Thursday, July 21, 2011

Take Back My Family Update

I fear making commitments for various reasons. (This could be the focus of another post.  Or book.) But, I am going to make it a goal to post on Thursdays about my Take Back My Family Project. 
The project officially begins in September, with August being a planning month. The first action item being refraining from signing up for fall activities.  We need our weekends back, and our evenings. We need to rest, recharge, and find room in our dailiness to make space for the inevitable rising of the tides. 
Theories are always easier, well, in theory, than in reality. This first declaration encountered only one major challenger: my oldest daughter. She is very social, very needy, and very demanding.  She does many things, and loves them all.  She is also perceptive and realistic, if not a good time manager, like her mother. She knows she is tired, doing too much, and has little time for unstructured play dates with her friends. She also has not found her “thing” yet, and struggles with the idea of giving up anything.  While trying to make major changes that work for our entire family, I am also trying to honor who she is, be flexible while looking at options, looking at possibilities and spectrums, rather than the ALL OR NONE mentality that comes so naturally to me. 
My husband and other two children weren’t phased by my suggestion.  In fact, my husband agreed immediately.  My son and youngest daughter have generally been less invested in their activities, and generally easier going about anything. They are fast friends, and can play for hours at home, both together and independently.  My fast moving, very active son, much to everyone’s surprise, craves downtime and alone time at home more than anyone. 
A situation has come up where my son’s soccer team is switching clubs and in order to stay on his team, which is very good for him in so many ways, he may be required to play in the fall.  Ugh. 
Already my plan feels like it is slipping.  My instinct is to wholeheartedly say no, we have made our decision, and it is only for a few months. Or to say, let’s do it, we can figure it out. I lean heavy into the All or None Wind, and am trying to find the balance between being completely inflexible, while trying to weigh each family member’s circumstances.  
I question the wisdom and the possibility of changing from  an over scheduled, frenetic, tired, stressed high strung family to a calm, governed by seasons and wind, homemade granola making , peace loving, yogic family, overnight. Also, Pam’s warning about how hard it is on some days to have kids home hovers in the air as I listen to all the bickering and whining while I  secretly check my calendar to count the days until they go to camp. 
I need to remember that the change I want comes slowly and from deep within, not quickly or from the surface.  I also am learning that this is not a one time choice, it is a choice that we will have to make every day, while negotiating the changes and specific needs of all of us. 
We will not be perfect, and will have to constantly rebalance. This is hard as I don’t have yet a specific goal, question, or value to refer to as we are making each decision. I know we need to change, I’m just not sure how to do it. 
Hitting obstacles before even the planning month begins could be deflating. I am surprisingly excited for this first little test. It is like a hike in the mountains, and this is the first little stream we have to cross. It is negotiable, but I have to pay attention.


  1. It's a worthy quest, this thing you are doing. I, too, tend to have an all-or-nothing approach. I wonder why that is? It doesn't really serve me well, but I simply am wired that way.

  2. This line stopped me in my tracks: "I need to remember that the change I want comes slowly and from deep within, not quickly or from the surface."

    I need to remember this too. I am the queen of grand statements, but am less good about focusing on the reason for the change and honoring its spirit if not its letter. For me, at least, it's about focusing on how I want to feel and then trying to make the choices that get me there. But it is so hard, sometimes, when it feels like the world (and soccer clubs) conspires against our resolutions!