When we were anticipating the arrival of our first child in 2015, we both dreaded the time when we would inevitably become busy. It was as if we would have no control or say because around us, it just seemed to "happen" to people once they became parents.
But I remember my friend Delia, a type-A lawyer and ultra-runner who had a "policy" in her home of "only" one activity or sport per child at a time. And that gave me hope.
"Really?!" I inquired, a bit in disbelief.
"Yes! For example, it's girl scouts or soccer; piano or track. The kids get to pick, but it's only one."
At the time I remember wondering if they wouldn't feel as if they were missing out. Now, a few years later, I realize that being over-committed is missing out. At least in our family. If you thrive and get energized with a full social calendar, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you commit to doing something and then instantly regret it (or worse) begin to dread it, it's time to say no.
"Don't double book us." My husband would often say and now, I get it. I love being at our home, together. "Mommy, I'm bored" is amazing to hear every once in awhile because that's when she gets into some really creative (read: messy) play.
I haven't started saying no to events, parties or activities because I don't want to do them. Rather, I just don't want to do too many of them. A few weekends ago, I tripple-stacked our outings, with the best of intentions. I said yes to one thing, and then another and then to a side-business and before I knew it we had plans from 8:30am-7pm with a few hours in between that we couldn't really enjoy.
It doesn't mean that I'm not going to buy tickets to plays (we have two in the works), go to Disney on Ice, keep my side hustle or go to birthday parties. But it does mean that once I commit to something, I'm not going to add on to that day, even if it does sound really fun. It will make what we do more enjoyable, and people will know when I say I'll be there I won't flake out last minute.
Almost nothing feels better than going into the weekend with a clear calendar. If you feel that way too, make it happen! We're not alone in wanting to be alone with our family. Remember, it's a whole movement!
UPDATE: The day after this posting I noticed I only had one thing planned for the entire weekend. So what did I do? Make plans to go to the pumpkin patch, of course! Hey, we're all a work in progress.
Check out this posting on Embracing Simplicity in a Culture of Excess:
Choosing a slower pace and more margin in our schedule