talk about anything that they are excited about or that may be bugging them.”

2. “We leave notes for each other. I write one for each kid before I go to bed and leave it on the kitchen table in front of their chairs. They write one back, usually leaving them by my computer or on my pillow. It’s a family ritual that I love.”

3. “My father-in-law is a massage therapist, and he says that when people are receiving massage, they often open up about personal things to him, even though he is not their friend. He taught my husband some massage techniques. Now my husband uses them on our kids. Massage relaxes them, and they end up talking about stuff that they wouldn't normally talk about during the hectic schedule of the day. It is therapeutic in lots of ways.”

4. “We have heart-shaped rocks that we hide in random places for other members of the family to find. It brings a little unexpected perk to your day when you find one in your purse or backpack.”

5. “I grew up doing 1,000-piece puzzles with three generations of family but, alas, I haven't gotten my crew into that yet. I’m working on it though. Instead of puzzles, we play card games together. It’s a simple way to just be, and let conversation flow wherever it goes.”

6. “I try to let technology work for us, not against us. My young adult sons communicate more via text messages, so I had to become better at texting. Because of work situations, my hubby and I email each other all day. We embrace the modern ways of communicating, and we use it to stay connected.”

7. “I write little notes on the napkin I pack in her school lunch. It lets her know that I am thinking about her and supporting her even when I’m not there.”

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8. “We bake together. It's unbelievably messy and a little draining on my patience but fun. She's 4 years old and I'm, well, never mind how old I am, but I like to think we're building her skills for the future while also spending quality time together.”


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9. “Friday night is family movie night! We rotate who gets to pick what we watch. Lately, even if it’s been someone else’s night to choose, they give the movie selection choice to me, as I’ve been on a roll with picking some really fun flicks.”

10. “About twice a month, we have a Cave Day, where we don’t leave the house. We stay in pajamas, do whatever we feel like doing, and order in pizza for dinner. It’s the perfect way to shut out the noise of life, recharge, and focus on our family.”

11. “Even though my kids are older, I still sing to them every night before they go to sleep. It’s the same song I sang when they were babies. After the whirlwind of school and homework, martial arts and ballet practice, it’s so nice to end the day together on a calm note -- no pun intended.”

12. “I really try to cut back on everyone’s technology time. There’s no screen time for the kids on weekdays, and I limit the tech for me from when I pick them up from school until their bedtime. Without that added distraction, there’s much more time to talk.”

13. “With a big family, it’s tough to feel connected to everyone, so my husband and I try to spend at least 10 minutes every day giving one-on-one attention to each kid. Even that short amount of ‘Mommy and me’ or ‘Daddy and me’ time seems to make a big difference.”

How do you squeeze in that family time and stay connected during hectic days?

Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at heatherchaet.com, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

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