5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Family When Life Gets Busy
Several years ago, after being a mostly work-at-home mom for 11 years, I took a full time job outside of the home. My already-busy life became jam-packed. Even though I was certain of my ‘why’ for choosing to work outside of the home, I regretted how busy it made me.
But, nevertheless, I chose that life for a time. I asked to be a full-time-working, grad school student, and home schooling mother. I took on a never-ending to-do list and I subjected my family to the potential fall out when my carefully constructed daily schedule was sometimes rearranged and some things on the to-do list were pushed to low priority status to make room for other things that had a short-term high priority status.
Fortunately, my family responded beautifully to our new lifestyle. I’m grateful to them for their willingness to pitch in and roll with it. My children kept up with their school work and their chores and became a tight little team of super-helpers.
I didn’t expect them to soldier up indefinitely. I had a plan for how long I’d work outside the home before diving into my own business full time. Still, I was filled with gratitude by how my family handled the transition and the next 3.5 years.
I learned a lot about keeping a strong connection with my boys during those few years. It wasn’t always easy, but I’m glad that it’s possible to stay connected to your children even in the busy seasons.
Here are five ways I stay connected to my kids – even when we’re busy.
Make Physical Affection a Priority
My boys are all teenagers now and getting a daily hug isn’t so easy. However, when I worked outside of the home full time, I made a point to hug my boys every single day.
When life moves at a manageable pace, the hugs and the snuggles happen naturally – especially with younger children. However, when you’re trying to get through the door in the afternoon, into the kitchen to make dinner, into the school room to check progress, to the soccer field for practice, and back home to the computer to do more work there isn’t a lot of time for physical contact with my family.
When life was that crazy, I made a point each day, with each of my sons to take time for a hug and a genuine, “How was your day?”, during which I actually listened, with my full attention, to what they said.
Use Technology to Stay Connected With Your Children
When I worked outside of the home, I made sure to text my boys throughout the day. I wanted them to know I was thinking about them. We used video chat technology and even our home’s security cameras to communicate.
I check in with my family throughout the day even when it’s not busy, but these little moments of electronic connection become even more important when we’re busy.
Use Google Hangouts, Skype, or Facetime if your kiddos are old enough for the technology.
Make Time for Simple Family Outings
Family outings create memories during a busy season when the days seem to run together. It becomes important to step away from work and focus solely on the ones I love even it’s only for an hour or two.
Have dinner out, play a game of laser tag, or have a picnic. If you’re busy and broke turn dinner into a picnic at home or take a walk around the neighborhood. The point here is connection and communication – not spending money on entertainment.
Remind Your Family Of Your Goals
Unless your lack of organization is causing your life to be unnecessarily chaotic there’s probably a good reason why your life is so busy. You’re probably working toward goals. You may be starting a business. Your children may be involved in time-consuming academic or extracurricular pursuits. You may be moving or building a home. You might be taking on extra hours at work to meet a financial or career goal.
Whatever is causing your life to be so busy is likely going to benefit your family in the end.
When life got really busy, I reminded my family of the same fact that I repeated to myself each day, “It’s only season; it’s not like this all the time.” And that’s the truth. My job was super demanding from January-June, but July-December allowed for a very healthy work/life balance.
As long as your life isn’t indefinitely busy, there’s nothing wrong with temporary busyness that leads to a better outcome for your family.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I’m not afraid to be unable to do it all. I know what my real priorities are and at the top of that list is my family. There are days when I simply cannot get it all done and being okay with that is healthy for both myself and my family.
In this house we don’t glorify busyness for the sake of looking busy and important. When it’s time to work, we work and when it’s time to relax, we relax. The goal during the busy season is to accomplish the tasks at hand and return to homeostasis as quickly as possible.
If you make connection with your kids a priority you will find time for it. You may sacrifice watching TV or reading fun books, but you have all the time in the world after they’re grown for that!
Remember, the quality of the time spent with your children is more important than the quantity of time spent with them. So, nix that working mom guilt and check out these 7 simple ways to spend quality time with your kids when you’re busy.
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