The Joneses are stressed, but you don’t have to be, too!

Last week I was catching up with a friend, discussing the new school year. While chatting, I was surprised to hear the detail of her daughter’s extracurricular activities. It was so full, we could scarcely find a night to have the two families together for dinner. She justified the enrichment, like many parents, as simply the way to keep her child well rounded. My advice to the mother was to be careful not drive her own-self crazy, in the process of attempting to keep her daughter exploring all her possible pursuits.

Now, I myself was blessed to have parents that let were financially and physically able to let me seek out sports and hobbies that interested me. I had a very good experience trying new things, honing some lasting skills and solidifying lifelong passions. Giving your child the option to find what they enjoy and what they excel at is a wonderful gift we can give them. It also can be an area that can overtake our lives quickly, and cause immense family and personal stress. Finding a balance is the key to keeping a family flourishing, kids excited, and parents at peace.

Some people love to be busy, and if that’s you, run with it (literally!). I am in no way against getting involved in our community and in recreation. As dedicated parents though, it’s easy to get caught up in the illusion that if we are filling our lives with commitments, then somehow we are doing the best for our kids, and their future.  I don’t completely disagree, because some kids do thrive in that environment. But be comforted, that driving across town constantly isn’t the only mark of a great parent. Making sure our kids have downtime, and allowing ourselves as parents to have uncommitted spots in our schedule can be even more beneficial to our families than being part of an Olympic development team.

Take the time this week to examine the schedule in your home. Are you always pushing your kids out the door, feeling rushed and frustrated by your deadlines?  I’ve always instilled in my children the mantra that, unless something serious arises, you follow through with things you have already committed to (not to mention, I’ve paid a lot for that I’ve time!).  I do not endorse quitting things because of lost interest. I do however stand for the health of the mental and physical well-being of families. Being too busy, and feeling that it is the duty of raising kids to fill their schedule isn’t always best.

Being able to invite a family over for dinner unplanned, to sit down and read with your kids, and to be able to play a game by the fire are all things that often get swept under the rug of our demanding days.  Don’t be afraid to drop a sport the next time sign-up comes, to say no to extra practices, and to scale back on the run-around.  It is okay to not “do it all.” Don’t feel guilty for taking time to slow down your family. Giving yourselves the opportunity to relax and enjoy unexpected moments actually could be the best thing you do for your child’s future, and for your sanity. Don’t feel obligated to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, be dedicated to keep up with your own family, and find more peace and time for connecting with each other in your day.

About Heidi Morris

Rochester Hills mom of three. Loves life, loves family, loves to share new and interesting things with everyone. Contact her today at

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