We are moms on the go, with to-do lists a mile long, and a house that is probably not as clean as we would like it. It is exhausting to balance all the schedules and extra activities, I mean we barely get a moment to breathe for ourselves, right? So how in the world can it be possible to squeeze in family time in such a busy schedule? It is possible, trust me you can always make time for things you want and need but you may have to give up some things in exchange. Like not attending little Bobby’s birthday party that you or your kids didn't really want to go to in the first place. If family time is what you need you can absolutely get it, here are a few tips to help make that happen.
Organize the Calendar
We all start the new year with fresh calendars and dreams of being our most organized self for the year, or at least I do. But then June smacks me in the face and I can't seem to remember which day it is or what specialty food I was supposed to bring to the kid’s summer program. And that is perfectly okay, as moms we juggle so much that it is easy to be buried under the million tasks of the day. But when you do notice that your schedule is getting out of control take back control by spending 15 minutes in the morning to schedule the week. Don’t stress about the next week or the month, just schedule the remaining week and see where you and your family are going to be. Writing the family schedule down can be helpful in finding those pockets of family time that you may be needing.
Assess Your Calendar
The mom hustle is so all-consuming that you honestly cannot imagine squeezing in one more ‘to-do’ item on your list, even if it's for scheduled family time. But I challenge you to look closely at you/your family’s weekly schedule and find just one time (even if only a few hours) where you can set aside a moment to connect. And not connect over homework or house chores, but truly a time where you are simply enjoying each other's company without the pressures of life. If you truly cannot see a time where you are free then maybe it is time to consider relieving you/your family of some responsibilities. The only way to make quality family time is by sometimes valuing it more than a commitment or responsibility.
Ask Your Family Their Top 5 Activities
Everyone has different ideas of what ‘fun’ is, maybe your idea of a fun activity is completely abhorrent to your partner or kids, and maybe the same vice versa. Asking your family five different activities that they have been wanting to do can make for a fun dinner conversation and give you ideas should you want to plan a day of family time. This is a fun way to connect and know what hobbies or activities your family is interested in!
Only Takes 1 Day!
Way back when, I remember waking up for school, eating breakfast, then getting to the car with my whole family to head to school. I thought it was weird that my dad was driving with us that day, even weirder when we drove past our school and headed for the highway; my mom turned around as we were driving past our school and told us we were actually skipping for the day and headed to Disney! The complete surprise and joy I felt is something that I can still remember today. I had a wonderful time that day; everything was perfect. It really only takes one day to make a difference, and sometimes a day is all you need to get back in touch with your family–but you have to make it happen! It is all too easy to fall into the mindset that nothing will change and our schedules are always overbooked. While that is true, don't be afraid to ditch some responsibilities to reconnect! In the grand scheme of things, your quality family time is priceless.
It's OK to Say ‘No’
Five birthday party RSVPs are waiting to be answered on the fridge, a few text messages asking to meet up for drinks, and a few weekends full of commitments you really don't want to do. All these commitments and invites can feel suffocating. But they don't have to be! Not to play devil's advocate over here, but what's the harm in declining a few invites to parties or expensive happy hours when you just want to be home watching a movie? There are so many trivial things that we say ‘yes’ to because we want to show support and be nice which is amazing! But you and your family's mental/physical health is important and can be helped more by spending time together over attending other activities. It's okay to say no and take time for yourselves, saying ‘no’ to more things can mean saying ‘yes’ to more family time.
Put Screens Down
This goes for you too, not just the kiddos! All the technology and gadgets in the world distract us from the everyday quality time we could be having with our families. Conversation over a TV show can be disrupted by everyone looking through Instagram and while this is a lovely time to decompress it doesn't really open up for connection time with your kids. Implementing no screen time during one night of the week can be a great way to squeeze in more family time. There is a great blog post sharing tips to reduce screen time at home!
The bottom line is that life can get so crazy that we forget to take care of the most important thing in life, family. If you have been missing out on quality time be mindful of it and do all you can to change it. A simple dinner where everyone puts down their phones and just talks about life and how everyone is feeling can be healing. Many things in our lives are temporary problems and we won't remember them in five years, but you will remember the special moments spent with family forever.