I’ve been meaning to write more, but we’re still figuring out our new life here in France, and all of this marketing, cooking, and eating takes up a lot of time! For the last week I have been wanting to write about something that is so foreign to most American families, and something that was unknown to us for the 14 years we lived as a family in St. Louis. It’s something as simple as getting the family together for a main meal lunch, homemade with love, (almost) every single day of the week (except for the occasional lunch out on weekends, of course!).
As I’ve written before, the kids come home for lunch almost every day. We pick them up from school at 11:45, and return them there at 1:45. We have started having them stay at school for lunch one day a week so that they can socialize with friends, and we can have one whole day just to do what we want… and most of the time that means working without interruption. However, yesterday the kids stayed at school, and we went out for sushi and to see the new Woody Allen movie (in English!). They enjoyed eating freshly made paëlla and tomme noire cheese for the first time, and we enjoyed a day together.
It’s lovely to share the midday meal as a family, and to hear about what everyone did during the morning hours, but that’s only one part of the pleasure of spending a few hours at home in the middle of the day. Very often, when we arrive at home with the kids, after bringing the freshly purchased baguette to the table, they’ll go and lie down on their beds or on the sofa and read a book while we’re finishing up making lunch. This down time seems to do wonders for them. By the time we sit down to have lunch, it’s usually about 12:30, and everyone is all smiles. We’ve usually finished eating by about 1:15, which still leaves them about twenty minutes to play. That’s what they do, they play. We don’t have them work on homework to try and get ahead, or multi-task in any way. They play, and they’re happy.
Now if I were back in the US reading this, wondering if I’d ever be able to move my family to France and make a drastic life change… I would wonder how it’s possible to find time to shop, cook, pick up the kids, and have a two hour family time every day at noon, while still trying to earn a living. I would assume that the person who had written this was independently wealthy, and didn’t have to work. Let me assure you that this is not the case with us, not at all. We happen to be very fortunate to be able to work from home, but it wasn’t always this way. Until the end of May 2013, we ran the rat race every single day.
It has taken a lot of planning and hard work to get to where we are, and there’s still a lot of hard work involved on a daily basis and we’re having to really focus on working as a team to make it work, but this is a choice that we consciously have made in order to improve our quality of life. We are living simply, and finding such liberation in the absence of stress. Well, not a complete absence of stress… I’ve just noticed the time and realized I have to go and pick up the kids for lunch, and I don’t want to be late! I welcome your comments, reaction, and comments. À bientôt!