It’s a beautiful spring Sunday, the first nice day we’ve had in a long time. The kids are riding their bikes in the driveway, I’m burning all the fallen sticks and branches from the last big storm (we’ll use the coals this evening to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner), and Brandon is alternating between playing with the kids and putting away at various outdoor projects that have been waiting for a day just like this one.
There’s just something about being outside in the fresh air, soaking up the warm sunshine, notebook and pen in hand. Time slows down, all the worries and the stress melt away, and that nagging to-do list no longer seems so important. This. This is the simply natural life that we love. The joy of being together, embracing the peace the day has to offer.
It’s so easy to get caught up in all the exciting, good things life has to offer. We can jam our schedules full and run around, busy all the time. Our family has been there – many times. And we get so hectic and stressed that we no longer fully enjoy all these good things we were so excited to add to our schedule. It all just becomes one more thing on the to-do list waiting to be checked off. Hurry up and rush the kids through lunch so we can get the girls to dance class on time. Cut the baby’s nap short so we can get to co-op. The kids are going to bed late because our schedule was too full today…
And then I realize how crazy it all is and how it really isn’t worth the stress. Sure, there is value in each good thing and we enjoy those things. But, when we put them all together, we are not able to truly embrace the good that is offered. And I resolve to slow things down again because it’s days like today that we truly love, that are the most memorable. This past year was an insane year. I fell into the trap, yet again, and added too much. I really began to feel convicted about a quarter of the way through the “school year.” I realized what I had done. But it was too late. We had made commitments. And, so, this was probably one of our most stressful years yet. We participated in a lot of great stuff, we enjoyed it, and we spent most of the year frazzled and burnt out.
I’ve struggled all year trying to decide what to do about next year. We love everything we are involved in but I know we can’t keep up the pace. So, as the year is winding down, we’ve decided to really step back and slow down. After all, one of the major reasons why we homeschool is for the flexibility and lack of stress that schedule can provide. We’ve eliminated almost everything from our schedule that does not absolutely have to be there. And we have said no to a number of things we were asked to add this coming year. That’s not to say that we will do nothing next year except work and schedule ourselves at home. No, we still plan to do quite a bit. But, we will take it one thing at a time. We will add field trips here and there, a family trip to the beach on Lake Michigan, a camping trip, visits to the parks… But none of these are regularly scheduled commitments. We are keeping our schedule as free as possible so that we won’t be too burnt out to fit these things in. We’ll spend the year re-analyzing the goals for our family and re-considering how we truly wish to accomplish those goals. And then, we will assess every commitment, every event, every activity through that lens and see if it will truly aid in accomplishing those goals or if it is another exciting opportunity but will just run us down and veer us off track in the long run. After all, too much of a good thing is never a good thing. It’s time for us to choose the best for our family and stop trying to do it all. All so we can have more days like this one where we are not rushing around an can just enjoy the flow of a simply natural day. I don’t want to miss out on my children’s childhoods all because we were too busy to enjoy it.
What about you? How do you balance all the great opportunities life has to offer? Do you need to pull back and find a balance or does your family thrive on the busyness?