Strategy #7 – Control Your Family’s Schedule – CalmHealthySexy New Year

Hectic family with text“Control your family’s schedule” is really an extension of Strategy #6 of 12 Strategies for a CalmHealthySexy New Year – Learn to say “no.”  Except with this strategy, you and your husband work together and decide when to say “no” and when to say “yes” to activities and commitments for yourselves and your children.

The basic idea is simple in concept but difficult in practice – you and your husband control your family’s schedule, rather than letting it control you.  Doing so may mean making some tough decisions.  One of the toughest may be that you decide to cut, cancel or streamline some of your children’s activities.

I know a lot of moms don’t want to hear that because it goes against the grain of our culture, the idea that we need to give our children endless opportunities.  Because of that cultural pull, the schedule of the average American family is dominated by the activities of the children – sports, scouts, music lessons, dance lessons, church activities.  Many children have an activity every day of the week, many evenings, most Saturdays and some Sundays.  Some activities require weekend trips.

Parents hear over and over that their children need every opportunity to learn, grow, and get ahead in life.  And, of course, that’s what we all want for our children.  I’m not suggesting that children’s activities are bad; many of them are very good.  All I’m suggesting is this –  if you’re feeling stressed, pressed for time, or unable to do some things you’d really like to do (eat well, exercise more, enjoy some relaxation with your husband, spend some relaxed time with your family), take a look at your family’s schedule and consider changes that would make life calmer and more relaxed.

Can you find that tenuous balance between activities and family, marriage and personal sanity?  I think you can, although it may always be a “work in progress.”  It will require that  you think about your children’s activities, talk with your husband about the family’s schedule, and consider making some adjustments.

One more thought – maybe it’s not our children’s activities but our own activities and commitments that are causing stress and limiting time for relaxation as a couple and family.  We talked previously about how hard it is for women to say “no” and that our default response is often “yes” – yes I will serve as homeroom mom, yes I will chair the bake sale, yes I will serve on that church committee, yes I will volunteer at the shelter –we all know how that goes!  Again, none of those things are bad.  I’m just suggesting that we as wives and moms, along with our husbands, should take a proactive approach to managing the family schedule, rather than just letting things happen.

Have you had success with controlling your family’s schedule, or do you feel like it’s controlling you?  Could managing the schedule more carefully and free up some time for other things that are important to you, like reducing stress, improving your health, or enjoying intimacy with your husband?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.  Gaye

Sharing with To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Motivation Monday and Share It Sunday.

Comments

  1. says

    One important thing that has helped us is to have a family mission that filters our activities. There are many good things – but we have to know what is “best” for our family. In order to determine what is best, we have to know where we’re going….otherwise the family becomes bogged down with various random activities that really do not lead to any specific goal…and can actually act as a deterrent to our ultimate goal of glorifying Jesus. A family mission and purpose really helps to pare down what we do, so that we get quality family time, and still say yes to those things that will help to move us in the right direction.

    • GC says

      This is a great point. I have not thought much about having a family mission statement, but I can see how valuable it would be in keeping family members’ time and energy focused on the things that really matter.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

    • GC says

      Yeah – I think that half the battle is just deciding that we’re going to do it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

    • GC says

      Hi Robin – I love the idea of working on your schedule together as a family. What a great way to keep things on track and make sure that everyone is involved and feel a part of keeping the family running smoothly.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  2. says

    With three kids, we made the decision to allow each child only one activity each season (since they usually are in sports) because otherwise it was impossible to run after three kids. Since that time I have found that my kids enjoy having some down/free time that is unstructured! I think we as parents feel pressured to give them all these opportunities when what we are really doing is robbing them of the opportunity to be a kid! My youngest still loves to go outside and play (he is 10). He can be out for hours at a time- roaming our yard or one of the neighbor’s with all the neighborhood kids playing all together. I think this is so important too!

    Thanks for linking up to Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop!
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

    • GC says

      Thanks Kerry – I absolutely agree with you. Not only does limiting children’s structured activities free up time for the family to be together (and for the parents to enjoy some time together!), it also gives the children time to just be children! I grew up that way – most of our time was spent running around the neighborhood and playing pick-up games of various sports – and I think it’s a great life for a kid!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

    • GC says

      Hi Paula – I really don’t know how some families manage it. They’re schedules are just crazy – I know I wouldn’t be able to do it.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Gaye

  3. Sara Lyn says

    I totally agree with this post! It’s important to have enough emotional energy for husband and family. I struggle to say no, but as I’ve become more and more convinced that it’s important, I find it easier to whittle down my schedule.

    • GC says

      Hi Sara Lyn – You’re right, it’s so important to save a good deal of our emotional energy for our husbands and children (not just the leftovers!). And I agree that it gets easier to say “no” and to streamline your schedule as you see the benefits of it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  4. says

    We’ve found that if we plan ahead we’re OK – things stay sane. It’s when we haven’t been deliberate and filled in all the “big” rocks first, then only react, that the schedule becomes a health hazard. It’s amazing what sitting down and deliberate planning can solve!

    • GC says

      Hi Lori – I absolutely agree. And that’s true with other things too – like if I don’t plan meals and snacks ahead of time, the chance of the family eating well goes way down!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  5. says

    Fantastic post! I used to feel incredibly stressed with the demands of family life and after school activities, some weeks my husband and I lived ‘past’ each other instead of ‘with’ each other. Now, we keep the weekends free and for family time. It doesn’t always work out (work commitments etc.) but we are aware of spending time as a family and with each other. At the end of the day, this is (in my opinion) far more important than activities.

    • GC says

      Hi Raquel – I love the word picture of living “past” each other rather than “with” each other – I think that’s exactly what many couples/families are doing. I agree that spending time together as a family is, in the long run, what children need most.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

  6. says

    Love this post and I totally agree, Gaye. My number one goal this year is finding balance. So many of my friends have their kids in multiple activities…and most of them are still pre-school age! My kids are 10 months, 3 and 4 1/2…so with 3 so close in age it’s hard to do scheduled activities much as is, but I feel like kids this age just need time to be kids and play! Just keeping all three fed, clothed, bathed and alive for now is enough stress for me. :) But my oldest starts kindergarten next year so my plan is to allow each child to choose one activity as they reach the appropriate age.

    • GC says

      Hi Dawn – I agree that young children just need to play and have fun! It is hard to balance everything as your kids get older. We basically did what you said – allowed each child to choose one activity at a time. There were times when we made exceptions, but that was our general strategy. And they turned out just fine! (Youngest is a freshman in college.)

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Gaye

Trackbacks

  1. […] Fatigue and stress – For women, much more so than men, feeling worn out and stressed out can really take a toll on their enthusiasm for sex.  If sex ends up as something you frequently “give” to your husband because you’re too tired or stressed to enjoy it, it may be time to take a serious look at your schedule and commitments.  Few things are more important than building intimacy and increasing joy in your marriage.  If you want those things, you may need to let go of some other things and find ways to get more rest, to say “no,” and to control your family’s schedule. […]

  2. […] Manage your family’s schedule.  In many families, mom and dad are not controlling the schedule.  Some families are allowing the children to determine how the family’s time, energy and money are spent.  In others, no one is deciding – family members just commit to activities without any plan for best using the family’s resources.  The most obvious culprit is children’s activities – sports,  lessons, and social activities can absorb every moment of free time and then some!  But parents can overcommit too,  allowing their church, community and social activities to suck up inordinate amounts of time.  If you want to maintain any kind of calm and sanity, you and your husband must manage your family’s schedule. […]

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