Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Are you overwhelmed with your fall schedule? Do you feel like you are racing from one carpool to the next, dashing to pick up one child before another needs to be taken to a different place? Do you find yourself rushing home to fix a supper that has become a “grab it and zap it (in the microwave) event” before someone has another commitment? Do you secretly long for a “snow day ” when everything is canceled? Does it seem like everyone in your household is crabby and stress is at maximum? If you do, you are not alone.

Today’s culture is full of challenges. Many are obvious but some are so subtle that we can fail to recognize them. One of the subtle ones is the proliferation of too many good choices. There are so many great opportunities for our kids to take advantage of and we are apt to think, If I’m going to be a good parent, my child needs to take advantage of these opportunities.

But let’s get honest. Sometimes we are merely falling prey to parental peer pressure that says that whoever’s child is involved in the most activities is the best parent. And the activities are usually so good—the extra language class, select sports team, orchestra, youth group, community service, dance, etc. And so we sign our child up for one more team. Of course the child begs for this. After all his best friend is playing this sport so he just has to. And now our families are marked by exhausted kids, stressed parents, and an irritable atmosphere. There’s little time for in-depth conversation. We are simply too tired. It’s easy to find we are merely passing by each other as we rush from one thing to the next.

We need to stop and take a long hard look at what really matters and ask the following questions:

Ten years from now will it matter more that we signed our child up for one more team or activity in order to collect one more trophy or will it matter more that we said no to another activity and instead set aside several nights a week to have dinner together as a family to nourish family relationships?

Do we want to collect trophies that will soon be gathering dust on a closet shelf or do we want to invest in family friendships that will last a life time?

We will not be popular parents when we say no. Our kids may pitch a fit. Our friends may think we are crazy. But in the long run we will be investing in what really matters—family relationships—and these take time to nurture.

Let’s guard against parental peer pressure. It’s all too easy to fall prey to it without even realizing it. One day, way in the future, your kids will thank you. And meanwhile if you bravely delete some things from your lives, you will relieve some of the crabbiness in your home.

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  1. I agree with you 100% Susan! My rallying cry for years has been family first! I even asked coaches if it would be a problem when my children miss one game a month because we go on monthly camping trips -they always agreed to those terms. Does it matter now that they missed those games – No. Did they gain from family relationship building because they went camping? Yes. Thanks for your wise words!