I need to draw a line in the sand.
It’s not an easy line to draw.
This mark, this line, is antithetical to what I perceive as society’s view of normal.
That view, that belief? That normal = busy.
It feels as if the measure of success for families is directly proportional to the level of activities participated in.
Is it too busy? At what point do we begin to lose the beauty of family? For instance, we are spending over 40 hours a week on busy activities. Driving here and there — racing around, dropping off, picking up — living with each other in bursts of conversations. And now, we’re exhausted. But more importantly I’ve noticed that we’re losing family.
There are fewer dinners gathered around our too small table.
With fewer dinners together there’s fewer times cooking together, playing games together, listening to each other and praying together.
I need to draw that line.
But, it’s hard. That line represents saying no to activities that on their own are excellent. Yet added together these beautiful excursions subtly invade every facet of our lives. What do I want my children to remember? The frenetic, crazy life? Or the simplicity of breaking bread together. Or serving others. Being together.
Deep down, I want family. I want to reclaim what has been subtly taken from me in the disguise of “your kids need to do all these things” to have a happy and filled childhood. I’m beginning to believe otherwise. My children want family. Yes, they love their activities, but deep down? They love laughing with each other. Learning. Reading. Spending time together.
We’re given a finite time with our children in our homes. Sadly, I’ve allowed the so called urgent needs to displace our own fellowship. I’ve been pondering what they’ll remember when they are adults — is it better to remember being involved in hours of activities? — or is it better to see parents who said “no” and created memories together as a family?
I just need the courage, the boldness, to draw that line.
To rest securely in being different, knowing that for our family, it’s what’s needed.
I need to reclaim family.
How about you? My challenge — look at your life, your schedule, your day — where do you need to pare back, to reclaim your family? Your family, your kids — they’re only young –once.
(all of these pictures were taken today at the apple orchard. today we spent time together. as a family. and it was good.)
This grey hair mother stands up and Applauds you!!! You have already stepped out of the “normal” by home schooling…go ahead and take the full plunge. It is so easy to fall into the world of busyness…I should know, I had five at one time involved in sports and music…totally insane.
Pick what is right for your family and don’t look back.
When was the last time you heard someone say,”Well we just spent too much time as a family.”
It is so tricky to determine how much is too much… even of “good” things- isn’t it!! I am glad you are working on what is BEST (not just good) for your family. It is very encouraging to hear!
I also LOVE the last line in Janette’s comment. 🙂
I used to run to every activity available with my kids, but God slowed me down. I got sick with dizziness and was unable to drive and do all those things anymore. He has turned my heart and focus more towards creating a home for my family.
We know what we want as a family, but balance is always hard. There are so many pressures from the outside, and we continually fight them to the point that a neighbor stated “That family is just like the Amish.” To me that’s a compliment. The Amish, we know, have such a strong sense of family and are glued to their priorities. Busy, as opposed to idle, is good, but there can be too much. As I said before, balance is hard to achieve. I know a home school mom who spent 12 days in a row driving her kids to this activity or that one. She was starting to question the sanity of the whole idea. I could stand back and see it far more clearly than she could. We want our kids to be involved, but family is first. If you have the sand, and you have the stick, you can draw the line. It sounds easy, but I’m reminded on a regular basis that it isn’t.
Oh so true! I felt like a “bad” mom this fall when I didn’t sign my little one up for soccer. “What sports do they do?” “that’s ALL?!?!?” I don’t want to spend 2 nights a week at practice and every saturday at a game and 2 nights a week driving the other son to music lessons. YUCK!
We are going to the pumpkin patch next week and I can’t wait! It is easily my fave family activity in the fall. LOVE IT!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you’ll come back again,
Oh, Rachel, I would hope that many young Moms read this entry and really think about what you have so beautifully stated. Our children are 31 and 34 and we were busy when they were young, but nothing compared to the families today. We made so many wonderful family memories around the dinner table, playing games, watching movies and other family activities. Blessings abundant to you as you strive to seek that healthy balance in your families lives. The Lord will bless you for your efforts as I’m sure He already has.
what a wonderful family day spent at the apple orchard! its days like those that you’ll remember and cherish forever. i admire you for choosing to put family 1st. its hard in this society but i know the Lord will in turn bless your together time a hundredfold.
This year has been the best year for me as far as busyness. I have carefully guarded our calender. We have more downtime this fall than ever before. I love it! Dinners are not rushed. We have time to bake together and to practice hospitality.
We all need to look and pray over our calenders. Also, our husbands are really good at knowing what stresses us out. Be brave and ask him what things you don’t have to do.
My children have never had the privilege in participating in many extra things outside of the home, mostly due to finances, but also as a full-time working mom, I refused to allow my kids to do those things when I couldn’t be there to enjoy it. So I feel they missed out alot, but as they’ve grown older, I am thankful for the times we’ve had together as families. Thank you for this post. You are woman of such great wisdom!
