Our society wears busyness like a badge of honor.
Moms love to compare crazy schedules and outdo one another with how much we have to juggle.
Next time you ask a friend or acquaintance how he or she has been, pay attention to how many people say “Busy! We have been so busy!”
If a friend responded to the question with “not much really” it would stop you in your tracks wouldn’t it? You would wonder if they were okay!
Let’s stop thinking that being over-scheduled is a good thing.
It’s Okay to Say No
Friends, this is not a competition we want to be a part of. There is no winner and the losers are our marriages, our children, our homes, and even our parish homes.
We are sacrificing our families at the altar of busy. We are consumed by the sake of “doing”. Doing that is mostly nothing more than making us frazzled and stressed. We are in constant FOMO mode (Fear of Missing Out) We don’t want to deny our children any activity or playdate. We can do it all! They need to be busy! What if they don’t have anything to do! Oh the horror.
Who cares if we eat more meals in the car than around the kitchen table anyway?
Does it even matter that the laundry gets all the way done, as in washed, folded, and put away all in one day?? A few dishes in the sink never hurt anyone either, right? I’m not going to tell you to leave the dishes and run out the door. Do the dang dishes. No family thrives in a house full of clutter, chaos, and unfinished projects.
” For where your treasure is, there will your heart also.” Matthew 6:21
Don’t forget that time is a treasure you can never get back.
Busyness in a Big Family
We all have busy seasons. Our family’s busy season is typically in the spring. We have two children involved in sports that require multiple practices during the week and games on Saturdays. Then add in the other regular activities for the other four children and we do a lot of running around. Thankfully it’s only for a short period of time which is then followed by summer and 95% of our activities are finished for a few months. Being busy every night is not our norm.
In a big family in particular, its important for children to each have their own interests. Our kids are not cookie cutters one after the other and shouldn’t automatically be in the same activities just for our own convenience. This is especially true as they become tweens and teens. It’s tough though to make the time for everyone to do their own activity. Saying no to some things for a time period and perhaps revisiting them at a later date is a good option. It takes discernment and the willingness (but not enjoyment) to face a disappointed child.
When we are more intentional with our choices for what our children can and can’t do helps them to appreciate the activities they are involved in. If they are running from activity to activity how can they have time to process anything? Each activity just becomes another stop on their never ending to do list.
Activities Aren’t Bad
Co-ops are not bad, sports are not bad, enriching activities are not bad. None of the activities we are taking our children to are bad. Often it’s in what we could be doing instead that is a better way of looking at the situation. Forgoing the extra car trip, the extra time away from family, the extra expense (we are going broke trying to give our kids every “advantage”!) and having time to eat an unhurried meal together, play a game or watch a movie. There is value is just being together.
We are homeschoolers and we can step off the conveyor belt (yet again!) and buck the trend of busy and say yes to more relaxed mornings that don’t involve rushing out the door. Less days when the littles are stuck napping in the car again, afternoons that are unhurried and unscheduled, (which can lead to time to pursue personal interests – yes, even for mom!) and dinners that don’t have to be served precisely at 4:50pm so that we can head back out the door for evening activities.
Jam packed schedules also leave little time for spontaneous adventures. Spontaneous activities often lead to the best family memories that are cherished for years to come.
When you are evaluating your homeschool schedule and trying to “fit it all in” for the coming learning year, really ponder and pray about each outside activity. Is it busy for the sake of busy? or truly enriching experiences for your children and yourself?