Friday, August 30, 2013

Is your family too rushed?

Since the start of this term way back in July I've been thinking a lot about the speed at which we live our life.  I think the contrast from our lovely two week holiday was so confronting. And I found that it took me weeks to get back up to speed.  I've been wondering if this is a speed that I want to live at.  I do cling to the belief that I have some control over the pace!

I have thought hard about me working and the impact that it has on our family life.  Being a mum and full of the Guilt,  I have talked and talked with my husband and friends about whether or not I should keep working.  I've come to the point now where I feel OK about working.  I've realised that I like it, it is enormously stimulating for me and I'm not sure it would make all that much difference to the kids if I wasn't working.  My hours are good, they are 80% of the time being cared for family members when they aren't with me or at school.  So I think on that front it's pretty balanced.

So then we come to the extracurricular mayhem that seems to have consumed our life.  Each child doesn't do heaps, but what one does, impacts on the others.  The younger ones still have to go to all the music lessons and get carted around to all the training and drop offs.  The older ones can at least now be at home on their own a bit to fiddle faddle around, I mean, get some time at home to do their homework.

As much as it is enjoyable to attend a concert and see them play beautifully, I'm constantly asking myself how their music and sport contributes to the kind of person I want them to be.  And we also want them to be involved in youth group and church, so that's extra time in their week that has to be allowed for.

I haven't got the answers.  All this thinking is a work in progress.  I've just started reading an interesting book called "Simplicity Parenting" which is not a nice way of saying 'Parenting for Dummies' (although, I could do with one of those thanks) but is actually a book that challenges our society to look at the impact our rush is having on our kid's childhoods.

Yesterday after school I just let the kids play with the Lego that is spread all over the sunroom floor.  There were so many things that should have happened.  Homework, speeches, assignments, music practice.  But I just let them go for it.  I think they needed some down time, some creative time.  And we had a much happier afternoon.

Do you feel rushed with your family life?  Do you feel like you get to enjoy your family?  Or is this a pipe dream that I need to let go of?  I'd love to know what others are thinking and feeling about the stage they are in with their kids.

2 comments:

Rodney Olsen said...

I certainly think that our society is pushing us to do more and more so it's actually counter cultural to say NO!

I've been thinking about how to slow down recently. I'm careful about the responsibilities I take on but I need to be aware of extras starting to creep in.

On top of that it gets harder and harder to have family time as children get older. It's no longer just a matter of scheduling everyone together. Each family member now has their own commitments.

Sandra said...

I was and still am incredibly resentful about the amount of time that was taken up with homework when they were in infants and primary school - it certainly coloured the time I had with the kids when I wasn't working as much - I think that was more of an issue than extracurricular busy-ness for us.

Now they are in high school I work more and the most quality time I seem to have with them is driving them around in the car. I feel guilty a lot of the time about not being around as much as I used to be. I don't think there are any easy answers.