This may be a touchy subject, but I’m going to jump in with both feet because I think it’s a critical topic for wives and moms to consider. So here goes – you and your husband should control your family’s schedule, rather than letting it control you. And just to stir things up a little more, I’ll throw in this – in order to control your family’s schedule, you may need to cut, cancel or streamline some of your children’s activities.
I know, I know – that idea goes against the grain of our culture, the constant drumbeat that we need to give our children more and more 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 – the list is endless. Many children have an activity every day of the week, many evenings, most Saturdays and some Sundays. Some activities require frequent weekend trips.
Believe me, I understand the desire to involve your children in all kinds of activities – I have felt it for many years. Parents today hear over and over that their children need every opportunity to learn, grow, and get ahead in life. I know there’s truth to that, and I’m not saying that children’s activities are bad. In fact, 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 your marriage , or just 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.
I give my husband full credit for setting the tone on this in our family. He said from the time our sons were young that each child should do just one activity at a time. Initially, I thought he was crazy. Didn’t he want our children to have opportunities, to try new things and find their niche? Actually, he did, but he also wanted them to grow up in a family that was reasonably relaxed, with parents who were reasonably sane. In his mind, the best activities for children and parents resemble this photo – families spending time and having fun together. So, we’ve tried to maintain a balance between activities and family sanity, with both successes and failures along the way.
Again, I’m not criticizing children’s activities – I know they’re important. I just want to encourage women who feel rushed and stressed to think about their children’s activities, talk with their husbands about the family’s schedule, and consider making some adjustments. That’s all.
One more thought – maybe it’s not our children’s activities but our own activities and commitments that are causing stress and limiting our ability to relax a bit and enjoy life. It’s very easy for us as women to say “yes” to too many things – 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 these things are bad. I’m just suggesting that we as wives and moms, along with our husbands, should control the family’s schedule, rather than letting it control us.
Have you had success with controlling your family’s schedule, or is it controlling you? What strategies have worked for you? Where do you struggle? I would love to hear from you.