Parenting isn’t easy.
Ok, you already knew that, but it’s something that’s super easy to forget. If you aren’t careful you will look back and beat yourself up a bit for the mistakes you’ve made, rather than just addressing them and moving on. One of my biggest mistakes during my single Dad years involved hurrying. We were always busy, with 15 things to accomplish each day. We bounced from school to home to church to dance and then back to home for a little sleep so we could do it all over again the next day. Having a lot going on (especially during the teenage years) isn’t a bad thing. But there’s a healthy way to handle our packed schedules and some less than healthy ways. Here are a couple of thoughts that may help:
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You can be efficient without hurrying. I used to hurry my daughter all of the time, and I regret it so much now. Yes, there are times when we need to be certain places, but there also needs to be times when we can catch our breath and walk more slowly. If every meal you have is in the car on the way to someplace else, you may be doing it wrong. I’ve heard this quote attributed to several sources, but I first heard it from John Wooden who taught his young basketball players to “be quick, but don’t hurry”. It’s good advice.
Doing More Isn’t Always Best
Just because four extracurricular activities look good on college applications doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the sanity of your family to do them all. You can play baseball without being on 4 different travel teams and you can prep for college without taking 6 AP courses every semester. Sometimes doing more simply makes us more tired and more frustrated. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself (and your family) to do less.
Know When To Say No
It’s not easy to say “no”. Sometimes it feels like failing. But, if you are saying yes to things that will ultimately add unneeded stress to your family, then “no” isn’t failing, it’s a life preserver. Every activity seems important. Every teacher is sure her class is the most important, and every coach knows that his team is the one you most need to play on. They won’t say “no” for you, you are going to have to do it yourself.
You can be busy without hurrying all of the time. Hurry is stressful and over time it will lessen your enjoyment of the activities you are in. So, for your sake and for your family, don’t be afraid to slow down from time to time!