Hey Parents…it’s okay to slow down.
So often we get caught up in the madness of our schedules. Balancing work, kids school (or your school), kids activities, chores, cleaning, meals, and the possibility of a social life. If we fill our days with plans and activities we must be doing something right, right? It can be a lot to handle and maybe it is too much to handle. The full days can lead to stress, and it is hard to maintain a happy family, if you want to pull your hair out. We have a couple of suggestions to help clear up the day as well as steps to take to get back to the happy family dynamic we all strive for.
Clean up the Schedule
Look at that schedule and decide what is really needed and what can take a hike. Can the home renovations wait? Can you say no to a social engagement that you don’t really want to go to? Can you cancel the playdate that is across town? We are here to tell you that you can. If you feel frazzled and hectic, it is almost guaranteed that your family can feel it too. All of the items on the list may seem important but we can assure you that if your carpets don’t get vacuumed today it won’t be the end of the world (and who notices anyway?)
Look at your kid’s schedule. Are they jam packed with school, sports, music lessons, scouts, homework, friends? They may be overloaded. Giving them experience and opportunity is great, but there is such a thing as too much. If you got it handled, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you don’t, it is okay to tidy up the schedule. You have permission to let some things go.
Allow for Family Time
Of course, we just suggested clearing up the schedule. Then we turn around and suggest you add one more thing to that list. This is why we suggested you to clear it up. Do you wake up hectic in the morning, go-go-go all day until it is time for bed? Are you eating meals in the car on the way to activities, or even at the table, but it is quick and then on to the next thing? Take a minute and check in. Consider adding time in the day to talk, ask about each other’s day. Not just in passing, but really ask and more importantly, really listen. It is easy to get onto our phones, or sit in front of the tv and ask, “How was your day?” If this is the case you are distracted so the answer is usually, “It was fine.” That ends the conversation. Disconnect and play games together, read together, get outside together. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it allows for conversation and it is together. Ask your children what their favorite color or animal is. You may be surprised that it has possibly changed since the last time you checked.
Remember What is Important
In the moment all of the activities seem important and crucial. Before you know it, your children will be grown and no longer right there to talk to. Is it important to check social media, or learn that your little one really wants to be a pilot (or whatever it changes to next week)? Is it important to go to that client dinner, or see your children’s eyes light up when they finally “get-it” with their homework? You are allowed you time, so if coffee with your friends is what you need, go for it. Remember what is important to you. If it causes stress, think of letting it go. Reduce the stress that your family feels, the joy may flow more freely.
Having a happy family is a valid goal to strive towards. Take the time to look deep. Does your family look happy to the outside world? Does is look like you have it together, but at home it doesn’t feel the same? It is possible to have it look that way and really feel that way. The first step is recognizing there is a need for change. What your family needs to be happy is you, really there, undistracted. Throw your love (and time) at your family, they will appreciate it.