My grandmother shared with me that years ago the words “busy” and “family” would’ve never been used within the same sentence. My mother would chime in to say,” Well these are different times!” My have times changed with many families struggling to find balance in caring, providing, and maintaining to the best of their abilities some form of a loving structure as a family unit. Although our family dynamics may differ many of us can agree that we’re busy parents trying our best within our families.
Here are some helpful tips in navigating as a busy family in making sure every moment and everyone counts:
- Define your family priority list. I love all my family, friends, and loved ones, but I am reminded that my family at home is first over all. I am also a caregiver to my husband who has sickle cell and our daughter living with autism. It’s important to have a healthy balance, establish boundaries, an understanding of your famliy’s resources, and proper time management when it comes to extending ourselves with others. Family comes first. Don’t miss your child’s soccer game for a networking event!
- Schedule family time activities, outings, and downtime together as one. Hold one another accountable in love in making sure each one of you follows through. Have a visual board that everyone in the house can see to plan accordingly to not conflict with work, school, or other outside responsibilities. Our kiddos love to check out our dry eraser board to see what’s happening with the family from day to day. Make it fun with scheduling simple things like a family walk, park day, baking cookies, or movie night.
- Share the chores and household duties. Try not to put all the household chores on one person in the house to do. Just because one parent works outside of the home, and one parent stays at home the responsibilities should be shared. When I was a stay-at home mom homeschooling our children my husband would help out with certain tasks to ease the work load. Now that we are both working outside of the home the house work has to be equally share. The kids help out more as well with the transition.
- Try not to over obligate yourself with piling on unnecessary activities. Life is like a buffet. Just because there’s a lot on the menu for display it doesn’t mean you have to take a sample of everything offered to load unto your plate. I frequently update in my journal what we’re all involved in as a family. We agree to what to accept, what to decline, and what to take off as a family. My husband and I are both active within the community, yet we try to take on projects that are more family centered so we all can share in the experience together.
- Meal Prep is a must. Meal prepping is very helpful for busy families. I can always tell when I’m off my game in trying to rush in throwing something together because I didn’t plan a meal. I can also tell you that eating out as a family of six is costly. Take time to plan your meals a head of time, create a grocery list, and post the menu where all the family can see. Yummy!
- Plan a “No Work Allowed Vacation” or minimize your interaction with what’s left at the office while sharing special time as a family. What’s a real family vacation if you’re constantly checking and responding to emails? What’s a real holiday break if you’re spending quality time planning activities, projects, and PowerPoint presentations? Everyone deserves a break including busy families. My husband and I both speak at various conferences across the country, but there is a time when you have to hit the pause button. If you have to work on assignments for your pursuit of higher education, work, or etc do so after you’ve shared some much quality time as a family. My husband likes to work on projects at night time after the kids are asleep, and I prepare to work on projects in the morning time while everyone is still resting.
Bonus : Make time to share. It’s so easy for everyone to get caught up in their own world in these days and times. Our social media audience, co-workers, and worship family can easliy know more about what’s going on in our lives than those we live with as family if we’re not careful. Be sure take time to share life together in encouraging family dialogue. Share topics at the dinner table with a conversation jar as an ice breaker. Don’t limit interaction to “How was your day? ”
Make every moment count as a family despite hectic schedules. Remember what and who really matters.