We have two kids in elementary school (1st and 3rd
grade) and two "babies" (2 ½ and 8 months) and I will be the first
to admit that we run a pretty tight ship in regards to schedules
and routines. My husband and I both value education and family and
we have focused our time, energy and talents on that. We are strong
believers in Benjamin Franklin's mantra of early to bed, early to
rise, and are usually in bed no later than 10 p.m. A normal evening
in our house is dinner as a family between 5 and 5:30 p.m. and
lights are out for all kids by 8 p.m. on school nights. We know
this is not a schedule that works for everyone but it has worked
This past week I had a PTO meeting after school so
our normal routine was thrown out the window. While we tried to
minimize the impact - slow cooker dinner, daddy at home with the
little ones - not getting home until 6 p.m. ruined our night. The
kids (of course!) had a rare night of homework. Getting it done was
a battle, dinner was a battle and bedtime was the worst. Defeated
and exhausted as I re-cleaned the dining room due to spilled milk
and the after school tornado I
I don't know how other families do it. We had a MTG
after school so home at 6pm. Homework+dinner, kids r a mess. So
The answers varied from "I wish I knew!" to
"routine" but one stuck out:
"most are wondering the same. modern family life is
If chaos is the new modern family routine then get
me my DeLorean, I'm going back! This can't be good for any of us to
be running around like mad, exhausting ourselves and our
And for what?
When I look around and I see stories on the
increase in anxiety and anger issues in children I can't help but
wonder if it's the frenetic pace we are pushing on them as being
normal life. I know my kids are not themselves, lash out in anger
or get anxious when my husband and I are rushing around barking
orders because we're late (again!) or we have something to do
(again!) or some place to be (now!).
It seems that every other week a post is going
stay-at-home moms being burnt out,
tired and over extended. Do you think that
these are being liked, shared and tweeted simply because they are
phenomenally written? No, they are being shared because parents
everywhere are connecting with the sentiment underneath. That life
has gotten busy, chaotic and demanding, and we want off the
Imagine if instead of making these posts and these
words go viral, we made the notion of it all go viral? What if we
started doing the very thing we claim to desire: a slower life,
more family time and meals at a table. What if we made that desire
go viral in our heart, our home, our neighborhood and the world? We
all keep doing so many things and scheduling so many things because
we all keep showing up. We run from one end of town to the other
before collapsing at home in a fit of exhaustion.
Parents, we need to step off this chaotic train and
stop glorifying being busy. We need to set the example for our
children by saying no and modeling boundaries for our family. It's
not easy, trust me. I volunteered almost 40 hours last month. I am
not a good example. But I try. I keep practicing saying no, cutting
back and only doing the things we really love.
I fear what the future will look like for ourselves
and for our children if decide to run them into the ground before
they are even old enough to choose to run themselves. I don't want
to be know as the generation of chaos that imploded from the stress
of self-imposed competition to do it all.
I want to take back my family, one slow step at a
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.
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