You know what? I’m taking it easy and avoiding stress

Over the past few weeks I’ve learned a valuable lesson. In fact my daughters have taught me a lesson about avoiding stress.

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I am going to make more of an effort to avoid situations like this, not just for my family, but for my own well being.

While it gives me no great pleasure to quote from Frozen (ah come on, it’s soooo 2014), sometimes you simply have to “let it go.” It all started about a month ago when Helen decided she wanted to give up her gymnastics class.

While I was a little disappointed she didn’t want to continue with something she had been very good at, Mrs Adams and I weren’t going to force her to carry on. It was also the most awkward of the week’s after school clubs in terms of timings and logistics. While it’s a shame she’s given up, it’s done wonders for the family routine.

A fortnight ago we had an exceptionally busy week. Apart from Friday’s karate club, we had to forgo all after school activities for a variety of reasons. When karate club did come around, we were running late and we got stuck in traffic on the way back from school. This was bad news as I had to collect Helen’s sister before driving straight back in the same direction.

There was no way I was going to be able get home, collect Izzy and and return with the kids on time. It was a very hot day and I looked at the traffic. I could see that our return route was solid, nose to tail thanks to roadworks bringing everything to a halt.

I told Helen I wasn’t going to take her because we’d arrive late. Luckily she wasn’t too bothered. In my head, however, I was doing somersaults because of all the stress I would be avoiding.

I long ago came to realise that the constant toing and froing to after school clubs wasn’t much fun. I don’t think I realised just how draining and stressful it genuinely was.

It doesn’t help that we live in an area that is notoriously hilly. As a result, everyone drives everywhere and the roads are horrendously congested.

Driving anywhere within a five-mile radius is a soul-destroying battle. I love motoring and driving, but I don’t mind admitting, I hate doing so on my doorstep because the roads are so busy.

If I look back on the previous months, there’s been lots of cajoling of kids, trying to get them out the door. Dinner has sometimes been served late and tempers have ocassionally been frayed.

While I find the constant driving an irritation that is merely one cause of my pain. If one child has an after school activity, the other will generally be reluctant to go along so there’s been a lot of dealing with grumpy kids.

Housework suffers, kin keeping suffers and then we all suffer. I simply have to admit I’ve been trying to do too much.

At long last, I’m calling time on all this. The past few weeks with fewer activities have been blissful.  I’ve also noticed Helen spending more time on her homework and she’s been very happily practicing her piano every day (okay, okay, let’s not get carried away: most days).

Here’s what I am going to do. I am going to move Izzy’s swimming lesson from a Monday to the weekend, as it always used to be. The kids will continue to do karate but during the week but that’s it, I’m keeping weekday evenings free for the foreseeable future.

The truth is, I’m not doing this solely for their benefit. If anything, I’m doing it for mine.

I no longer need the hassle and it isn’t good for family life. Sure the kids will get to carry on with activities they are interested in, but after talking about it for far too long, I’m going to take it that bit easier and I’m doing it for myself as much as my family. Sometimes you just have to take it easy.

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11 Comments

  1. June 30, 2017 / 5:33 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing this Hines post. Trying to fit too much in and dash from a-b Ivan be tough not just for grown ups. It sounds that you have a nice balancing act that you are all happy with that. Thank goodness for Swimming st the weekend #ThstFridayLinky

  2. Anthony - Dada & Monkey
    June 30, 2017 / 8:46 am

    I haven’t found “that switch” yet. I literally make myself with stress somedays to the point where how I feel on a day to day basis feels normal. Great post and food for thought.

    • John Adams
      Author
      July 1, 2017 / 5:55 am

      If you do find that switch, tell me where it is! I still haven’t located it. Glad the post gave you food for thought and don’t get too stressed.

  3. July 1, 2017 / 11:22 am

    I’m with you John, I’m all for freer evenings, less schedule, less routine, more living and more downtime. When my kids both could swim to a good level it was a relief to drop that class, then when my son no longer wanted to do karate, I did a silent hurrah! I would take them to whatever they wanted to do, but it is also good to allow them lots of unstructured time so they have the luxury of getting bored. This is where creativity is born. Great post.

    • John Adams
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 5:14 am

      I love that phrase “more living”. This is exactly what we’re doing since we dropped some of the after school activities.

  4. July 1, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    Its a constant balancing act. Mine has been asking to take gymnastics lessons for ages now, but doesn’t want to give up any of the things she already does. There simply isn”t any more time.. We’ve been enjoying having a summer break from all the running around.

    • John Adams
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 5:16 am

      I’m enjoying a break right now…..and I have no intention of going back to the old ways. With hindsight it was no good for the kids or me as I had the pressure to rush them around and get them to the various activities on time. Never an easy job.

  5. July 1, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, I am dreading the days when Cygnet has clubs and extracurricular activities. Life is logistically challenging enough as it is. Thanks for sharing. And, by the way, I think karate and swimming is more than enough. It is really important for kids to be bored sometimes too. Pen x #thatfridaylinky

    • John Adams
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 5:16 am

      Ah yes, children do have to be bored from time to time. In fact, I think its essential. We have a better balance now. Good luck when cygnet does want to start going to clubs.

  6. July 2, 2017 / 8:09 am

    Totally with you on this mate when the older ones played football my weekends were chaos and if I’m honest don’t miss all the running around, although miss watching them play especially my 19 year old she was a very talented player. Enjoy your stress free time mate Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    • John Adams
      Author
      July 10, 2017 / 5:18 am

      Chaotic weekends….yes, I can imagine what you had to go through Nigel. I should have cut back on the evening activities ages ago. now I have done, family life is much less stressful.