Every time that you say, “Yes” to your kids, you say, “No” to your spouse.
Providing the perfect childhood comes at a steep cost.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in order to pull off Positive Parenting we’re told to encourage our children to try new things and to join extra curricular activities such as team sports.
Yet, based on the best selling book, His Needs Her Needs, How to Affair Proof Your Marriage, by Dr. Willard Harley, couples should spend 15-hours per week together, to have a successful marriage.
In today’s world opportunities are abundant for our children and as parents we desperately want our kids to be successful and experience everything possible. So without thinking twice, we sign away our precious time, in the name of good parenting, and take the state of our marriage for granted.
It’s now the norm to run non-stop until your head hits the pillow at night and feel like you’re not doing enough if you have a slow day.
You see the neighbors mini-van come and go 6-8 times a night and think, sh*t are my kids suffering because we’re not running as hard core as the Jones’?
Some may go as far as to look up the new community schedule to see if they can cram some more stuff into their week to quiet their anxious minds. It’s okay if that’s you, I’m speaking from personal experience.
So do our kids really need so many activities to be a success?
No, the truth is, more often I see teens in my office that are sick of running. They confess that they’ve been in team sports or dance since they were four-and-five-years old and they’re tired of being over scheduled.
Then why do we still feel like we need to do more as parents than we are already are?
The constant stream of advertisements describe Positive Parenting in a way to increase their revenue, “Do everything to provide ample experiences for your kids to ensure future success.”
Next thing you know you commit your weeks away, (now your weekends with traveling sports) and literally have no time for yourself, your spouse, or your marriage.
What gives? When do I know it’s enough or that it’s okay to say, “No” to my kids?
You should aim to be home with your family at least 3 nights during the weekdays, and only give your weekends up to dance finals or end of the seasons tournaments.
Not really. I coached a couple that had three sons, all in multiple extra curricular activities. They were exhausted and their marriage was suffering because of it. They literally didn’t have time to eat one meal together during the week.
I gave them the assignment to slim down their shuttle service schedule to three nights per week (one per child). Leaving the session I could tell they thought I knew absolutely NOTHING about sports schedules.
Turns out they exceeded my expectations…
The husband sent out a mass email to the group of parents for each sport with possible car-pooling schedules. They were able to whittle down their shuttle days to two nights a week!
It may seem like there’s no room for change, try it anyway. You have nothing to lose and time to gain.
Another thing that you can do if your kids are older (and they want to do more than one activity at a time) is to empower them to figure out their own rides. Explain how you’ll fund the sport, but they need to find the ride.
What this action means for your marriage.
Once you slow down and realize that your kids will not suffer if they are not in every activity, and devote that extra time to your marriage, you’ll be amazed by how close you two remain throughout the school year.
Think about this past summer, the relaxing afternoons, BBQ nights in the backyard, or simple cuddle time as a couple at night—instead of running like a couple of chickens with your heads cut off. Amazing right?
You don’t have to be worried about what the new school year brings, you can be excited to do things differently and set the example for the fellow parents.
Show them that you can be an exceptional parent and have a happy marriage.