By: Jolene Roehlkepartain
We all know the old idiom, When it rains, it pours, and—especially if you’re a parent— I’m sure you can relate! With the busy holiday season upon us, what do you do when your family calendar suddenly becomes jammed? Consider these three ideas to help you slow down and make time for the ones who matter most: Read more >
1. Talk about the intensity with your family—and keep talking about it. Sometimes the best way to get through an intense period is to be aware of what’s happening and do your best to get through. This week, we’ve had “one of those weeks” where everything seemed to happen at the same time: concerts, medical appointments, a family visitor, the need to buy a birthday present and card, the car breaking down, the cat scheduled to go to the vet, and a huge school project that was due. Thankfully, we saw most of this coming by the end of last week. As a family, we talked about how our schedules would suddenly become quite intense for a week. We brainstormed ideas of how to make it through without losing our minds. One of our teenagers suggested we go out for a family dinner at the end of the week to mark our triumph.
Everyday Tip: Rewarding yourself (or your family) with a treat —whether it’s a bubble bath and glass of wine, or a family dinner outing—after an intense day (or week) is an easy way to keep yourself motivated and to ensure you are taking the ever-important time for self care.
2. Prioritize. Ask yourself: What really needs to get done and when? Consider rescheduling less important events for another time. Let your home get a bit messy for a few days and then dig out when your schedule lets up. Talking aloud about how you’re prioritizing an intense, busy week can teach your kids a lot about how to handle stressful times. As kids get older, they’ll have exam weeks, jobs, commitments, and weeks when everything happens at once. If your kids have seen how you’ve handled your own intense times at home, they’ll learn the skills they need to succeed when life speeds up.
3. Work on being present in the moment. When schedules become jammed, it’s easy to get preoccupied, placing all your attention on what could happen or what is scheduled to happen next. Instead, focus on taking a deep breath and being calm. Your kids will notice, and so will you.
Everyday Tip: As you get through a crazy week, ask yourself: How often are these intense weeks happening? If they’re happening only once in awhile, that’s great. If these types of weeks are coming more often and closer together, it’s time to reassess if family members need to rethink their commitments so that everyone in your family can thrive—and that you can also thrive as a family.
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1. Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting (New York: Hyperion, 1997).
2. William J. Doherty, Ph.D., The Intentional Family: How to Build Family Ties in Our Modern World (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997).
3. Image via chintermeyer on Flick’r.