You run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while and as pleasantries are exchanged, one of you asks, “So how’s the family?”
If someone offered you a million dollars to guess their response could you do it?
I know if you guessed:
“Oh we’re good. Just BUSY,” you just might win the big bucks. It’s like the magic word.
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Sadly, we look at busyness as a badge of honor. We feel
lazy, bored, anxious unjustified if we relax.
I am in awe over the number of activities in which kids participate. I sit here comparing sometimes, asking myself if I need to sign my children up for more even though they are each involved already. Extracurriculars are important, for sure, but when there is no time for homework, rest, or simple free play and creativity, I think it’s a huge problem.
I realize I have a different approach to this than most. I think a little differently for sure, but I truly believe that some down time, where we are just present together as a family, allows us to hear snippets from their days, talk about random questions, have dinner together, and foster an environment and space where there is time for the kids to talk when they’re ready. (P.S. Why do all of the deep conversations start after 10pm?)
I guess I believe quantity time is important too, not just quality. Kids are little for such a short time.
I know that this isn’t easy for everyone – maybe not even possible. Maybe you have no choice but to work long hours. Maybe you’re a single parent who shares custody. Maybe you have a child that just benefits from extra activity.
No judgements here.
I just feel that, in general, adults and children are too busy. We have forgotten what it’s like to just rest.
So, how do we keep from falling into the trap in our home?
1.We say no.
This is a new one for me. For years – your problem was my problem. Need a babysitter? Need cookies for a bake sale? A meal for a shut in? Your car oil changed? Someone to pay your bills? Yes, Yes, Yes, and Why not?
I definitely experienced major burnout and started to not enjoy anything.
Just because something is “good,” doesn’t mean it’s “best.”
Free time does not need to be “filled” just because someone asks you to fill it to meet their need. Understanding this has helped me to choose to do what I am truly called to, and do it well.
2. We find time to rest
I’m really working at trying to rest doing something that brings me life! I don’t feel guilty anymore. Resting when I can actually motivates me to be more productive the rest of the day.
3. We teach our kids that it’s okay to say no.
I don’t want my daughters to grow up feeling like it’s necessary to participate in every activity available. I don’t want them to feel guilty for saying no to something, thus sacrificing their sanity and the things they love most. If they bring something to me, I encourage them to really evaluate their passion for the activity and whether they realistically have the time to see it through well.
4. We don’t overcommit.
I think it’s a good idea to limit your kids’ activities ahead of time to a number you feel comfortable with as a family.
Look at your own responsibilities and say no to the things that just don’t fit well with your current stage life.
5. We *try* to lead by example.
We aren’t perfect. We make mistakes, but we try to let our kids see us thoughtfully, even prayerfully, choosing what we do and how we manage our time.
Let them see you rest. Show them that you can give 100% to the things you feel called to most, when your body is rested and recharged.
6. SAY YES!
Be sure that you are saying yes to the things that enrich your life and the lives of others. Say yes to what you are passionate about and called to…and that is NOT everything.
7. READ THIS BOOK! It changed my life.
Make your yes count.