One thing I’ve found is that the more I do the less focus I have. With five kids and a small business, I need focus. Lots of focus. Several things help me keep focus or restore it when life gets a little wonky, as it’s prone to do from time to time.
First, and foremost, I need quiet time. My quiet time involves Bible study, prayer, and just plain quiet. I do some of my quiet time either before or after the kids are in bed. I also impose a quiet hour every afternoon we’re home. Everyone finds a quiet place to lay or sit, preferably where they can’t see anyone else. I sometimes allow reading, but no music, no television, and no toys. This time isn’t just about me, it also helps the kids dial back their energy level. I’ve found that the faster they go, the faster they go, and by 5 p.m. it’s like a three ring circus. Inevitably, most everyone is shouting and a few are crying by bedtime. No fun. Take a break and save your sanity.
Second, I need family time. When I get busy, I start losing track of my kids and my husband. No, they’re not running out in the street, but I feel disconnected from them. I like to plan something fun to reconnect. It might be a picnic in the living room or a walk together. Just something where we tune out everything else to be a family.
I also make some individual time with each child. With the little ones, I read a book one-on-one and just snuggle together. I might take an older child shopping or to run errands. I pray with each child several times a week. Each one hears me pour out my heart to God on her behalf, thanking God for her, listing her strengths, asking for help for her weaknesses, and praying for specific needs. Those five minutes of prayer connect us like nothing else does.
My husband doesn’t much care for reading a book together, but he is partial to snuggling. My favorite thing to do with him is to go out for a cup of coffee and dessert. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money, but it’s adult one-on-one time. We catch up on non-work, non-family things. We talk about things we have in common (besides kids). You know, like we did when we were dating. I come home refreshed from just that 30 minutes together.
When we are in the midst of toomuchitis, I call a moratorium on anything new. We finish what we have going on and don’t add anything else until we’ve dug out from under the pile of activities. Then, we refocus on what we want to do and how all that fits together. Summer is the perfect time to do this. Instead of plunging ahead into summer activities, take a break and find a focus. Deep breathe. Ahhhh. That feels better.