The Week in Books 2009, No. 47

As a mother of three young children I often find it difficult to strike a balance between being plugged in with other people and getting too busy. The struggle exists because there is no one right answer on how many activities and outings your family needs or can sustain – different people have different needs and tolerance levels for busyness. I find that with a family of little kids, there is so much busyness in our everyday life that adding too much more on top of it quickly becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and we pay for too much activity with challenging behavior, tears and tantrums (mostly the kids have the tantrums, but I am not immune!). Because I think a lot about the balance between hurrying up and slowing down, I appreciated Ann Kroeker’s thoughtful new book Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families I wouldn’t say that our family is frenzied, but I can see how you could easily become frenzied and spend most of your day in your car shuttling people hither and yon but never really enjoying one another. In her book, Kroeker offers thought-provoking suggestions for ways to evaluate your family’s level of busyness and how that is working (or not working) for your family. Even if you’re currently satisfied with your activities I think you would get something out of the exercise of thinking through your commitments and being deliberate about putting your family ahead of other people’s expectations.

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