WT 021: How Do I Prepare for a Busy Year?
The end of August means that fall is almost here! And fall means pumpkins and sweaters and lots and lots of activities. From school birthday parties to kids sports to events needing volunteers… the fall is busy! So today, Karen and Sunny discuss: How Do I Get Ready for a Busy Year?
Question 1: “The kids are back to school and the endless requests for parent volunteers has already started. I probably get around 2 different requests a week. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to help, but I work full-time and have more than one child who needs my time. How do I manage my guilt around saying no—especially when it seems like every other mom is able to do it all?”
Karen’s Answer: Okay, every mom make look like they are doing it all, but I have been around the block a time or two and I have looked behind closed doors of these so called picture perfect families, and I’m here to say, it’s all smoke and mirrors. No one, can do it all! Ask yourself the question, am I committing a sin if I do not volunteer? Answer is no, so then release yourself from the guilt.
Cut yourself some slack. All of us moms in this time and age need to cut themselves some slack. The thing is just because you are a mom, doesn’t mean you have to do all the “mom” activities. Some women love more than anything to go volunteer in the class. That is awesome! But, I am not one of those people. I am thrilled she is there, but it’s not my cup of tea. I have other talents and gifting and did my share, just not volunteering.
Question 2: “Karen, did any of your children play sports? Competitive sports are beginning to rule our house and dictate all our schedules. My kids love playing, and we love attending, but the sacrifice of time and money is getting a little out of control. Any advice?”
Karen’s Answer: My children played but never to a competitive level where travel was involved. And honestly, I could barely keep up at the REC level, so I can’t imagine the travel team level. With 4 kids, we didn’t have the time for it.
Kelsey was in drama/theater. It was definitely straining on our schedule. Sometimes when she would get called for a commercial out-of-state I would have to say no. I had three other children at the house and Greg more than likely was out of town. Emily rode horses and the time at the barn could be all day starting at 6 a.m. The thing about any sport is it’s time. If you have the time and you enjoy it then go for it, but if you don’t have the time then you need to throttle back. I’m not against sports or travel. I think it’s awesome, but as a family we decided to put our money in other places like family vacations, finishing our basement for the family, etc. I wish we could have done it all, but we had a limited amount of money and time.
Question 3: “Karen, did your family have any traditions in the fall that helped you slow down and enjoy time together? It feels like the school year begins and it’s busy busy busy, then bam! Christmas time! I want to balance our busy family schedule by implementing some new traditions that let us spend time together.”
Karen’s Answer: In the fall we would sometimes (and let me emphasize “sometimes”) we went up to Burt’s Pumpkin Patch. That was fun, but carving out time for that for me was difficult. I think the answer to this question is don’t let your calendar too busy. Easier said that done, but we cram it to the rim then want family time on top and it doesn’t work that way.
We would carve out family night on the weekends especially when Greg was home and I would tell the kids it was mandatory. We would eat dinner or go out, watch a movie at the house with popcorn or get together with our friends and have game night. You’ve got to be intentional, it will not happen on it’s own.
Question 4: “How did you manage homework time when your kids were little? This will be the first year that all my kids will be doing homework and I know that the combination of homework, dinnertime, youth group and other after-school activities will be chaotic and a lot to handle.”
Karen's Answer: I usually did not help my children with their homework from 3rd grade on. Of course if they got stuck on something I would help them, but they did the work. Also, with 4 children, they were all different. Taylor liked to come in have his alone time and then start on his homework after about an hour or so. Kelsey liked to get on it and get through with it. Emily liked to play outside for an hour or so and then start. Abby liked to just play and play. She was a little harder to motivate. But, they all had to figure out their own way of getting it done. But, I put the burden on them to figure it out after 3rd grade.
Show your children your weekly schedule with church, dinner time after school activities and let them be part of what will work for them. Trial and error works a lot of the time.
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend