Is your family too busy to be a family?

Do you ever get so busy that your head spins around and you don’t know what way is up?  I feel like our schedule this month is assaulting our ability to stick together as a family.  Lets just say this month does not have “that peaceful easy feeling.” My family is more like “a band on the run.” Ha!

Along with the fact that I have some rather robust projects for work, my three girls seem to have every performance, appointment, meeting and festival this month.  Julia and Grace are both in plays, and Isabel has several end of the year programs scheduled for May.  Seriously, its a bit insane when both Stephen and I are negotiating who is going to take what girl to what event at what time when we have multiple events within the same evening.

Despite our crazy household, we still try to take time to eat together, and to be together.  Preserving family time is important, but difficult to say the least. Along with the busy schedule, my girls want to go hang with friends.  In the busyness of this month, if I let them run off every time they wanted to, I may never see them until June.  I love these kids, I want to be with these kids and stay connected, so I have to find a balance between our busy schedule, my kids social needs, and their family needs.

In our family we often give our girls choices.  For example, if they do something on Friday night, they don’t get to go out Saturday too.  If they have multiple evening events, then they have to chill for the weekend.  Sometimes my girls want to run off, spend the night, do one more thing, and I have to be unpopular by saying “no.” If my girls are too busy, they become stressed, unhealthy, highly emotional, disconnected and……crazy.

As my girls get older, I know they need lots of social time with peers, but I don’t want to loose the family time quite yet.  Family time keeps us all grounded and connected. I also don’t want to be one of those overbearing, overprotective parents. I am trying to find the balance. It’s a challenge.  I realize family time has to be intentional now, even scheduled, and sometimes guarded from the outside world.  I always think of this quote, “the enemy of the best is the good.”  I constantly have to ask myself if I am letting good things interfere with the best thing.

The other night my daughter Julia came home from play practice after a long day and said, “I just want to shut off the world.  I am tired, and I don’t even want to text (serious comment from the teenage girl with 1100 texts in a 3 weeks).” We went home and the family snuggled on the couch and watched a movie, too tired to do anything else. Stephen and I had kids all over us with feet and hands intertwined like pretzels.   Ok….I love these moments, and I love being together, even if the activity is as simple as watching a movie.

I guess in the end I don’t want my family to be too busy to be a family.  I want us to stick together, be together, support each other…do you know what I mean?

How do you manage busy schedules with family time?   How do you manage all the activities still keeping the family close?    I think family time has to be intentional,protected and a priority. It means looking out for the best and making sure the good doesn’t get in the way. What do you think? Please share!

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9 Comments on “Is your family too busy to be a family?

  1. We just found out we’re having a girl, so I have a feeling I might be looking to you for advice. You guys are doing a wonderful job! I love it.

  2. Marythekay,
    I hear you loud and clear. My schedule can sometimes become the problem to family time. Welcome to my blog too. I love We are THAT Family.
    Patricia

  3. I am here from We are THAT Family, and boy, am I glad to be here! Your words have hit the spot today! Great thoughts, and JUST what I need to hear. Sometimes it is even the MAMA who is trying to cram too much in. Thank you for the reminder to spend time just being a family together. And, now, if you don’t mind…I’d like to take a peek around your blog a bit! 🙂

  4. I love dinner time too. Way to go keeping it going, I know that when I was a kid, dinner time grounded the family!

  5. KM – What a great activity to do together! Your kids will never forget this time.

  6. Jennifer,
    I had to pause and contemplate 8 kids. Yes, you are busy!!! Thanks for the comment, and I hope you can not only keep sane, but enjoy the season.
    Patricia

  7. Thanks for this post, and articulating what my heart is going through right now! I have eight children, one just out of college (with a brand new baby,) one in college, and six still at home. This last month has been a logistical nightmare, trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to be, and still keep everyone healthy and sane. This year seems more crazy than usual. Maybe because I have a very active senior, graduating next week. But all this “end of the year” stuff gets out of hand. I am exhausted! We are all looking forward to the summer, when most of the activities cease for a few months. Our oasis. My little ones are saying they can’t wait! I am looking forward to re-grouping, and concentrating on family time, and making memories, SLOW memories. 🙂 I really like the idea of only letting you kids go out either Friday or Saturday. I will try that. And you are right, sometimes we need to just be unpopular with our kids, for their own good. Thanks for helping me realize what we need to do to stay strong as a family!

  8. I’m ever fearful of the day that we’re too busy to be a family. Mine are still little enough to not have crazy plans with friends. And we’ve kept it to one sport so as not to be crazy taxi service parents. But, I realize this won’t work forever. We all love to work in the garden together. It is work, but then we enjoy the fruits of our labor together. I HOPE and pray that we can hold to our time as the kids grow.

  9. Our daughters are a little older than yours – both drive and one is in college (the other will follow this August). As they get older and are more independent, it’s harder to keep them “reined in”. Since they were little, I’ve always insisted that dinner is family time. As they got older and spent more time with friends, they still knew my “rule” – dinner is with the family. I insisted and I never felt badly when I denied them their dinner plans with friends. Dinnertime is mine! It was the only time of the day that we were able to connect and hash out our days and just talk. It was really my favorite time and that’s why I held onto it so dearly. When my oldest left for school two years ago, guess what she missed the most being away from home? That’s right. Dinnertime with the family! In the end, it was worth all the agony and arguments. Now, I don’t have to say a thing. They both willing agree (and hold dear themselves), the dinnertime ritual. Gotta love those kids!

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