Sitting at her desk in the master bedroom Kristin was thankful for the silence. Ted had agreed to focus on the kids and food for the day while she took time to pray and seek God’s guidance. She had shared with a friend the frenzy that had seemed to creep into their home since the start of school. With three kids under roof and the growing amount of homework and activities, Kristin felt their lives were out of control.
Trying to juggle meals, snacks, carpools, be at all the games and youth activities, not to mention the ever-growing laundry pile, and ministries she and Ted were involved in, Kristin knew they needed a reset with the family commitments.
Haven’t we all been there?
The question we have to ask ourselves is if we are willing to push the reset button before it’s too late.
Each school year brings new opportunities, typically more homework, and a lot of wonderful opportunities for our kids.
But let’s face it, if we have more than one kid and we are still driving them around, it can wreak havoc on our schedules as moms. Typically when the home is out of balance tension gets high and tempers flare more often.
That’s when it’s time for a reset.
Here’s some thought that might make your reset more successful.
- Do your homework before you take action–with each of your kids. Here’s an opportunity to hear their heart and apologize if need be. Take your child out for a walk or go get their favorite ice cream. Share your concerns for family balance and apologize for your short temper if needed. Ask questions and find out what is really important to them. Let them know you and your husband are going to be talking about how to reduce the stress in your home and create more life balance. Let them know you will get back to them once you’ve talked to everyone in the family.
- Look at activities for each kid. Separate the great opportunities from the good opportunities for each person. Focus on each child’s strengths and areas where they need to grow. Are the activities the kids are involved in teaching life skills? Are they stretching them? Or are they involved because that’s what all their friends are doing?
- Look at obligations for both you and your spouse. Ask yourself if it is time to set a ministry or obligation on the shelf for a few years during this season of life even though you enjoy it. Is it necessary to attend all your kid’s sporting events? Maybe letting your tween or teen “go-it-alone” would be a growth opportunity for them. Again, separate the great from the good.
- Check for imbalance in each child’s activities. Let’s face it. Typically the kids that can wear us down get rewarded in that we give in all too quickly and we let them lean the balance of time in their favor. Either that or the oldest is doing a lot of activities while we tell the youngest that they’ll get to do more when they get older. Ask yourself if the balance is fair. Is it time for the oldest to give up some of his retained activities to give opportunity for the younger kids? Remember teamwork says that everyone gets an opportunity and sometimes one person may have to sacrifice something for the good of the team.
- Create a list of optimal activities and discuss with your spouse. Be sure to include things that you think he should consider giving up and that you are willing to give up.
- Once the list is set, have a family team meeting. Start the meeting by apologizing to your kids for saying yes to good things rather than great things. Remind the kids that life balance is a skill that they all need to learn and it makes for a healthier lifestyle and less friction in relationships. Assure them that you are doing this to help them succeed as adults when they are on their own. Share the new plan and tell them when it will be implemented. Be sure to give them a couple of weeks–or until the end of the season–for change. Also, let them know you are willing to talk further about it if they have questions or are concerned.
- Allow your kids to share their frustrations with the change with you. Listen, empathize with their loss, and let them know that you understand what they are feeling. Be willing to explore changes that they want to make and rework the reset if you and your husband agree.
- Implement. Too many times as parents we get so much grumbling and complaining from our kids that we drop whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. Be brave and make the difficult choices while continuing to listen and empathize.
Creating balance for everyone in our home takes time. When you push the reset button, tempers will probably surface initially, but know that the family relationships will strengthen and maturity will come sooner when we live a life that models the things we want our kids to learn.
“Let go…and let God”,