I am always surprised with how the first day of September sneaks up on us.
I bet for some or most of your life, it has meant "back to school;" first for you and now (maybe) for your kids.
But even without school, as a parent, I am willing to bet your life has become more full than you could have imagined.... and every September only makes it more hectic and busy.
Between work, involved parenting, managing a household, paying bills, and endless extracurricular activities you probably barely have time to shower and breathe. It will get better someday right? That next promotion or job change will give you more time; when your kids get to the next developmental stage they will need you less; you'll finally have time to do what you've been meaning or longing to do...
But you want a hard truth?
The amount of things vying for your attention will only increase; it is up to you to set your schedule and priorities in line with your values.
While it might seem trivial, September will bring for us a torrent of new things demanding our time and attention...
So what should you do? Take these three steps:
STEP 1 Take 15 minutes, no phone, no kids, no distractions and make a list of your values. Family, Fun, Rest, Church, Vacation, if it's a serious value write it down. Bonus points if you rank them (it can help you decide between competing activities later).
STEP 2, Organize activities and priorities around those values. Is there some stuff you're doing because "you think you should" or "you don't want to disappoint so-and-so"? Are either of those really in line with your core values?
STEP 3 Learn to "say no" (I know it's hard!) to things that make you compromise those activities that fit your priorities. Literally look at yourself in the mirror and practice. "I'm sorry we can't do that; our plate is just too full for that right now."
BONUS STEP 4 Help your kids to learn to do the same. Have them do the steps too. Living in line with their values and not just being "people pleasers" or "social climbers" is one of the most important things you can do.
So ask yourself:
Is family a value that sitting around a dinner table helps you cultivate? Stop compromising it.
Is faith a value that engaging with God helps you cultivate? Stop compromising it.
Is being in a spiritual community a value? Stop compromising it!
Is kindness a value that social media is making it hard to live up to? Unsubscribe.
If you learn anything, it is that regardless of what society tells you, don't let "more stuff" (read September) change your values.
You got this. I'm here if you need me.