If your life is as hectic as mine there comes a time when you just have to say no to that one extra activity, birthday party, or class. I can usually fit most everything into the schedule, but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. This is okay, though. While we obviously want our children to be well-rounded so that they become independent, self sufficient adults who actually contribute to society, every activity is not an essential. If you’re anything like me you don’t like to say no to your kids, but sometimes you just have to in order to keep your sanity.
I have a few rules in my household for my kids’ activities:
- If family members are coming over then any and all other activities are halted during that visit. Since we don’t live near our families it is a treat to have them visit, no matter how long. Family time is absolutely top priority and all other activities are dismissed during that time. The good thing for us is that we do live so far away from our families that they have to make plans to come see us and generally give us pretty advanced notice (so it can go on the calendar).
- Church activities and sports commitments are usually next on the priority list. These are usually items that are on the calendar continuously every week or month and the dates and times rarely change. These come first. For my kids church activities are top priority, and then karate; although, they don’t always make it to karate if other things are going on. I try to schedule other functions outside of these times, but it isn’t always possible.
- If it’s not on the calendar then it doesn’t happen. My kids know that they have to give me advanced notice to get something on the calendar (i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc.). If the time comes for the activity and it isn’t on the calendar then it isn’t happening.
- First come, first serve. If one of my children has an activity and then another one brings an activity to me and I just can’t get both children to both activities, then the child who brought me the first activity is the one going. This doesn’t happen too often, but every once in a while it does.
Usually these rules will help to eliminate my schedule from being too overly hectic; although, I am still on the run from morning until night with activities for my children, which I am more than happy to do. When I do have to say no to one of my children I do feel bad about it, but I also explain to them that we just can’t fit it in. They really don’t ever complain about it, either, mostly because they know that they get to go to a lot of other activities.
I am not all alone in getting my children to activities, though. My husband doesn’t work a traditional Monday – Friday work schedule, so when he has a day off during the week he definitely helps me to shuttle kids around to designated activities. This helps tremendously in making my life a little easier; however, I understand that this isn’t always the case in every household.
For me, having everything on my calendar (with reminder alerts ahead of time) is essential in remembering where everyone is supposed to be and when.
As a working parent, how do you stay on top of your busy schedule?