I have often agreed with the critique that American families are overworked and over scheduled. The cultural expectation of being, “on the go,” at all times is one that saddens me, because it allows for very little time to stop and smell the roses, both literally and figuratively.
As such, my husband and I decided we would do our best as a family to not get sucked into the proverbial rat race. It helps we are both home bodies, so when faced with the dilemma of going out versus having a night at home, more often than not, we’d rather stay home.
Now that we have double the children, I haven’t quite figured out how we will balance the family life we crave with twice the sports and school-activities that come with two times as many children.
As it stands now, we have a lot going on in our household, to include soccer (this month it’s twice a week, but usually it’s only once a week), and swimming (each child gets one lesson a week). It astounds me how busy we are already, seeing as how my oldest is only three years of age!
Some activities, such as swimming, are non-negotiable activities. They allow consistency from state-to-state as we move, and give the children a physical outlet and ability to interact with same age peers. Other activities, such as soccer, are a passing fad right now – I just have some sort of obsession with the concept of, “toddler soccer.”
Given the packed schedule between work schedules, volunteer schedules, sports schedules, and more, I’m starting to wonder how much more we, as a family, can commit to doing, before family time begins to suffer? How do we not become a family that has every second managed because of various schedules?
I would think the first step of prevention is recognizing the potential is there to become over-committed. And then, ensuring, as the parent, I keep an eagle eye on our family and personal schedules to know when to decline an activity. I’ll be honest, I’m not the best at saying, “No.” That said, it is a skill I once honed in the work force, so I feel confident if I dig deep enough, I can find that ability again. I also realize, that may mean saying, “No,” to my own children, the older they get and more inclined they are to become involved with organized activities.
Because, at the end of the day, I want my children to be happy, successful, contributing members – not just of society, but also in our family. And, I want to ensure they know the skill of finding an appropriate balance between activities with others, and personal time with family.