Since starting a family, dinner together almost every night has been a priority. Some nights one of us would be gone, but most nights, we would all have dinner together. That is the time that we connect, discuss our days, hash out problems and share our victories. But the last couple months, it hasn’t been like that, and we decided we needed to reclaim our family time.
The oldest three girls started karate earlier this year. We paid based on the number of children and they could go to class three days a week and spar on Saturdays. To make the most of our money, we had them go at least three days a week. It was from 5:30-6:30, so it definitely had an impact on dinner times, but we made it work because it was three days a week.
It got crazier
But then the older two ranked above E and they had class on Tuesday/ Thursday from 5:30-6:30. Which meant we were at karate every week day from 5:30-6:30 and not home until 7. Eating before meant dinner at 4:30 so that didn’t work.
Basically, we turned into crazy, driving back and forth chauffeurs.
We had to figure out who was taking which kids which days and who was cooking dinner.
It wasn’t working for our family.
There were meltdowns. There were unhappy kids. There were unhappy parents.
I guess I thought it was the status quo.
But, I said I wouldn’t have kids that were overcommitted and in too many activities. Yet here I was going through a tank of gas a week to get them there, run home to start dinner, pick them up, run home to feed them, then fuss at everybody to get them ready for bed and bathed. All to to it all over again.
Did I mention it wasn’t working?
We weren’t eating dinner together. We didn’t even have time to go out to eat as a family on a weekday. We had time for nothing else during the week.
We had to get back to us.
It’s only been a week and we are already getting back into our preferred routines.
The kids are happier. They are helping with dinner again. They aren’t as over-tired.
We are back to us.
Mr. Serious is the one that finally urged us pushing the pause button. There can always be karate, but there can’t always be us together at dinner.
What do the girls think?
Before taking our break (for who knows how long), we pulled the three girls aside individually and asked them what they thought about having a break. They all said they were ready for one. “But not forever.” One said she was just worn out. Another said she just needed a break.
I think they had been trying to tell us for a while in their own ways and we weren’t catching on.
Don’t be scared to drop the commitments. Do what works for your family. For us, for now, a break and under-committing is working for us.