After having a house full of noise and people for the past 14 weeks, the house is now feeling rather quiet as Tyler, Hayley & Nicholas join their Mum for term 2 and the June/July holidays. After having them at home for so long this time, it will be odd not having them round for the next 12 weeks (aside from every other weekend). After a turbulent term of Miss 11 entering adolescence & hitting the puberty blues BIG TIME and a sibling rivalry battle between herself & Mr 9 over a school performance audition, the ceasefire is probably a much needed break to gather our frazzled nerves & regroup for next term. It is also a change of pace for all of us and it is during these 'breaks' that I get to spend some quality time with my boys on a different level & get jobs done around the house that seem impossible when 7 occupy the home!
During this time when the kids are away, we take on more of the 'fun parent' role & spend the three nights we get with the kids differently than when they are home for the term ~ Friday night is movie night, Saturday is spent at home 're-connecting' & chilling out with their toys/rooms and or friends and Sunday is 'family day' where we do something as a family. Usually part of the weekend is chaotic as the kids are settling in from a different routine & Mr 8 & 1 readjust to having others back home to share/interact with, but usually they are happy to be 'home' & the others are happy to have them home.
We try to lay down a few rules during the term such as 1. No homework or assignments after Friday afternoon (I also ensure they don't take homework with them to complete at their Mums on our term) I find it just takes away precious interaction time & can (usually) be completed during other times of the week. 2. No friends/playdates/sleepovers Sunday, this is family day. On the term the children are home, this is fine (we've seen them all week) but when you only get to see them once a fortnight, it takes away too much time and 3.Our normal rules apply even if it's just for the weekend (this one is often forgotten!)
Im sure things will continue to change as they grow older but to me family is important and we'd like to encourage them even as they grow into their teens that it is important to still call this place home. Iv seen far too many other kids as they grow stop visiting their 'other' parent and it's kind of sad, because in a few years time when they are an adult, they will have their own agendas and be off amongst the world. They are only small for so long, so you have to make the most of now.