Raising a family the best and most hectic years of your life

BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES

Having our grandsons stay with us for a week reminded me of how hectic life is when you are raising your children.

My son and his wife are in the midst of it — the never ending list of chores and activities.

You’re so caught up in what you have to do that the weeks fly by. You don’t notice the paper airplanes flying over your head while you’re cooking and the constant chatter of little voices.

Those years of your life are the best because they create the most memories. They are also the most tiring and difficult years of a couples life.

It’s not until you have an empty nest that you realize how much time being a parent takes and how for years your life revolves around your children’s activities.

And then one day, you find yourself with an empty nest. During the first few weeks, the silence is all consuming. You wake up every morning and you can’t’ help but notice the change that has occurred in your home.

It’s a strange sensation, because you feel as though you are supposed to be doing something, but you aren’t exactly sure what.

You will eventually get into your routine and begin having time for yourself and for your spouse, and you realize that having grownup children is not bad at all.

You go back into the routine you use to have before you had children, when you only had each other to focus on. The spontaneity will return to your life.

The secret to getting to this stage in life still happily married is not to lose each other during these childrearing years. So carve out time for each other.

Hire a babysitter, ask for help from the grandparents, or hide in the master closet for a smooch if you have to.

I was blessed to have my parents watch my children whenever I went out of town. It was such a relief to get away by ourselves. It was like getting an injection of energy and we would always come home happy and looking forward to being with our children.

Raising a family is a wonderful gift. I can’t imagine our lives without our children, and now our grandchildren.

However, parents remember that your children are going to leave home someday and that you and your partner will be alone again.

Be sure that when this happens you are still friends, and in love.

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily and on Instagram at mlsalcines or contact her on her blog FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.