Putting family first is definitely more important! Only have one left at home so time definitely does fly by way too quickly!
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
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Found you thru blogfrog tonight! Love your post, and it is SO my heart right now and in recent months. Just this weekend, we skipped out on a huge school “carnival” i.e. fundraiser in order to get our kids out of the suburbs for a picnic, hike, and just time together. We’ve done this about 3 times in the last few months and the kids LOVE it once we get out!! I have found with mine that if we can offer a fun alternative, they are totally fine missing whatever it is they are missing. They will be gone before we blink twice! I look forward to checking back in with you. Blessings, Amanda
Contemplating this post again and it just hits me that although people say they’re Christians they don’t really live like it. I’m not talking about people doing openly bad things. I’m talking about people who are so focused on this life…they want to hold on so tightly to this life. Not putting it right but hope you know what I mean.
No matter what happens, know that the Lord IS working. Praying!
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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I read recently – “You will never regret spending time with the Lord or family” – so simple but what a good reminder. It speaks volumes by what it doesn’t say – what am I doing that I will regret? Too much time on the computer comes to mind for many of us bloggers…. Fantastic reminder, Rachel, thanks. Now off to spend time with my children….
absolutely true. thanks for the ‘speaking to MY heart’ message!!
I am not even joking when I say that I lose sleep over this. I have two young boys so that activities/sports/etc. have not started yet (they could have, but have mostly said no), but I fear the day when I have to draw the line. We just returned from a beautiful weekend of just us, camping, the woods. I know without a doubt that if they are in too much, these trips will fall to the back burner and I am not going to let that happen. But like you said, on their own, they are good things.
I struggle with this one as a mom often. Thanks for your writing, it is good to know I am not the only one at least wrestling with it.
What a wise young mom you are! Take it from all of us older moms posting here…they aren’t going to remember the here there and everywhere the same as they remember time around the dinner table…my son was in from college this past weekend and the four of us spent most of our time together sprawled out on the living room floor wrestling with our dogs, laughing and having a great time just catching up with him while we had him home 🙂
Pray over that calendar and trust the Lord…as it sounds like you are doing!
Great thoughts, Rachel. I hope that you truly give your calendar over to the Lord.
With a dozen children, we could be busy 16 hours/day. But … we decided MANY years ago that being home as FAMILY was more important than all of the “good activities”.
My husband and I were both 3 sport athletes in Jr. & Sr. High. We loved playing sports … and 11 of our 12 are gifted athletes. However, we drew a line in the sand 22 years ago, when our oldest started baseball. We would ONLY do spring sports.
We have had multiple years where we had 7 or 8 kids on different sports teams during the spring (baseball and track). Our calendar was FULL for about 3 months. But, we knew that summer was on the way and we would be FREE to PLAY.
Fall rolls around and our kids have often wanted to play fall sports. But, we just said, “No.” About 6 years ago, we changed our line in the sand by a little bit. We decided that high school kids (with their own transportation … car or bike) could play a fall sport. They would get themselves to and from football or cross country for the daily practice, and the family would all attend their once or twice weekly game/meet. Then … no winter sports. Time to stay home and play games together.
We also don’t do every activity offered at church. Our church is only a block away. Our kids could walk there. But … HOME is our priority.
Our 6 young adult children have never once mentioned any regrets of not having been allowed to do more. No. They have thanked us many times for the way that we raised them.
Draw the line. Bring the children home. You might find one or two activities per week that the majority of the children can participate in together. (Ours used to all be in a homeschool choir.) But, right now, our kids do not have any outside activities except for a weekly evening Bible study that they go to with their Dad. That’s it. The rest of the week … we are home 24/7 … and that is a GOOD place to be.
Beautiful post … it is hard to balance life sometimes. When things are very busy, we crave simplicity. When things are too quite, we long for something to do. A place in between is somewhere I want to be, but it’s hard to find that place 🙂
SO hard to find that balance in a chaotic world. And hard to keep your kids focused on the ultimate priority…God when there is so much distraction going on. I can’t answer that – I take it day by day and make each moment count.
Great wisdom here, Rachel. We feel the same tension and struggle. We have only one left at home, a senior in high school. But even with one there is the hustle and bustle, the running and scurrying. Golf, school play, clubs. There are some nights we declare “We are staying home and going nowhere!”
Looking back, it is not the hurrying around that I remember; it is the conversations around the dinner table, the laughter during a night at home. That sustains.
To recapture some sense of family time while we are driving to an event (like yesterday), we talk rather than just play music. And yesterday my daughter and I memorized 2 verses from Psalms. This morning she still remembered them. Not the same as staying home, but capturing a slight essence of it, anyway.
You have a good post to remind us of what really matters.
Your post prompted me to post an article on “Quality Time” that I’ve had in my file waiting to publish. Let me know if you’d like me to link your article to it, since they deal with similar matters. And yours is a good one.