People tell you time goes fast when your kids are young. You smile and look at them like you wish they’d really shut up because your kid just puked on you and you’d really like some sleep. Most moms inwardly dream of when your kids are older.
At least I did.
Then, your kid hits middle school. Time moves faster. Things get busier, and you live on a school year to school year cycle. Carpooling, homework, music lessons, sports practices, and orthodontist appointments consume every moment outside of work.
Every “How are you question?” is answered with a four letter word—busy.
If you’re a mom with teens and tweens, how do you manage the busiest years of parenting that spin out of control? Do you try to do it all as mom, household manager, employee, spouse, volunteer, etc?
I did. At thirty-nine with a high schooler, middle schooler, and two elementary school kids, my do-it-all lifestyle in a high-stress career wreaked havoc. While things looked good on the outside, I was falling apart inside. Stress and emotional exhaustion made me that irritated and angry mom who reacted to my kids.
Something had to give.
In the years since, I’ve learned a lot by making hard choices for a better lifestyle managing busyness during the busiest years of parenting. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
1. Doing it all is pricey. For me, the price was too high. My kids needed a mom who was not irritated, frustrated, angry, and on-edge. Busyness didn’t help my emotional upheaval—it just made it worse.
2. Being pulled in every direction isn’t healthy. Basic parenting is stressful enough. Excessive busyness with non-essential commitments add more layers which pull from your time and energy.
3. You need to know yourself and what you can handle. It was only when I gave myself quiet, reflective moments that I recognized my triggers and exploding stress levels. Self-awareness didn’t immediately happen, but it started when I looked at what was out of control.
4. You need to be okay with you limits. Setting personal boundaries for balance and busyness takes courage, determination, and grit. Everything around you tells you to strive for more, bigger, and better. Giving yourself permission live within healthy limits for you and your family is okay. It may be countercultural in your peer group or community, so you’ll need courage to know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
5. Parenting and raising kids isn’t a race. You’ll get your kids to the graduation stage in the same amount of time whether it’s in a frenzy or at a balanced, peaceful pace. How you get your kids there is more important than what people think of you while you’re doing it. As parents, we get caught up in the here and now more often than the big picture.
6. Your teen needs you. He or she needs you to be emotionally available and physically present at times you can’t plan ahead. When you’re stretched too thin and too busy with non-essentials, you aren’t able to catch moments that are most important. Even though teens look adult-like, they need their parents even more during adolescence.
7. Creating life balance might require change–change of perspective, change of lifestyle, or career. For me, it was all three. Change of perspective brought a change of career, which brought a more balanced lifestyle for me and my family. It was a risk. But it’s been worth it.
For more tips on balance during the busiest years of parenting, check out my new release—Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All. It’s a Christian living book for moms with practical, personal, and faith-based principles for managing busyness during the parenting season. Find out complete information here.
What are your biggest challenges with busyness and family? Comment below and enter to win a free giveaway of Brenda’s book!