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The New Family Tradition That Keeps Me Sane

Photograph by Twenty20

As I open my front door, the pizza delivery guy gives me a sly smile. I know he’s not hitting on me — my hair looks like a squirrel has taken up residence and I’m still clad in my oversized "Star Wars" pajamas. He’s impressed because ‪at noon on a Saturday, it would seem that I’m still recovering from some hip swinging the night before ... until my 4-year-old appears at my side. The guy’s smile turns to confusion as I explain, “It’s Pajama Day.”

When my son was a newborn, I considered it a badge of honor if I made it out of my pajamas. Who knew that four years later, I’d be trying to make it back into them? Lately, I’ve discovered a different kind of tired. It’s a bone-weary kind of pooped that comes from running. Not the type of athletic running that makes me sweat in a healthy way, but the errand type of running.

My weariness comes from spending time at the grocery store and the cleaners and running to play dates and lunch dates and dates with Target. Only occasionally do I get a date with my pillow. But when I need a date with my family, I take our busy calendar, clear a full day and declare a staycation Pajama Day!

“Mom, what are we doing today?” my son asks.

My reply, “It’s Pajama Day!”

I feel a deeper connection to my family when we slow down

We wear pajamas every day, but only periodically do we don them all day. This is a day where absolutely nothing gets done. Cars sleep in the garage, dishes remain in the sink and dust bunnies multiply. There are other times when the dirty dishes pile so high they look like something out of an "The X-Files" episode, but this usually occurs because we’ve been too busy to get the maid (my husband) to wash them.

My son loves these days because he knows he won’t be dragged around to run pesky errands. There will be nothing to interrupt us: no school, no educational outing, no meeting up with friends (kids or adults) and no dance class. We’ll spend the day as a family—playing, taking walks, watching movies and ordering food. (That’s my favorite part.) The only thing we accomplish on PJ Day is spending time together as a family. Wearing our pajamas is a reminder of that.

One would think I’d easily slip into the flow of Pajama Day, but I surprisingly have a hard time being lazy. Since we are not on a true vacation, my mind wanders back to an errand I forgot to run and the multiplying dust bunnies under our couch are begging to be set free by the vacuum. As much as I’m enjoying my family time, it’s easy for this lady to get caught up in the habit of doing instead of just being.

I feel like I’m taking the best care of my family by checking those to-do items off my list. But it's hard to bond when you're constantly busy with chores. Maybe we can bond while I’m hurriedly shopping for carrots, and connect while I’m quickly peeling them. But my attention becomes split. I feel a deeper connection to my family when we slow down, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that.

When I see my son so happy just being, I’m reminded it’s not the tasks or the rushing that create the love— it’s us being a family that gets us there. This is exactly why I (we) need a Pajama Day. There’s no rush, there are no lists. My mind isn’t set on the next goal. I’m completely in the present moment with my family.

This is the magic and beauty of this type of date with my family. And I also remember how much I like wearing pajamas! Relaxed looks good on all of us.

Maybe we should do it again tomorrow.

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