Too Much of a Good Thing

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?

19 thoughts on “Too Much of a Good Thing”

  1. I’m happy to say we don’t have too many commitments! Although, my daughter is only 14 months old, and I’m thinking about pursuing a toddler tumbling class for her. *So it begins.* Lol.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Autumn! Yes, it only seems to get crazier and go by faster the older they get. I’m sure she’ll love the tumbling class. So fun!

  2. Nice post. I homeschool as well and I love the flexibility it gives us to slow down and enjoy the simpler aspects of life. We still have quite a few moments where we get caught up in everything but being able to recognize that, say its time for a break, and have the freedom to do so is awesome.

  3. I know the feeling of a schedule that is too busy all too well. I have also learned to create open space where we have nothing scheduled so we can just be in the moment and not feel like we need to rush off anywhere. I like how you mentioned examining your family goals to see what really aligns and what doesn’t!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Bri! Making sure what we are doing meets our short and long term goals as a family has really helped us to refocus and be more selective in order to not drown ourselves.

  4. Wow, I definitely understand where you are coming from. It’s great to be so involved with living life, but sometimes you are missing out on enjoying the life you live! I encountered this overwhelming feeling earlier this year. I was working two jobs working 13 hour days and going to school full time. It just became too much! I ended up leaving one job because it began to clash with what I want out of life.
    Those perfect moments that you describe are awe-inspiring. It’s as if everything has fallen into place for that time and all is right with the world. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Ohh how this has been on my mind a lot! I think that we as a society over schedule our kids and ourselves WAY to much! I truly believe in “let them be kids” and having more unstructured play and learning.. especially when they are young! And more family time and less running around like chickens with our heads cut off!

  6. I realize this post is kind of old, but I wanted to tell you I really enjoyed it! I’m not a homeschooler, but I try to keep my kids’ schedules as clear as possible when they get home in the afternoon. We do Saturday morning sports, and that’s it. Free time to spend with the family is such a blessing! If you ever want to talk camping, I’m your girl!

  7. Our family is so guilty of this! We’ve really tried to cut back on extra activities and make it a priority to spend time at home, but it doesn’t always happen. We usually say yes to activities no matter what, but as the school year approaches we are planning to schedule at least two evenings that are “off-limits” and set aside for family time. Hoping we can stick to it!

    1. That’s such a great idea to have scheduled family night! I hope you are able to stick to it, too! It’s amazing what an impact those times spent as family can have!

  8. We have developed a family mission statement, and with my health challenges it has pretty much narrowed our opportunities to what is most essential and most important to us. But, with that missions statement it makes it easier to zero in on what’s important to us and what we’re trying to accomplish. I should write a blog post on it, but hadn’t thought of it until now! 🙂

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