Time at Home with Your Family: Feel Free to Do Nothing
There seems to be a lot of pressure on parents to take advantage of free time at home with the family to do extra activities. But today, we’re here to tell you that it’s okay for you to do nothing!
Unplugging and allowing yourselves to relax also produces an emotional connection within your family, and it’s important to encourage that. So, if you’ve been stressing out about making the most of your free time, we want to help you take a load off.
Millions of parents around the world have been feeling the pressure. Organizing homework, activities, games, special meals to cook with your kids, endless crafts, family workout sessions, science experiments…
Perhaps in your pursuit of productivity, you’ve also taken time to reorganize your playroom? Or maybe you’ve dusted off old flashcards and educational games and signed up to a dozen educational platforms? If this all sounds familiar, rest assured, you’re not alone. And you’re probably exhausted.
Some thoughts about free time at home with your family
When you have extra free time at home with your family, maybe you’ve gone even further and been striving to care for your mental health with puzzles and coloring books. Or perhaps you’ve been thinking you should use this time to take an online class or study something new.
More likely than not, the following thoughts have gone through your mind as you’ve been social distancing:
- “Maybe I can finally commit to a 7-step nightly skincare routine.”
- “Where should I set my new home workout area?”.
- “Oooh! Now I can finally organize the thousands of pictures I’ve got on my computer that make it run so slow!”
- “I can read so many books now! Where should I start?”
- “This is the perfect time to concentrate on really training my dog to stop barking every time a neighbor walks by”.
- “I wonder what color I should paint the bathroom?”
- “My two-year-old will be potty trained by the time this is over!”
Really, there’s nothing wrong with thinking this way. If you’re a goal-oriented person and you function better with objectives, structures, and limits during the week, that’s fine. But, after just one day of working from home while homeschooling your children, you probably felt as if you were doing something wrong.
If you weren’t able to tick off all your goals for the day, there’s no reason to feel guilty. It’s a common feeling when you haven’t done anything extra with your free time and feel your day’s been a waste. Maybe you’re starting to realize that your dream of turning quarantine into a new year’s resolution boot camp was a little lofty? If so, it may be a good idea to rethink your goals and allow yourself to do nothing.
There’s nothing wrong if you do nothing with your free time
It’s time to give yourself permission to simply survive and enjoy this time with your family. All of those other plans can wait. In order to measure your success, you need to measure your happiness. There’s no need to spend hours and hours with your children doing chores, making crafts, and baking cookies in order to feel you’re doing it right. It’s also important to just sit around sometimes and do nothing.
Your worth doesn’t depend on your accomplishment. Focus on the simple things … are your kids safe? Are they loved? If cleaning out your kid’s closet is what you really want to do, go for it. But if all you want to do is collapse in bed as soon as your kids fall asleep, that’s also fine.
Because when this anxiety-producing time period is over, all you should have to show for it is that your family is safe and happy. Even if your kids didn’t finish every assignment, your craft ideas were a flop, and you lost your nerve when you tried to cook with your family.
And perhaps, when everything returns to normal, you’ll look back on this time as something special. Before you know it, you’ll be back to the daily grind of extracurricular activities, packing lunches, and ironing clothes. And maybe you’ll miss the time when you could do nothing more than spend time at home with those you love.
Your children need you during their free time
Yes, that’s right. What your kids need in order to enjoy their free time is to spend it with you. They don’t need to run out and get craft supplies. There are plenty of things you can do with what you have around the house. And they don’t need to spend every second of every day doing activities. Maybe they want to take a nap or spend an afternoon watching movies with you on the couch. Or maybe they just want to play hide and seek.
The days we spend in quarantine are a time of reflection. Therefore, as a mother or father, don’t feel guilty if you haven’t done everything you thought you’d accomplish during this time. Don’t feel bad if you have to leave some projects for a later date. Is your family safe and happy? That’s all that matters.