The days of having one parent working while the other parent stays home to take of care of the house and kids have changed over the last 50+ years. Due to the emergence of women entering the workforce and the high cost of living, the need to have both parents working has significantly increased.
According to an article on www.monthlyreview.org, “Married women increased their participation (in the workforce) from 24 to 61 percent (between 1950 to 2004).” (“Women & Class”, July 2006, www.monthlyreview.org).
With the influx of having two parents working, the increase of extracurricular activities, schoolwork, homework and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the amount of quality parents spend with their kids is nearing “slim to none”.
I am a true believer that if, as parents, I do not plan to spend quality time with our family, that time could easily get away from us. Although I enjoy my job, side hustles and being able to contribute to our family finances, I want to ensure with the busyness of life and having young kids that my husband and I create memories that our children will cherish forever.
Now this may appear to be challenging, particularly since we are in the middle of our debt-free journey; however, we have come to the realization that is does not take a ton of money to leave lasting memories. Here our four ways we are creating memories on a budget.
- Have family nights. So, this is one of the activities that I remember having as a child. When I was younger, my parents would implement game night with me and my siblings. And our games of monopoly would get “real”, hence the reason I am so competitive to this day. Since then, we have incorporated “Family Night” with our own kids. Our family nights typically include pizza and a family movie. And on many occasions, the “family movie” would be a “learning movie”—a movie for us to dive into further detail at the end. For example, War Room, Ruby Bridges, and others. Our family night typically costs under $25—the cost of the pizza. We have Amazon Prime and the Amazon Fire Stick so we use it to watch movies at no additional costs.
- Take family trips. Getting away from the everyday, monotony of work and school to experience life outside of your current environment is a great way to create memories. From doing an overnight trip to visit a nearby city Zoo, to carefully planning a vacation to the beach, family vacations do not have to be costly. Since we are in the process of paying of debt, we plan our summer vacations well in advance to properly budget and find good deals. Plus, we have parents that live in big cities, so planning to visit (and stay) with them, while finding fun activities significantly cuts down on costs. Our kids still talk about visiting the Aquarium in Atlanta or going to the Creation Museum near Cincinnati. Great ways to create memories!
- Make Holidays Memorable. One tradition we have created on the Eve of Christmas Eve (December 23) is to make hot chocolate (with marshmallows), pop some popcorn and watch a Christmas movie together. Our boys look forward to it every year. We then allow them to wake up on Christmas Eve to open up our gifts and we hit the road to travel to our family’s house for Christmas. We spend Christmas day opening up gifts with parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins while preparing to eat Christmas dinner as a family. I remember doing this as a child and I am so glad my children are able to experience the same tradition.
- Pray Together as a Family. This tradition aided in shaping my life as a parent, as a woman and more importantly, as a Christian. Although as a child we did not look forward to reading out of our “Children’s Bible” (especially when it was time for my younger brother to read…he was just learning to read and would take FOREVER! Lol) or even praying together as a family, this tradition is where I learned about the Bible and how to pray. I did not learn it at church. I did not learn it at our Christian school. My first experience of learning about God and how to talk to him was at home in our living room with our family. As an adult, looking back over my childhood, I am grateful that my parents sat us down to read a Bible story, ask questions and taught us how to pray. Although I did not want to cut off the TV to sit down and read about “Joshua and the Battle at Jericho”, now as an adult, I am so glad they did. Since my husband had a similar experience with his family, he wanted to ensure this tradition was incorporated into our family dynamics. Every Sunday, before the boys go to sleep, we sit down as a family read and answer questions from the Bible and each one of us prays, including my three year whose prayers normally include Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, Ralphael and Shredder (lol). This activity does not cost anything but time and commitment.
So, although our generation is busier than any other generation, spending quality time with our children without “breaking the bank” is doable. With a little planning and praying, we can create memories that will shape our children’s lives FOREVER!
What are you doing to create lasting memories for your children?
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