Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crazy Calendar Cure

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If you are like me, life can get so busy so fast you don't even have time to breathe. One day you look at your calendar and you realize that you have completely over-scheduled yourself and the consequences for you and your family will be costly. What to do?

We live in a world where busy is almost synonymous with productive.  If we aren't busy we feel guilty in this culture. Have you noticed that?  I will speak for myself.  I feel validated if my to-do list is long and feel lazy and unproductive if my to-do list grows short.

But sometimes the crazy calendar just has to change. Our families start paying dearly for our over-commitment and so do our bodies. A long time ago, when I was a young mom with 4 kids, I had to make a decision. Would I sacrifice things I loved to do (at church, in the community, even with extended family) for the good of my husband and my children? My answer was yes and I backed out of several commitments at that time which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was difficult but I have never been sorry.

If you have a crazy calendar, may I make a few suggestions to help:

1.  Examine every commitment you have coming up.  Can any be canceled? Can any be postponed? Make any changes you can as soon as possible.

2.  Now look at your long-term commitments...are there any that are just taking too much of a toll on you and your family right now. This doesn't mean giving them up forever.  You may be at a stage where you just can't juggle everything now, but - trust me- that will change.  Kids grow up, careers take a different path, relationships change.  Someday you will probably be able to do it again.

3.  Look at your kids' schedules.  Do they have enough downtime or have you over-committed them, as well? Kids need time to play. It is so important to make sure they are not committed to be somewhere 24/7.  Is there anything that your child is involved in that they just aren't enjoying?  Do you have plenty to keep your kids busy at home?  In our home, we always had cabinets and storage boxes full of craft items, math manipulatives, and games (yes, I was a homeschool mom!)

4. If you just can't possibly make any changes to the weeks ahead, then it is time to submit ourselves to the inevitability of it and to be as cheerful and organized as possible through it.  This happened to me recently when we had a secretary quit in the height of our business's busy season.  Suddenly, I was working more than full-time and still trying to get to soccer games, cook meals, and keep a clean house.  I was totally overwhelmed.  I wasn't always cheerful OR organized, but I tried! And eventually we found a wonderful replacement and I got my life back.  It didn't last forever.

5. You are in control.  A lot of times we want to blame our busy calendars on others, but the bottom line is that we are in control of our schedule.  Oh, there are times - the illness of a loved one, overtime required at work, a car accident - when we aren't.  But, generally speaking, we have choices to make.  It is so important for our families that we make wise choices.

May God bless you as you endeavor to keep your crazy calendar under control.  This has been no easy task for me, but I have a much happier husband and kids when I am not over-scheduled.

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