I want to join Poms. I want to join Five Star. I want to join cheer. I want to join Girl Scouts. I want to join Brownines. I want to join the Broadcasting team. I want to be in the play. I want to be on the Leadership team. I want to be in a small group. I want to go to GSM Bible study…
All of these statements were made by all of our kids in the past two weeks. All 3 of them are already taking Tap lessons and have church activities. Our policy in order to keep our family schedule running like a well-oiled machine has always been to allow the girls to have their church activities, then one lesson-type thing like gymnastics, horseback riding, or dance. It’s all worked out pretty well until we turned the page to tween life/middle school.
Suddenly everything is incredibly fun and necessary, according to the girls. I’ve been trying to explain to the girls that there just are not enough hours in the day to do all they want to do, but they just weren’t getting it. I don’t blame them. Every activity they want to be in is incredibly fun and good.
In order to illustrate the point, I gave them a visual. I drew out this color coded chart to demonstrate to them how busy our lives already are. Rob and I asked them how they felt about there being almost no “open” space to fit in plain old family time, or just chill time. It clicked! It was one of those parenting moments where Rob and I felt like super-awesome parents, and like we really, actually do know what we are doing. They agreed with us that there wasn’t much blank space, and we had to have it.
The girls still want to do all the fun stuff, but they realize now that they have to choose between the “good” stuff and the “great” stuff. When there is too much “great” stuff, they have to simply make a choice that will be hard.
I’m sharing this because I know some of you will look at our chart/graph thing and be envious of all the blank space, but there are also many of you who will think we are crazy for being so busy. I simply want to ask you: how much blank space do you have in your schedule? Do you have any? What are you doing to make sure your family has down time?
Any tips for the rest of us? I’d love to hear how you make your family schedule work.