Putting other fun activities before church attendance and discipleship programs is detrimental to your child as they grow into an adult.
We all must work to make ends meet. But long workdays paired with kids’ sports and other activities make for an exhausting routine. It is easy to crowd out non-essential activities to recuperate from the day, but when your work schedule crowds out time with your family, it is time to analyze your priorities and re-adjust your time as needed. It may not be easy to take a hard look at how you spend your time, but doing so may pay dividends in quality time enjoying life with those you love.
Sure, it is easier said than done. Even with the best intentions, people can work too much, allowing a long to-do list to get longer and feel like they can never catch up. Not everyone can see their schedule taking over their lives until the neglect becomes so bad they find even the simplest family conversation difficult. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you analyze your time. If your life exhibits any of the below signs, it might be time to do some surgery on your schedule by delegating additional tasks and clearing out your overpacked day.
There are signs showing your schedule is becoming a problem, so let's discuss six ways your schedule is overshadowing your family:
1. You Think About Your To-Do List in Your Free Time
It is one thing to have a busy schedule; it is quite another to be thinking about it when you are not at work and should be enjoying physical, emotional, and mental rest. Your body needs to rest at least once a week, and so does your brain. Constantly thinking about your to-do list can cause undue anxiety and stress, leading to a host of health problems. If your list is so long that you're preoccupied with thinking about it during your free time, it's time to clear your schedule.
2. You Skip Important Activities to Make Room for Your Schedule
Families have additional stress due to working long hours to make ends meet and participating in children's sports, drama, and other extracurricular activities. If you find your schedule is so overpacked that you skip important activities like church, small group, or volunteering in your community, your schedule is too busy. Consider activities to which you'll have to say "no" to make room for more important things in life. Your child may not become a star athlete or receive an academic scholarship, but it is important for them to maintain and grow their faith. Putting other fun activities before church attendance and discipleship programs is detrimental to your child as they grow into an adult.
In years past, church was the center of people's lives. Previous generations celebrated Sabbath on Sunday by starting with church and ending with a family meal. The family also went on a Sunday drive to marvel at nature or enjoy God’s creation. You may want to implement this again in your weekly schedule if you find you are not spending enough quality time together. The days may seem long, but the years are short, and soon, your children will be off to college and no longer with you. You will look back on those days and wish you spent more quality time together. Make church, dinner at home, and quality family time priorities in your family's lives. If you are very busy during the week, you are setting an example for your children that this is normal and the way to live. Set the example of a hard work ethic but make room to invest in quality, intimate relationships.
3. You Are Physically Present But Not Emotionally Present
In the movie Click, Adam Sandler plays an overworked father who becomes preoccupied with climbing the corporate ladder. In so doing, he misses out on his family’s lives. He receives a remote control where he can skip seemingly boring or menial tasks to make more room in his work schedule. Once the remote malfunctions, he finds his kids have grown up, he is divorced, and his boss found another employee. He looks back on his life, wrought with physical ailments due to a lack of self-care, with regret and wonders why he didn't make time for the important relationships in his life.
As parents, it is important to be not only physically present but also emotionally present. Make time to listen to your children's conversations, as mundane as they may seem. Practice active listening and ask clarifying questions when appropriate. Your children will appreciate that you have heard them, confirming they are valued. This will set a precedent that allows them to talk to you about hard things in life. Follow up with your child in a few days, asking them for updates on what they talked to you about. Just as you want to be heard and have your opinion valued, your children do as well. This will help them grow into well-adjusted, independent adults.
4. You Don’t Set Firm Boundaries
Boundaries are an important part of a healthy life. If you have trouble saying no to your boss who calls or emails after hours, you will never receive the rest that is important for your health. Set firm boundaries with your boss and other employees who may work on weekends or after your shift is over. Be clear but firm, and let them know you will not be answering the phone or answering emails after a certain time during the day. Technology makes our lives easier, but it can also make our lives more difficult when we abuse them. If you struggle with people-pleasing, practice saying no to people you love. It may seem unpleasant—or even mean—at first, but setting boundaries will bolster your self-esteem and give you the separation you need to keep your family a priority.
5. Your Family Complains You Don’t Spend Enough Time Together
The easiest way to know if your schedule overshadows your family is if they tell you so. You will hear complaints about not being present at sports or school events or that they rarely see you. Instead of making a point to justify your schedule, listen to what they are saying. They complain because they love you and want to spend time with you. Enjoy these moments while they last. There will come a day when your children are out of the house, and you will have plenty of time to work. But you will miss the time you neglected to spend with them. Make the most of the time you have now. Going through a global pandemic has taught us time is short and valuable. The loved ones we have now may be gone at a moment’s notice.
We all get the same number of hours a day, but how we spend them is what counts. Do what you can to work hard in the eight hours designated for work. When you come home, leave work in its proper place—on your desk—and save energy to invest in your family so you can have treasured memories and good healthy relationships in the years to come.
Related Resource: The Famous at Home Podcast
The Famous at Home podcast with Josh and Christi Straub helps you stay emotionally engaged and connected to your biggest fans - the people in your homes. In this episode, we talk about how to let go of "the chase" and refocus on nurturing your marriage and your kids. Click the play button below to listen!
Photo Credit: ©evgenyatamanenko
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.