I have a bad habit of getting entangled in unnecessary projects and commitments. They ultimately don’t serve me, and I end up sloppily unencumbering myself when the wisest course of action would have been to avoid the entrapment to begin with.
Some of the best parenting advice I can think of is to seriously plan which projects, relationships, and other commitments you will let go of once you start raising children. Of course, until you jump into parenthood, you’re not going to be exactly sure of what you can handle. And this will also change over time. But it is really smart to start thinking about your priorities before you bring children into the mix. Most of us have too much to do, yet we continue forward assuming it will all work out somehow once we have the baby.
But failing to plan is planning to fail. Ask me how I know.
Less is more. If you get through a bunch of daily or weekly tasks just to check the boxes off, check again. Did you benefit from each and every one of those activities, even a little? If not, let go of the ones that no longer serve you.
My kids think I’m always working, because they often find me at my computer. But sometimes I’m just there doing mindless activities out of habit. I don’t want my kids to think I’m working all the time when I’m really just distracted. So although social media is not a formal project of mine that needs to be cut, I’m slashing the time I spend doing it nonetheless.
And finally there is the guilt. We think we need to cram our days, and our kids’ days, full of activities and community events and enrichment programs. The reality is that none of these things are necessary to raise happy and healthy children in a supportive family environment. Some of these activities can actually prove counterproductive. We can do more with less.
I was with a bunch of friends and colleagues the other day for brunch, and we all chatted about where we went this summer. I was the only one who didn’t have a big family trip this summer. However, I did mention the couple of spontaneous day trips we were able to plan. Those were really fun, and we couldn’t have done them if we had booked airfare and hotels to go somewhere way out of state or out of the country months in advance. That’s the way we like it.
Time to remove the dead weight from your life. Open up to an open calendar, and see how your family thrives with unstructured time and unplanned days.