Image by Marsel Minga
One recent Saturday morning I was so stressed out just thinking about what we had to do that day.
We schedule our children’s sports activities for Saturdays and so we had swimming and basketball as we usually do, but I’d also booked us all in to see our dentist whose surgery is several suburbs away and there was a grocery shop needed in there as well as dinner to be cooked. Can you believe I wanted to go to a book club meeting in the evening as well?
It all looked doable when I written down in my diary, but when I woke on Saturday I just knew I had signed my husband and I up for a tiring and stressful day, even before factoring in Sydney’s Saturday traffic. We all know about the phenomenon of overscheduled kids, but what about overscheduled parents?
The dental visits were the one thing I thought I could squeeze in, but really shouldn’t have; they could have waited until the next school holidays, when we get a break from Saturday sports as well. We plunged in and survived of course, but I certainly learnt my lesson. Our Saturdays are busy enough and I’m always glad when I leave empty those bits of white space which we have in them whenever possible.
Why do we often feel that we need to do everything at once? Fulfil every desire and every need right away? In my case I booked those dental visits because we were due for our check-ups and I wanted to get them out of the way so I could forget about them. But why? They could have waited. There’s always going to be something I have or want to do, I’m never going to be completely ‘done’ – not until the end of my life, and certainly not in this phase of life with a young family to raise.
We all need some white space in every day, time between our activities to stop and chat with a friend or neighbour, time to look at the sky, to tease our spouse or play with our kids, to potter around and maybe steal half an hour to do some little thing we enjoy doing.
There are certain things we want and need to do as parents and as individuals which are not very urgent, and so in very busy seasons of life maybe the way to get around to them is to look more broadly at our time, plan our activities in terms of months or even years instead of weeks, weeks instead of days, and just take things a little easier, to give everyone in our family a bit more room to breathe and grow.
How do you manage all the things? Are you weekends as busy as your weekdays? Are parents too busy these days? Are children too busy?