Dear Barb: I am the father of three children and I feel my life is spinning out of control. My wife, who is a stay-at-home mom, has our children involved in so many activities that I hardly have time to enjoy them. My wife gets to spend time with the kids in the morning and after school. Whereas the minute I walk in the house after work, I feel I’m being rushed because one has to go to this activity and the other one has to go to that activity. I don’t want to deprive my children of opportunities, but what about the opportunity to spend time at home with parents? How can I make my wife understand how I feel?
Steve – North Bay
Hi Steve, I understand where you are coming from. Over-scheduling seems to be a serious problem with children today. I often wonder what happened to just being a kid and learning to entertain yourself. I see this firsthand with my own grandchildren, as every day they are going here and there. Many parents complain that if their children aren’t constantly kept busy they become bored. The downside is if children are always involved in planned activities they will not learn how to enjoy their idle time.
Have you discussed your concerns with your wife? Is she understanding of your position? Perhaps you can reach a compromise by asking your children what activities they really enjoy. Narrow this down to perhaps one activity per child. Although you may not be able to spend time with all of your children at the same time, you will have individualized one-on-one time. Initially your children may protest and claim this is not fair because all their friends are taking Karate, playing hockey, etc. Don’t allow your children to make you feel that you are holding them back. Explain to your children how you feel about spending time with them. What child would not want to spend quality time with their dad or mom?
To make this more appealing, plan one night a week for a family activity. Go for a bike ride, a hike, bowling, or stay home and play a board game.
Take this opportunity to help your children learn how to establish priorities in their own lives. Learning this skill will ultimately help them establish priorities when they are adults and faced with similar dilemmas
Dear Barb: I sent you a question back in September about my father being diagnosed with asthma. I just wanted to thank you for the information. I checked out the website for The Asthma Soceity of Canada. My father and I found the website very helpful. His symptoms are under control, and he feels better than he has for a long time.
Carey – Red Deer Alberta
Thanks for the update Carey. In case others would like to look-up this column, please see The Voice Sept 15 2006 v14 i34.
E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.