I know so many families who are frustrated by the busy pace of “family life.” Everywhere I turn, people are complaining and yet doing nothing about it.
And the busyness IS real. You have household errands, school schedules, extra curriculars (which keep you running like a mad man on evenings and weekends), work obligations, birthday parties, extended family events, community/church happenings, and the inevitable “miscellaneous” category. Before you know it, you’re clinging onto that rare free night and playing the ‘ol “hurry up and relax” card. (I HATE that card!)
I see the exhaustion all around. And to be honest, it simultaneously saddens me and frustrates me like crazy.
Question to ponder: Are we the victims or the captains of this messed-up societal lifestyle?
Does a “normal” family even stand a chance to stay sane without having to take the bull by the horns and make a major (sometimes anti-societal) stand against the rat race that’s killing us?
I have found VERY few examples of families who are plugged into “normal expectations” that are also happy with the flow of their day-to-day.
If you’re feeling exhausted as a family and aren’t sure if you need to make some changes, ask yourself these questions…
- Do you find yourselves allowing your attitudes and moods to be effected negatively by the schedule you keep on a regular basis?
- Do you have common goals or visions shared as a family – things that you dream of accomplishing together (besides surviving baseball season), things that excite you as a group, things that are unique to YOU as a family unit?
- Are you able to spend a consistent amount of time together as a family (at least 3-5 shared meals a week)? (If not, you NEED to read this.)
The internet is an amazing tool for finding families who are accomplishing amazing things together. Maybe not coincidentally, I’ve noticed that these remarkable families are finding unconventional ways to unplug from the “norm” I referred to earlier.
Maybe being “normal” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Take the Denning family, for example. Greg and Rachel have five kidlets (as they call them – fun!) ranging in age from 1 to 9.
In their own words…
“We’re explorers, wanderers, dreamers of dreams. We love to Discover.
Committed to family, nomadic on purpose, homeless by choice, we live an unconventional life.
We dream with eyes wide open. And we dream big.
Life is meant to be extraordinary.
We aim to live simply, and escape the mundane.
We believe that life should be amazing! If you only do what you think is possible or reasonable, you cut yourself off from what you really want and all that’s left is a compromise.”
They sound like pretty darn awesome people, don’t they?! Well, you haven’t even heard ANYTHING yet! This young family of SEVEN is currently driving from Alaska to Argentina in a veggie powered truck, sleeping in their rooftop tent along the way.
Read all about their adventure and inspiring example here. (And check out the video interview they did with our friend Baker.)
So, maybe the solution for your family may NOT be an extensive multi-continent crossing road trip. But my question to you is this: if you are one of those people who are unhappy with the pace of family living, are you LOOKING for a solution or have you resigned yourselves to waving the white towel and prostrating yourself before the god of busyness?
“Life balance looks different for everyone. The only constants are that it’s always changing and it’s never easy.” – Jason Kotecki
Don’t give up!
It’s time to start moving towards a solution. A quick way to get a jump start is to sit down together and write a family bucket list. This will give you a great idea of how you are expanding and growing as a family. Here’s a link to the Denning’s Bucket List (aka their Discover.Share.Inspire List) for some inspiration.
If you’re moving towards a solution, you are one step closer to finding it.
Here’s a hint: let your first step be in the opposite direction of normal.
Another awesome post. You described it perfectly.
People ask me all the time, “How do you do it with all those kids?”
I always reply, “We’re just not normal.”
Why are the only options presented here as total submission to suburban madness or nomadic, unconventional world travelers that brag about their dope lifestyle?
My family is both normal and non-stressed/sane. We achieved this through lowered standards: no achievement pressure put on the kid to do extracurriculars etc., just one kid (for 3 parents no less), live in a modest apartment with a few useful things but no excess either way (rampant consumerism or extreme minimalism), etc.
Cruising around the world in a biodiesel van sounds incredibly stressful to me. I’d prefer to chill out at home and play farkle.