to Relax...and Sing
by Lisa M. Roberts
Friday night at the Roberts household
is "Take Time to Relax" night. With weekends being
just as busy as weekdays for us, if we don't make relaxation
mandatory at least once a week it just won't happen.
- I first got my inspiration for
Friday nights from a little book I bought for my daughter long
ago, called (naturally) "Take Time to Relax" by Nancy
Carlson. It's about two parents and their daughter who are busy
every day, every night, weekday-in and weekend-out. Their "enriching"
lives include cooking, aerobic, tennis, swimming, computer classes
and more, in addition to their career and academic obligations.
Saturdays are filled with chores from dawn to dusk and by Sundays
they are all pooped out to move.
- It isn't until this family is
snowed in -- and absolutely can't go anywhere -- that they "take
time to relax," enjoying each other's company...plain and
simple. The book served as a warning to me not to sign my kids
(or myself) up for too many activities, less we grow apart rather
than together as the years pass by.
- EPs in particular need to be cautious about
warding off activity overload. Because we work at home and are
physically on the homefront, the temptation to volunteer for
our children's school events is strong. While it's great to take
advantage of our physical locale by attending daytime school
events (such as plays, concerts, holiday parties, etc.), we should
be careful not to lead up too many of them if the time commitment
will compete with our income-producing activities.
- For myself, I have taken the
year off from all volunteer commitments for the first time in
ten years. Even so, my kids are as busy as ever (even AFTER dropping
Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts from their schedules). My daughter
(age11) attends religious class, piano and basketball, plus she's
involved (by choice) in community service, sign language and
a math team. My son (age 8), has religious class, piano and basketball,
plus "Odyssey of the Mind." Between these after-school
activities, homework, dinner and bedtime rituals, we have a no-TV,
no-computer-games during weekdays house rule to keep them focused.
- Which brings me back to our
Friday "Take Time to Relax" tradition of a video, pizza
and no-shower-tonight policy. By week's end the kids are more
than ready to veg out in front of the TV screen, and lately I've
hit on a treasure trove of entertainment I'd like to share. Old
movie musicals. Nothing beats clean, simple fun (OK, I admit,
my husband purposely doesn't come home from work until the closing
credits of the so-called "family" movie, but the rest
of us consider it fun!). To top it all off, Saturday morning
chores now have a new sound that will be eternally etched on
our collective family memory. I mean, which one of us will ever
- "Mess maker, mess maker,
make me a mess!" (from Fiddler on the Roof's "Matchmaker,"
sung by the older kids to their little brother Thomas); or "If
you want your Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La-La and Po...just leave everything
to me!" (from Hello Dolly's opening song, with "TeleTubby"
names stuck in to fill the can't-understand-what-she's-saying
void); and "What's playing at Rox City? I'll tell you what's
playing at Rox City! A guy meets a doll and trips on his shoes,
that's what's playing at Rox City!" (from Guys & Dolls
signature song, another improvisational version); or "Melissa....I
just met a girl named Melissa..." (from West Side Story's
"Maria," the day after my oldest son met the new girl
down the block...)
- This week, try a musical on
your kids for size. See how it fits. After all, with such entertaining
musical interpretations that could last for months, filling the
house with cheer and chuckle, what more can you ask from a Friday
- Lisa Roberts is the mother of four,
owner of The
Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC and the author of How to Raise A Family &
A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business
(Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of her book are available for
purchase at EP