“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