(Day 29): Stop Trying To Do What Everyone Else Is Doing (and do what’s best for YOU!)
You see eight of your other mommy friends anxiously signing up their four-year old’s for the soccer team. But you feel uneasy. Instead of excitement you feel that dreaded pit in your stomach as you wonder if you should follow suit.
The problem is you can’t imagine fitting one more thing into your already packed schedule as you already have your 12 year old signed up for basketball, your 8 year old daughter is in gymnastics, and you’re shuttling them all around to multiple other extracurricular activities they have going on (like youth group and math group study sessions). On top of all this you’re trying to manage your own growing side-business but it feels like it’s managing you. And you rarely have enough time to invest in a date night with the husband on occasion. Not to mention you glanced at your bank account recently with despair as it took a hit with another unexpected doctor bill that popped up.
But, you feel guilty because you want your four-year old son to enjoy some fun with friends and you don’t want to be the only mom in your group of friends not participating. So you sign him up and brace yourself for even more chaos and stress added to your life.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Is the sacrifice really worth your sanity?
What if instead of doing what everyone else is doing because it’s popular or cool or its the thing to do, you actually do things you WANT to do or only add things that make sense to your schedule? What if instead of cramming so much into our already packed schedules we relax and focus on less instead of more? Is your stress worth your child’s minor distress that he didn’t get to be on the soccer team?
You choosing less instead of more might help your stress levels subside if that’s you trying to keep up with the exhausted pack.
I’m all about having kids participate in sports or other extracurricular activities. I’m all about opportunities for growth. I participated in many activities growing up and really enjoyed them. However, I also see looking back, how important it is that my parents had certain boundaries around how much or how many activities or things were added into the already packed day. It was important we had enough time for family time at the end of the day and that they, as parents, weren’t completely drained either.
I don’t know everyone’s situation, and each situation is going to look different. One person’s schedule may seem crazy to you while it works just fine for them. The point it finding a balance that works AND not giving in to the peer pressure as parents or college students to do what someone else is pressuring you to do… conscious or subconsciously.
What is it that YOU, or your child, WANTS to do that FITS WITHIN the current schedule, financial budget, and promotes a steady balance in your life? Don’t strain yourself if the sacrifice is too much.
I want to give you a “get-out-of-doing-so-much” ticket if this is the stress boat you are riding on.
So assess yourself, your life, your family dynamic carefully. Decide what’s best for your set-up. Don’t worry about the pack running in a different direction than you. You may be the inspiration they need to reduce their own stress-packed lifestyle.