Parent to Parent

Family First Time

by Patti Hermes

family fun
As we near the end of summer, those Back-to-School sales are enough to incite panic. What about all those projects we planned, but haven’t gotten around to yet? But we haven’t gone to the waterpark yet!

Relax! If you plan out your remaining days, you can still get the most important things done, right? Stop waiting for the weather to cooperate and just go for it. Maybe get up a little earlier, maybe stay up a little later, or maybe, just maybe … relax and enjoy the last few lazy days.

Who says you have to do everything in one summer? Besides, some things can be left for a free-wheeling fall weekend. What? You’ve already scheduled every Saturday for the next ten weeks after school starts? Stop right there. Pick one, or two, Saturdays and Sundays and cross off whatever is filling out your calendar. Just leave it blank (or completely cross it out so you won’t be tempted to fill it in again later).

There’s no rule you have to let your kids’ sports coaches and teachers and Scout Masters and Band Directors have every available weekend in your family’s life. Block out time for you all to do something together that you enjoy, without being “directed” to show up on time and put in your best effort and cheer on the team. Go for a hike, or apple picking, or a bike ride, or a fishing trip. Stay home and make pizza, or work on a scrapbook project together, or just play Monopoly until somebody wins.

Try saying, “Our family has plans this weekend,” and leave it at that. No explanation is necessary. You don’t need to justify spending time together as a family. When the hockey coach emails a last minute additional 4-day tournament, just say “No Can Do.”

Too many families let overbearing teachers throw weekend projects into our lives, obsessive coaches infringe on too many family dinners, and birthday celebrations have to be put off until everybody can squeeze in enough time to sit down and blow out some candles. And what does this teach our children? That the family comes last. Work and school first, because we always make time for that, with sports often next in case somebody might want to turn pro someday. It’s not fair to our kids if we tell them that family is the most important thing in their lives, but then show them the exact opposite.

Take the time, it was yours all along. Instead of putting your family’s activities first, put FAMILY first. You just might like it.

Patti Hermes

Patti Hermes, Parent to Parent, is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at HermesParent to ParentParentingParent to ParentFamily First Time by Patti HermesAs we near the end of summer, those Back-to-School sales are enough to incite panic. What about all those projects we planned, but haven't gotten around to yet? But we haven't gone to the waterpark yet!Relax! If you plan out your...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids