OMG…do you ever find yourself with these fragments of free time (5 minutes in a pickup line at school, waiting for the school bus, waiting at a doctor’s office, your child is at an evening activity)… little bits and pieces of time that are not actually big enough to accomplish anything? This blog is a prime example of my fragmented free time. I am, once again, in the pick-up line, at my child’s school, typing my blog on my phone! My living room is littered with hats and mittens, waiting for a free moment with my family to go through them to find out what still fits and what needs to be given away. Our bathroom project is now past the 2nd year mark (sigh) because every weekend is too full! Everything seems to be done piecemeal!
How did we end up in this situation? Well, for starters, we’re parents! It is no longer just about us. Sometimes, it seems like we are more of an afterthought. Do make time for yourself. Second, we over commit ourselves. Between sports, dance, scouts, PTO, church and school events, there is very little free time. You’re lucky if you have an evening in which you aren’t running off to do some activity. Do yourself and your family a favor, cut back on your activities. Third, there are too many communication channels. If your school is anything like ours, they over communicate! There is e-news, newsletters, Peachjar, Class Dojo, Remind, Seesaw and their folders to name a few. It is almost impossible to keep up! Do talk to your school about standardizing their communication. I can guarantee, you’re not the only parent feeling overwhelmed. Fourth, it seems as though people have more stuff than ever before. If you have so much stuff that you spend all your time cleaning, it’s time to purge. Do declutter your house and get rid of unwanted and unnecessary items.
Free time is a precious thing. It allows us to be ourselves and to pursue our own interests. It gives us time to share our talents with family, friends and the rest of the world. It gives us time to bond with our spouse, children and friends. When was the last time you did something for yourself? When was the last time you didn’t rush to do something or go somewhere? When was the last time you didn’t tell your child, “I can’t. I don’t have time”? When was the last time your kid just had time to be a kid and play? Plenty of activities do provide us and our children with lots of experiences to grow, but think of how many talents and interests we are not sharing with our kids because we never have time. You owe yourself and your family more free time!
Tips for giving yourself more time
- Use a calendar to help keep yourself more organized – As soon as you have a date for something, write it down and throw away the note it came on. It will help you stay more organized and cut down on clutter.
- Stay on top of things – Don’t let things pile up. It can be extremely hard at times, but the more things pile up, the harder those piles become to tackle.
- Google docs – You can work on documents when you are “on the go”.
- Paper plates – Sometimes you need freedom from dishes
- Declutter – Get rid of the unnecessary items and spend less time cleaning! I’m working on this!
- Audio books – As an adult, (unless I am reading kids’ books) this is the only way I read.
- Learn to say “No” – We cannot do everything!
- Set limits on the number of activities for each family member – Too many activities will burn your whole family out!
- Have 1 or 2 evenings each week that have no planned activities – Having some free time to explore your own interests and letting the kids have free play time is a good thing…. And important!
- Unsubscribe from unwanted emails – OMG… I’m trying to do this! I had to create a different account just for school and scouts. My other email account is full of junk!
- Uncrustables, juice boxes and lunchables – Keep these on hand for nights when you are behind, you need to grab something on the go, or you just need a break from fixing lunches!
- Grocery pickup service – I have only done this a couple of times, but it allows me to grocery shop while sitting next to my husband on the couch or letting my little one play on the floor.
Tips for staying connected in a busy world
- Go to church together – Sometimes, this is the only time that I have to reflect…unless the kids are acting up. Additionally, praying together does bring a family closer together.
- Have a Family Night – Every Friday night is our Family Night! We either watch a movie, play a game, play around the house or go out to do a family activity.
- Turn off the phone and other electronics during dinner – Keep dinner for the family! Set the example for your kids.
- Occasionally unplug so that you can’t be reached – A little distance from electronics and social media is a good thing!
- Exercise together – My kids enjoy exercising with me. I don’t always get the greatest workout, but sometimes I get a good laugh watching them try to do the exercises or having them climb on top of me as I try to exercise! Plus, playing with your kids can actually be a workout.
- Clean together – Put on some fun music and get the whole family cleaning.
- Cook together – Cooking and baking together is not only a learning experience, but it is fun bonding time too! My kids have been helping me “cook” since they were 18 months old. A toddler can rip lettuce for a salad, stir Kool aid, or help add ingredients!
- Phone a friend as you do laundry or dishes – It makes the time pass by more quickly and you are staying connected over a conversation versus just on Facebook.