One of the things that has continued to surface in my thoughts since reading Love Tears & Autism was that the therapy they decided on for their son’s autism had as a major component the need for their family to slow down.
As I have thought about this further I wonder whether this is advice all parents could heed, not just parents of children with special needs.
I watch families run themselves ragged with school, music, sport and church activities. There is no family time, there is no playtime and there is no ‘relax and find something to do’ time.
It has to be adding to the stress of families and the increasing stress of kids. We expect them to be ready to go, with piano music practiced, sport clothes ready to wear and ready to eat food when we have time to fit it in.
Our family has slowed down a bit this year. I have pulled out of or said no to a number of things that even 12 months ago I would have thought were not-negotiable and I had to do. Apparently I don’t! There is very little I have to do. Most things I do are because I want to, I like to, I feel like I should, etc. None of them are bad things and almost all of them are very good. But none of them are crucial.
My husband has spent a good deal of our marriage trying to convince me that I am not indispensable. Kindly of course, but nevertheless trying to get me to see that the world continues to turn, ministry continues to happen and the Lord continues to work whether or not I am involved.
This year for the first time, I think I have come to believe him.
What it has meant is that I am more relaxed. I am not rushing from one thing to another. I seem to have (a little) more time and patience with the kids. I do less in the daytime to ensure I have time for my family in the afternoons and evenings.
For the moment there are only a few things that I have decided are crucial and that I will keep doing this year:
- Daily bible reading and prayer
- Prioritising time & energy for my husband and my kids
- Keeping the house running (food, clothes, etc)
- Church & a prayer group
It feels like a very small amount to me. But I have decided these are the best things for me at the moment.