When looking at the hustle and bustle of a busy family life it is easy to get conflicted on what the priorities are. For myself, as a single mom, who runs 2 businesses, leads a GS troop, home schools, volunteers at church and keeps one foot in the door at a job I have loved for 20+years I understand BUSY!!! I know we all have different family structures, different demands on our time and more invites to do more than we can possibly squeeze in to a month let alone a day. It is all to easy to crawl in bed at the end of the day and wonder if anything that was done that day will be worth a memory for your family years from now. As promised, we have a few tips for you!
First, learn when to say Yes, and when to say NO. Every mom I talk to will have a different opinion on when you do either. As a mom, a business woman AND a nanny I will admit that I can not, or should not be the one to tell you when to say which. I will however encourage you to be proactive in your life choices. Before you schedule another thing stop and evaluate your family and the needs of each member of your family at THIS moment. Is there someone who needs extra support? Do you have an existing commitment at work or a goal that is requiring extra time? Once we take the time to set our priorities for this season making plans becomes much easier.
I read a book years ago by Patrick Lencioni entitles “The 3 Big Questions for a frantic family” it was one of the best tools I have to date for slowing down the pace of our family life. Taking the time to get super clear on what our families priority was for the next week/month/quarter allowed me to weigh every invite or activity offered against our goal. When I could clearly see what the value was and if it helped us achieve the goal, took us away from it or had no impact on it I could quickly and confidently decide if this was something that I would say Yes to.
Next, look at your family and determine how you want this season to feel. Do you want it to be calm, quiet, serene, reflective and cozy? Do you prefer to feel vibrant, energized, excited and in awe? When it comes to Holiday fun we all WANT to say yes to every party, community event, fun field trip, and excuse to play hooky from adulting and embrace the magic of the season. For some of us the busy crazy fun is exactly what our family needs and wants to feel inspired and energized. For others, it is exhausting, constraining and leaves us feeling overwhelmed. In a world that thrives on “too much” of a good thing be strategic in where you place your energy and what will ultimately leave your family feeling exactly how you want to feel.
Finally, I would invite you to recognize that most of the opportunities we have this time of year are NOT once in a lifetime events. Although we may really love going to a specific holiday party, or catching the Christmas Carolers at the mall or a light show in that one neighborhood, most of those will be around next year. Remember that making memories and putting your family first will allow you to step in to the New Year refreshed, renewed and excited about what is to come. In our home we have years that every day from now until the New year is full of events and activities and we THRIVE on that. We also have years, that staying home and creating a cozy quiet tradition is exactly what we need. We hope you take the time to CHOOSE what it is that will serve your family best this year.