Candy blogs: It’s baack … fall … the beloved but busiest season in most of our lives. For many this Labor Day weekend was the last hoorah to a more relaxed schedule. We’re sorry to see the summer go but always look forward to a change in the weather, getting back to a routine and enjoying the traditions of the coming season. School, sports and music lessons take center stage once again.
In the most recent weekly email newsletter from Friends Matter (Group), Melissa writes:
I’m a married mom of two young children with a full-time job. I’m up at 4:30 a.m. (or at least I try to be!), wake the kids up at 5:45 and encourage them along to get ready, make sure everyone has backpacks, homework, lunch, sports equipment, and so on, and I’m out the door by 6:15 a.m. Drop kids off, drive 30 minutes to work, get there by 7:00 a.m. Work until around 4:15ish, pick up kids, go to sports practice, help with homework, cook dinner, try to fit in a workout, get kids to bed…and it starts all over.
And then there’s the weekends. Clean house, pay bills, do laundry, go grocery shopping… sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever find time to spend quality time with my kids or my husband…much less my friends! And I know that some women have it even worse. Women today are BUSY!
Does this sound familiar to anyone? I remember those days.
How’s that workin’ for ya?
I would like to “truthfully encourage” young families to step back before things really get hoppin’ and set the family pace. There are so many good and wonderful things to choose from … but that doesn’t mean a family should choose them all.
There are definitely seasons of life that are busier than others.
Some busyness can’t be helped. Shopping for school clothes and supplies takes a lot of time. Homework takes first priority. Certain sports run for certain periods of time. Playing a part in a play at school demands regular rehearsals and study time. An intense project at work requires overtime. The house is being remodeled. There is an ongoing medical issue. The car breaks down.
When a family is in the midst of a busy time, it’s a good idea to keep this season as short as possible. If you have ongoing activities like homework and music lessons, when opportunities for additional activities come along, choose ones that have a start and end time. Families need the down time between busy seasons to rest and refresh and remember what is most important. Living in continual busyness brings stress into family life. It can be managed in shorter spurts but God never intended stress to be the norm. Stress was designed for emergencies … to flee danger.
Consider this …
“Busyness is not an indication of effectiveness, but rather a product of our own vanity and laziness … on the one hand, we keep ourselves busy because we want to believe we are important. The incredible hours, the crowded schedule and the heavy demands on my time are proof to myself-and to all who will notice-that I am important. On the other hand, our busyness is often the result of allowing others to dictate our agendas.” ~Rob Redman, “Worship Leader Magazine”
The ages and personalities of your children are also a factor.
Some children thrive on being active. They may have a kinesthetic learning style and need to be physcially moving. Some children love mental stimulation and soak in everything around them. Some families naturally have a lot of laughter and noise. But others function best with structure and quiet voices and minimal outside activity and an overall slower pace.
Little ones can’t handle a fast pace. They don’t know what to do with emotions like frustration and confusion. I hate to see little ones being dragged from place to place at the pleasure and pace of their parents. No interaction, just treated as a necessary interruption in the schedule. On the other hand, I love to see parents with little ones in the same places yet exhibiting unhurried, easy conversation, eye contact, engaged. As kids get older, the pace usually increases no matter what the personalities are. More is required of everyone.
Don’t look at other families to set the pace for your family. Look at your family. Is there a sense of general well-being in your family, of eager anticipation of the days? Or is everyone tired and cranky most of the time? Is there a frantic sense of hurry most of the time? Ann VosKamp says that hurry hurts the kids.
Financial resources can dictate the types and number of activities children can be involved in.
Many families are struggling financially in today’s economy. This is an added layer of stress for parents who might be used to being able to provide every opportunity for their children. Children don’t need to participate every opportunity. They only need to have their physical, emotional and spiritual needs met. There are many things you can do to build strong, healthy families without going into debt and going without unnecessarily. Take the time to stop and think. There are options. Your family doesn’t have to look like other families.
Allow time for kids to be kids … skipping rocks, watching clouds, playing with pets, making forts in the living room, playing outside, riding bikes. All of their time shouldn’t be managed and timed out from morning until bedtime. There should be moments to pause and let the quiet in.
I will invite our children to come move into an interior space
that lives with God. ~Ann VosKamp
Parents, are you the ones who might need to adjust? Just sayin’ …
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” ~ Psalm 46:10
You will love this from Ann VosKamp’s blog: 10 Helps for Really Busy Moms (includes a free printable download!)
You might also enjoy this post from 2009: Fall Screams Busy
Our schedules don’t just happen to us. We either allow others to dictate them or we set and control them. I’m praying for strong, healthy families this fall! Would love to hear from you.