This past week, we had three theater performances, four basketball games, a science fair project, an Aztec pyramid model to make, a major scholarship interview, youth group meetings, a Valentine’s Day party, Valentine’s Day gifts to buy and make for the girlfriends (one of my sons made a fleece blanket for his special lady, of which he did all by himself!), a junior high youth retreat to chaperone, an awards presentation, and a semi-formal dance.
This was all outside of working, blogging, counseling, and doesn’t count the phone calls and care-taking of the college girl three states away and functioning on a knee with a torn ACL and meniscus.
How do you get through busy weeks? With four children, we’ve lived through weeks of even more busyness. In fact, when the children were younger and we didn’t have teenage drivers, busyness consumed our lives and we even limited the activities the kids could participate in. As I reflect on choices we’ve made to “maintain” busyness, these are things that have helped in remaining sane when you want to stop the train and get off.
- Set boundaries with who and what you’ll say yes to. You are the only person in your family’s life who
can do that job. Others can sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, or sign up for cupcakes for the Valentine’s Day party. My youngest signed me up for paper cups this week for the Valentine’s party which allowed me to show my other son how to make a special blanket for his girlfriend. Saying no to one thing opens up a yes for the most important things .
- Don’t feel guilty about the boundaries you set. For the most part, I’m okay with this. I used to wonder “What will people think of me?” if I said no to certain things. But then I looked at my children who were quickly exiting my life and realized the time I have left with them is more important than pleasing others or meeting other’s expectations. In the end, the most important people I’m accountable to are my husband and children.
- Decide what is the best balance for the family. Since our children were young, we’ve allowed each of them to only be in two sports during the school year. They’ve had to choose what activities they really want to be a part of and we commit to those things. With two sports per child, there were years we had three different sports during one season, but we made sure we could handle it as a family. We’ve weighed other activities based on their priorities. Siblings have had to say no to things so other siblings could engage in what is meaningful to them. Children don’t have to be a part of every activity available. Kid do get burned out.
- Make time for self-care. Adequate sleep and alone time with God are what I need for a peaceful week like this one. Friday morning I could not wait to spend time alone with God, His word, with a cup of coffee in hand. When my spirit and body are not at rest, I’m a mess when our weeks are busy. It’s the difference tween peace and chaos for me. What do you need to give yourself peace?
- Be open to hard decisions you may have to make. As our family has grown and changed, my husband and I have made difficult decisions both professionally and personally so being stretched to the limit was not a long-term lifestyle. My husband used to work part-time as a teacher and manager of the family dairy
farm. Two professions that have full-time responsibilities even when you’re part time. He made the decision to teach full-time a few years ago because it was best for our family. This decision affected extended family members who also farmed. It was the hardest decision of our marriage, but was the right thing to do. I left the teaching profession a few years ago to become a counselor so I would have options for part-time employment during the last few years my children are home. That, too, was a difficult decision, but working part-time has made the difference for us in our present season of busyness.
How do you manage busyness in the season of life you’re in? What tips have you learned that have helped you balance the responsibilities of work, family, and home? Mine are not exhaustive in the least, it’s what’s worked for us. What has worked for you? I’d love to hear.
Have a GREAT week this week! Hopefully your train is moving at a rate where you can enjoy the scenery!
Dear Father, please help each reader to know where they need peace in their busyness and how you can provide peace and rest in their present season. May your peace that transcends all understanding guard each of their hearts and minds in You (Phil 4:19).