You thought you were ready for a new school year. But, as you look at all the options complete with promising rewards, you know deep down, that by Christmas time, you will be exhausted. If this year is going to be like every other year, the last few months will be merely waiting for it to be over. The drive to accomplish left long before the semester was over, much less the whole school year. But the pressure is great and the reasons to oblige the demands are real. The good news is, you can combat the exhausting school schedule.
How do we stop being so busy? How can we say, “no” to the expectations?
Let’s look at some possible reasons why we fall victim to the constant demand of activity-driven acceptance. Then, we can determine some steps to take to gain control over that hectic life.
Which camp do you fall into?
The overachiever has an optimistic view. They believe that, somehow, it will all get done and everyone will be happy.
The guilt-driven person has a hard time being honest and admiting that they just don’t want to be obliged to “do it all” in order to be a good parent.
The fly-by-the-seat of the pants person surfs with the flow, believing they can stay on top of the wave and never see the curl quickly coming over them.
The organized planner fills every available moment on purpose. They often become a task-master believing everyone else has the same level of energy and enthusiasm as they do.
The outsourcer not only “outsources”, they believe they have outsmarted the bulging datebook. They could easily end up being disconnected with the child and their desires.
Consider the long term effect.
No matter which camp you fall into, consider the long-lasting effect on the family. The worse part about this is that a child takes on the same drivenness or, at the other side of the coin, a sense that they can never achieve enough.
Children easily develop a “performance-based” sense of self-worth which can affect them for many years after they are finished with school. A lifetime of having to “do it all” often starts with a school schedule that is peer-driven and demanding. The deeper creative piece of the soul gets buried and can stay hidden. The belief that an overloaded calendar is a key to success can begin with the hectic school schedule.
Agree to busyless.
Gather your family together and start the school year with the intention of not only being in control of your extra activities but also saying “no” to many. Involve the children and ask them to share what they think is the most important thing for your family. Guide them with healthy ideas about having a peaceful home or a no-pressure environment, a safe-haven or a home that can be called their “refuge”.
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Less is More
Be courageous and say, “no”. Chose less extra-curricular activities than you thought you would have to do. Learn to say, “no but thank-you” to the numerous invitations to weekend parties and gatherings. Be choosey! Don’t do them all, don’t fall into the trap of having to be at every event in order to stay in the “good graces” of others. It’s ok to manage that part of your calendar too!
The Challenge of Change
Those ideas may seem a bit foreign if your family has been too busy for a long time. Their definition of peaceful may actually be confused with the performance-based life they have already begun. Change can be a challenge but it can be done, especially if the reward is great.
The pressure to want to keep a hectic schedule after school and work is finished for the day is great. Learning how to relax after work is a discipline that will always be ripe for attack. Your purposeful change of pace after work is done will teach your children, by example. It will instill a sense of peace and well-being to your children. Self-worth will always be vulnerable, so give them a strong foundation that they have value and worth, just because God created them. Their worth is not attached to accomplishments.
Have you read How to Stop Being So Busy? It’s the first of this series about how to live a simpler life-a busyless life. Click HERE for the blog.
Include the Whole Family
Determine that your whole family can work together to combat the need to be so busy. Together, you can combat the exhausting school schedule. Choose which extras and weekend events that will keep your calendar clean and your sense of peace nurtured.
Instead, try substituting activities that are more relaxed, such as a lazy evening reading a chapter or two of a book out loud to the whole family or watching a movie of “real” life together. Old-fashioned games and art projects will stimulate creativity and problem-solving. Relaxing and not having to “do” something is very valuable.
Taking time to rest after the work is done is very healthy for you and your family. Instilling the value of “just being” and not “doing” will reward you for years to come.
Besides, too much activity is just plain ole exhausting.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Mat 6:33 CSB