Skip to main content

Keeping Up with the Jones's

Jen: As we approach the craziness of a new school year with our kiddos, I am struck once again by how tempting it is to compete with other parents in comparing kid activities. Even when they were in pre-school, I can remember having conversations about where my kids were developmentally and what their achievements were. I can remember how much angst I felt when I thought someone else’s child was achieving more than mine simply because I hadn’t signed them up for enough extra activities. I found myself doubting that we were doing enough to help our children reach their full potential.


The more I’ve lived through hectic seasons of crazy schedules of classes and practices and recitals and performances, the more I realize how much the craziness takes its toll on our lives as a family and especially in our marriage. Trying to make it so I have the best kid brag-rights may be satisfying in the moment, but it does not reflect our closeness as a family. It doesn’t say anything about the way our kids love just hanging out together playing video games, board games, or bouncing around on the trampoline for hours. My kids like each other not because of all the things they can do, but because of the time they spend together, all 5 of them, even with the 10-year age difference between the oldest and the youngest. These are the things that I am beginning to see as my brag-rights.

Nick: It’s no surprise that too much activity wears at our relationship as a couple and our relationship with our kids.  Our kids can become accomplished super-kids trying to make us proud and yet end up alienated in the long run.  We can keep ourselves so busy playing the part of super-mom and super-dad that we aren’t a very super couple at all.  One of the surest ways for us to lose connection is to realize the only time we really spent together today was in a car between one activity and the next.  Better to set limits and take some time to slow down, for example scheduling a low-effort date night at home.  Better to actually be in synch as a couple, especially making sure we get a little time alone to really connect each day.  Better to make sure we go to bed together at the end of the day instead of keeping ourselves busy in our own pursuits or “winding down” from a busy day.

When we reflect on how we try to keep up with the others around us, we realize none of our kids is liable to thank us for keeping them busy all the time.  What will matter to each child is that they grew up in a home that was safe, where family time mattered, and the relationship they saw in their parents was a loving example they could take into their adulthood.



Comments

Other Popular Posts

Great Sex!

Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”
    So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, to be as intimate as possible. Our freq…

8 Misunderstandings That Are Hurting Your Sex Life

Why are we writing about sex again?  Sex in marriage is more important than most people think.  It's mysterious. There are a lot of "layers" and complexities to this whole topic.... read on...

Intentional Marriage -- 50 Ways

"Intentional" is a popular buzzword these days.  We are intentional in the workplace, in the way we handle our finances, our fitness routine, and the way we raise and discipline our children.  The list goes on and on and for good reason.  Intentional means to do something deliberately, consciously or with purpose.  It means it didn't happen on a whim; someone planned for it to happen and persisted until it happened.

10 Stay at Home Date Night Ideas

Date Night has become a household term in recent years and many couples strive to make this quality time together a priority in our increasingly fast paced lives. Throw some kids into the mix (or in our case a granddaughter), and it’s even harder to carve out quality couple time. Not to worry because finance guru Dave Ramsey has come to our rescue with not only a whole host of date night ideas, but most of them are budget friendly. We’d like to highlight 10 of Dave’s Stay at Home Date Night ideas! 

Annual Marriage Tune-Up

A number of years ago, some friends of ours told us about a little trick they use to keep their marriage healthy, strong, and vibrant. Every year, they pledge to attend some kind of marriage enrichment event together. According to our friends, this does not mean weekend getaways to the beach, skiing, or going to a bed and breakfast together.

How to FIX Your Spouse

Does your spouse do anything that absolutely drives you nuts? Would you like to know how to “fix” them once and for all? Read on.

Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Yes, this is a strange twist.  We recently heard about James J Sexton's book, "If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late."  James is a divorce attorney from New York, who started noticing some patterns after 20 years of working with couples whose marriages were ending.

Marriage Manners Matter

"Fine!" and "Whatever!" These 2 powerful words have the incredible potential to bring nearly any discussion to a screeching halt.  They send the insensitive message of "I don't care. Discussion over.  Period. Full stop!"   As married couples, we have probably used these or similar words.  And, if we have raised children we have probably employed time out, taken the car keys or other forms of discipline.

Those 2 little words are not  the focus of this blog.

I Married YOU, Not Your Family

Growing up and getting married means that we leave our family of origin and start a new family.  We’re not asked to forget about mom and dad, but we do need to remember that our spousal relationship is important to take care of because it becomes the solid ground where we plant our new roots.

Come On, Baby, Light My Fire

One reason married couples end up together is because there is a physical attraction between them. Some call it chemistry. There are times when we can’t keep our hands off each other.  We make any excuse to be close, to be intimate.