There is no easy formula to letting go of doing it all. I wish I could tell you to do A+B=C and your stress would disappear! The process of “Letting Go” is different for each person reading these words. My hope is that my story will help you reflect on yours and what changes you may need to make.
Identify the major stressor in your life.
I can not handle an overly busy schedule. Just typing those words make me want to hyperventilate. We have four children. If each child had a different activity on each night of the week, I can honestly say I would have an emotional breakdown. In our family, my husband is the sole breadwinner and works twelve hour days to provide for us. It is my responsibility to organize schedules and transport kids from one activity to the next. In my first post in this series, I wrote about how I have already come to terms with the fact that I simply can not do it all and I refuse to try. My children need a sane mother. My husband needs a somewhat tranquil wife. I have to draw the line at crazy schedules.
My children are not sports oriented kids so we don’t have to deal with sports schedules. They do know what they want to spend their time doing and I try to foster that in a reasonable way. My younger two are active yet are not competitive, so team sports are not their strength. We have found that gymnastics is a great avenue for them to be active and expend energy. I shopped around and was able to find a class on Sunday afternoons that they could both participate in at the same time. Sundays are slow and quiet for us, so an hour in the afternoon to get their wiggles out fits in nicely for us. My son also has Cub Scouts on three Thursdays each month. While scouts has added a bit more chaos to our family as it involves extra planning, hubby and I agree that it is beneficial to our son as he is the only boy in our family. Scouts gives him the opportunity to be surrounded by boys and learning to manage boy friendships. Scouts is also a great bonding time for he and Dad through the Pinewood Derby and camping.
Our twelve year-old enjoys giving her time to her church youth group. This is her activity she has chosen, one evening per week, to be with her friends and grow in her faith. Since this is not something we pay for, I make every effort to ensure she gets to church early each week so that she can have her time of involvement.
Avoiding the stress of a busy schedule is my top priority. In the past, I have signed up and taken on too many roles and positions. Saying no was not in my vocabulary. Now I reserve every right to say no. I am the manager of my own schedule as well as those of my family. If fitting in one more activity would take our family in a direction of busyness and chaos, then my answer must be no. I know my threshold and what I am capable of handling effectively.
When I was a younger mom, I wanted my children to do “all of the things” and participate in activities with their friends. I learned to ask them, “Would you like to do this?” and me hearing them tell me where their interests lie. We then continue to evalutate the benefits and discern what is the best for our schedule.
My children are bored…a lot. We are home…a lot. However, older children do a beautiful job of entertaining their younger siblings and inviting them into their worlds to interact and just “hang out”. My younger children create and play together learning how to effectively handle disagreements and annoying character qualities. They all learn to find enjoyment in just being home and being together. This mom is happy to have plenty of room to breathe and plan for the next occupied space in our schedule. My husband looks forward to coming home at the end of a long twelve hour day and spending time with his family before bedtime routines begin.
Figure out what major stressor impacts your life. What needs to be tweaked or changed to create more of a balance and help you to let go? Lay aside the judgements and influences of others and take inventory of the needs of your family. It has to start from the top down. Focus on what priorities you feel God has placed in your life and figure out how everything you are doing correlates with those priorities. Focus on God’s plan for you and your family and let go of everything else.
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