The moms saying this are not new mothers trying to cope with first-time motherhood challenges. These are seasoned mothers, of multiple children, who sometimes forget that schedules can and should be adjusted as families grow.
Here are some tips to help you make these necessary changes to your household routine.
Assess the Needs on a Regular Basis
Every few months sit down and figure out the current needs of your family. If you have an infant in the house, you may want to do this every other month. If you have older children, you may want to do this prior to unique “seasons" or schedules (i.e. soccer practice, summer vacation, part-time job, etc). As your children grow and their needs change, you’ll find that you’re leaving some activities behind, like play dates at the park, and taking on new adventures, such as art classes or teen game nights.
Keep Priorities Straight
As you plan your new schedule, keep in mind what's important. In other words, anything non-negotiable gets scheduled first. For example, if eating the evening meal as a family is a "must do" in your home, you won't want to sign up for extracurricular activities that take place around 5:00 pm unless you're willing to eat out as a family. What are other non-negotiables?
1. Family time. Spending time together as a family teaches everyone something: patience, kindness, taking turns. Someday your children will be starting their own families; they will need a model to reference. So, block out time in your schedule to just be together, even if it's for a family walk. Also consider having one-on-one time with each child a few times a week if possible.
2. Time with your spouse! Make sure you are spending uninterrupted time with your spouse on a regular basis. This is the person whom you will be spending the rest of your life with after the children are grown and gone. Quality time together will help keep your relationship strong.
3. Bedtimes. Yes, bedtimes. Rest is vital to your family’s health. Make sure evening activities end early enough for everyone to get a good night's sleep.
You can't do everything! If you have two children and both sign up for after school activities, you may find yourself racing all over town one night a week if those activities overlap. Organized sports and clubs are good experiences for children, but so is unstructured time. Children need the freedom to make their own decisions about what to do with their time.
Also, don’t be afraid to cancel an activity if something more important comes up. Let’s say you commit to bring a snack to a meeting in two weeks. A week before the meeting your husband announces he’ll be on a business trip that week and he’d like you and the children to accompany him. Cancel the snack! You don’t need to feel guilty for keeping your family a high priority. You are not the only person who can do the job—the world won’t fall apart without you.
Finally, remember to take time for yourself. Parenting, teaching, serving, and making necessary schedule changes will be easier and more enjoyable if you have taken time to relax and breathe.
Kelly Huckaby is a Christian/Wife/Mother living in Oklahoma with her husband and five homeschooled children. Visit her at www.unofficialweaver.com for more homeschooling support.