You Have to Stay Connected in the Chaos

We are usually a pretty busy family, but February 2014 stretched us in ways we hadn’t experienced before. It almost did us in. In addition to all of the usual things we do (you know food, laundry, school, etc) we had to deal with games and rescheduled games, cancellations, and late starts because of snow, ice, and temperatures in the 20’s here in Dallas-Fort Worth.

A Frazzled Mom

Our four oldest kids were all participating in extracurricular activities during the month. We’ve never had four kids, doing four different things at the same time, in different locations before. To say that February was an education might be an understatement.

So this is what our February looked like. I know many of you can relate.

Our five year old daughter made her first foray into cheerleading. She had the best time and it really helped with her performance anxiety as well. Watching her cheer melted my heart. To see our little girl do something without us is both sad and exciting and for the same reason; she’s growing up and needs us less.

Our six year old son played basketball for the first time this year, which like cheerleading, required weekly practices and games. I’m glad he had fun and am thankful for his patient coaches. He is such a high energy kid so basketball was a good outlet for him…and us.

Our nine year old daughter was in a play for the first time this year. She was part of a local children’s theater production of Narnia. It was so great to see he on the stage. I enjoyed watching her confidence grow with every scene.

This was our first experience with a play and we had no idea how much of a time commitment we were making. Rehearsals started every night at 5:00 pm and were over around  9:30 pm. Which meant that someone had to leave home at 4:00 pm and return at 10:30 pm. We would usually transition kids at the theater (there are two babies to get to bed) or get help from a friend. I felt like some of the best conversations we had last month we three minutes long and in a parking lot

Our eleven year old son plays soccer. Soccer is a three day a week commitment for us. He practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and has games on Saturdays. I love watching him play, I don’t even sit with the rest of the family at his games. They like to talk and I like to watch but with time in the car soccer is an eight hour a week commitment.

So how do you remain connected when you feel like you’re running all of the time?How can you recharge when you feel like you need 30 hour days just to get 6 hours of sleep? What do you do in the chaos?

Here are three things we do to help us through the crazy times.

1. Sing together  

We are a singing bunch in our family. We sing with the music and we sing when there is no music. Not only does the music relax you, but it connects us as well. We are singing together and that’s what matters. I love seeing my kids perform and listening to music facilitates that a great deal.

2. Dance like nobody’s watching

This goes without saying. If you’re going to dance you can’t care what other people say. Family is like that. It’s where you can be yourself without feeling like you have to wear a mask.

Whenever we have a few free minutes, we crank the music and we dance. Dancing allows us to move and laugh. There are few better family exercises than this one. It kills stress, makes us laugh, and strengthens our bond.

3. Do something that requires very little brain power

I don’t mean watching TV together, although that certainly is tempting. I mean doing something that allows you to be present with your spouse or kids. Something that allows you to engage them and not just give them lip service.

One of my favorite memories from the month was when Kayla and I cleaned the kitchen together. The work didn’t require much of my brain and even less of my heart. We just talked and talked. It was without a doubt the longest and most meaningful conversation we had last month. This principle applies to laundry as well. This is like killing two birds with one stone…connecting while getting things done that need to be done.

March seems to be better, but that was before daylight savings time hit us…but that’s a story for another day.

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