Busy In Bristow: Learning to Be Happier Homebodies

In the past seven years, our family has done a lot of growing up, and I’m not just talking about the kids. In the summer of 2007, we drove all the way to Indiana for a cousin’s wedding. The twins were only two, and instead of eating their chicken fingers at the reception, they piled up all the table favors onto their plates. This was after we asked the servers to clear the crystal off the table and kept a constant eye on the white, flowing tablecloth in high alert that at any time, our drinks and meals could go flying. (Do I need to state the obvious? Tablecloths and young children do NOT mix.)

There were simply a lot of things we couldn’t do – or if we did them, the effort exhausted us – but now that they’re older and we can take long car trips without diaper explosions, temper tantrums, or puking, we find ourselves happily ensconced in simpler vacation traditions settled into during their young years, and we find that our vehicles – the same ones we bought as a new, young family – cannot be relied upon for such odysseys. (Purchasing six plane tickets on two teachers’ salaries ain’t going to cut it either unless Daddy wins Powerball.)

Quite simply – our nomadic streak is still there, but in our middle age, Husband and I have both become, gulp, Home Bodies.

Now, what are some benefits of being Home Bodies? It just so happens I’ve studied this in all the years we weren’t happy at home and developed a list:

  1. You get to have a garden and eat handpicked fresh veggies and sit down on your back deck surrounded by beautiful flowers. In the past, we’ve paid our teenage neighbor to tend to the plants, but in the end, no one takes care of the garden like the person who planted it in the first place, and no one knows how to work the kink out of the hose quite like you do.
  2. Home projects are completed. Pictures are sorted and put into albums. Closets are cleaned and walls are knocked down to create more open space. This beats getting such a bad case of the traveling bug that when you return to your neglected home in late August, you find the piles you left in June, lurking, threatening to multiply like the weeds that have choked out your small garden.
  3. You enjoy the local treasures you always hear about but never see like the town’s Civil War museum and the concerts on the pavilion. Most of these are also free, so while you’re enjoying them, you can kick back and feel good about all the money you’ve just saved.
  4. You actually get to see your friends. You know – the people you used to spend time with before you had kids? And the new friends you’ve made through your kids … you invite them over, get to know them off the bleachers while the kids catch fireflies in bug boxes. This way, your connections deepen, and you find that throughout the school year when you need a helping hand, you have a list – long and deep – of people on whom you can rely. This has the ripple effect of shoring up your connections for the winter months when it’s your natural – but isolating – inclination to hunker down and hibernate. Amazing how much better we feel when we spend actual flesh and blood time with people whose company we enjoy!
  5. Your kids can go to camps. Let’s face it. The older they get, the less time they want to spend with the ‘rents. Camp’s expensive, yes, but they love it. At camp, they get to expend all that “kid-energy,” expand on an already-growing skills-set, be it swimming or archery, and best of all, they get to spend fun time with their peers so they grow their own social skills and friendships which is healthy.
  6. You settle into some routines that are healthy for you! Like my every other day column writing – exercising habit. When we’re traveling, I find it extremely challenging to establish a routine for both: not impossible, but challenging. At home, it’s easier to build the routines and self-discipline that I rebel against on vacation.
  7. You save some money since you’re not paying for lodging and meals out. And with this money you save, you can decide – and act on – your priorities, be they another home project or the big trip you’ll take next summer because you didn’t nickel and dime yourself with a hundred smaller ones this year.

Or at least that’s what I’m telling my bohemian self as we settle into some good homebody time this summer. We’re still traveling: a week at the beach with friends (it’s so hard to see everyone else’s beach pics on Facebook and not pack up the car and go right now!), and trips to visit family, probably a few days with friends who usually invite us to their river house, maybe a night or two close by in the camper since it’s a shame not to use it … but being happy about the time spent at home, rather than being so restless we can’t enjoy it, is something these two traveling teachers had to grow into. It won’t be as exciting, but hopefully, we’ll be more productive and more in charge of our future finances.

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Busy in Bristow

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad