Fighting for Family Time


I feel like I’m doing a lot of talking lately. My kids seem to have very different opinions than mine and have forgotten who is the matriarch and strategic leader of this family who knows best, or at least thinks she knows best. There is an expectation gap that I’m trying to fill and to garner buy in, and it is taking a bit more work than I’d like. I’m sure the mamas with older kids understand my dilemma.

Today’s struggle was rather simple. We didn’t have any kids’ sporting events just yet and our day was wide open. Jeff decided he wanted to attend the Stanford Football Open House event. I agreed, thinking this would be a fun way to get us back in the spirit of tailgating in the fall, which is fast approaching and give us all something to do. We all really enjoy this family tradition, but today they had other ideas. Juliana wanted to bake. Christian wanted to bike ride and hang out with his friend and Charlie was wanting to wage a Nerf gun battle with his neighborhood friends. Secretly, I really wanted to head to the beach on my paddle board. But none of these activities were really bringing us all together to share family time, and typically if we stay home, I end up cleaning, cooking and dropping off and picking up after everyone. The one thing we would all enjoy was Jeff’s plan, but the individual wills were batting with the family will. Luckily, we didn’t give in to the demands and temper tantrums and logic explaining away our strategy. We stuck together and lead our team to victory. The end brought us to Stanford, to enjoy watching the team practice and hearing Coach Shaw address the crowd. We watched the divers practicing at the nearby pool. We got a chance to run on the the field, and even saw Juliana successfully kick her first field goal.


Afterwards, we got posters and had fun collecting autographs and meeting as many of the football players as we could, including the quarterback and the coach.


We ended up staying there all day, longer than we anticipated because we all were having fun. Imagine that.

And to end the afternoon, we had a late lunch and early dinner at the best sandwich place on the planet. If you haven’t been to Ike’s yet, find your way there as quickly as possible. There is one on the Stanford campus, and others near the University of Santa Clara, De Anza college in Cupertino and San Francisco to name a few.

A touchdown for Team Hartley today.

Oh, and P.S., we got home in plenty of times for neighborhood Nerf gun battles, bike rides and evening play. We all win!

How did you spend your day?


5 thoughts on “Fighting for Family Time

  1. We had the same family dynamic trying to rally the troops. Doug and I finally made an executive decision and hauled everyone off to the Humane Society of Silicon Valley for their Foster Dog Adoption event. Everyone loved visiting the dogs and cats, especially a two year old beagle, Georgie, who had just been surrender by a research lab (darling dog with no bark, if you are shopping for Christmas gifts). After that we indulged at Coldstone. Everyone was happy and Doug and I bit our tongues. Glad to know that we’re not the only ones struggling with strong wills!

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