Every morning I start my workday by visiting with the team members at our business and giving them good morning hugs. The other day I noticed one of our team members was upset. When I approached her with my concern, she immediately started crying. She was facing a problem that seemed larger than life, and the magnitude of the problem kept her from seeing the obvious solution.

She had recently learned the father of her children was no longer going to be able to help her financially. To make matters worse, he was also no longer going to be able to help transport their kids to various activities. She was devastated.

As a single mom, supporting three young kids, the crux of the problem was that she would no longer be able to keep the kids in dance and karate. Not only was she now lacking the funds, but she was now also lacking the time to get them to and from the events. The thought of telling her children they would not be able to attend these things was making her feel like a horrible mom.

Chauffeur Syndrome

As a parent, do you ever feel like you suffer from chauffeur syndrome? Dance lessons, slumber parties, baseball games, fund raisers, piano lessons, birthday parties, karate class, soccer practice and on and on and on sometimes makes you feel like you were put on this earth to be a chauffeur. On top of the huge time investment, these activities are quite costly as well. But what can you do? Joey and Katie’s parents have them each in four activities a week. It would be borderline neglect for you to not do the same, right?

Wrong! How many of these activities did your parents haul you around to when you were growing up? Mine, none. And as it turns out, I ended up ok. I participated in school related activities and athletic events, but I didn’t have the schedule of: Dance Monday, Piano Tuesday, Karate Wednesday, Soccer Thursday, and Slumber Party Friday, topped off with two separate birthday parties on Saturday. ตารางสูตรบาคาร่าฟรี

What are We Doing?

As it turns out, you are not neglecting your children when you tell them no. You are parenting them and teaching them values. To be well rounded individuals, children do not have to participate in a bizillion activities outside of the home. To be well rounded individuals with good values, they need activities within the home. Surprisingly, the most important thing to your child is your time. You are the one who should be teaching them.

Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. There is value and strong teaching in team sports and many other activities our children participate in. But as parents trying to keep up with the Jones Family, sometimes we forget to build on the family we have.

Let the Activities Go

When I talked to my team member the other day, I told her to let the activities go. Instead of being gone three nights a week, I suggested she use those three nights for family time. I advised her to throw a blanket on her living room floor and have a picnic dinner. If they want to go somewhere, instead of ballet class, I encouraged her to take the kids to the park. If they want to be a part of a team, I told her they could be a good Samaritan team, and volunteer in the community.

What about you? How can you make more time for your family? Perhaps instead of taking your kids to ceramics, you can instead have an art class at home with a little paint, glue and glitter. You can teach culinary skills by gathering all of the kids in the kitchen to cook breakfast or dinner. These are the kinds of activities young children need. They need time with their mom and their dad.

Dancing into a Lesson

I remember when our youngest daughter was five and starting dance class. They told me she needed three separate classes to be a “well rounded” dancer. At five years old, all we wanted was her to have fun. We didn’t have visions of her dancing on Broadway. They were always appalled that I would just put her in ballet, one day a week, as opposed to adding jazz and tap. I chose the class with the quietest shoes. To add to the insanity, after six lessons, she would whine because she didn’t want to go to class. Yet I continued year after year to sign her up again.

I can only imagine this calamity isn’t unique to our house. How many of you are now dragging your kids to activities you both thought were a super idea back in August, but now the idea isn’t as great?

Balance is Key

Now we have a balance. We don’t discourage our kids from getting involved in school activities, but there has to be a balance between home life and activities. I am not super mom flying with her cape from one activity to another. We spend quiet, and sometimes loud and crazy, evenings at home intermixed with an occasional special event. Life is much easier, and we don’t feel bad about it. We do not have to keep up with any other families. All we have to keep up with is our own family values.

For all of you out there who truly enjoy running and chasing, continue doing what feels right for you. But don’t continue running around like your hair is on fire if you think that your children NEED those activities.

Call us boring, call us selfish, but our idea of family fun is laughing in the kitchen while cooking dinner, telling silly stories after homework and Saturday nights spent playing board games until the wee hours of the night. And when our five kiddos look back at their childhood memories, I doubt that they will feel neglected for missing out on a slumber party or even miss the consolation trophy they would have received from eight Saturdays spent playing soccer.

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