Guest post by Anne Taylor Hartzell, mother of 2 and Hip Travel Mama blogger
Simplifying our daily routines can create more space for critical family connection.
Imagine your life before kids. Did you ever think you would be spending so much time in your car, running little people to various activities, games and lessons? Maybe you live in a walkable city or neighborhood, so this does not apply to you and your family. But chances are if you are a parent, you spend a lot of time in your car chauffeuring your kids from this activity to that, running errands to everyday places—grocery store, local coffee shop and restaurants. If all this running around has you plotting your next pit stop at the Starbucks drive through, you are not alone.
One in three parents spend 2 days a year in the car waiting for their kids. Did you also know that for every 10 extra minutes you spend in your car per day, you spend 10% less time in your community?
Having a strong sense of community is key to thriving families like ours and I’ve experienced the pull of simplifying our daily routine first-hand. It’s not easy and it may take time to get there. Here are 5 tips to help get you spend less time driving and more time living and connecting as a family:
- Outline Your Current Routine. How far are work and school from your home? How long is your commute today? What places do you frequent? Tally up estimates of how much time you spend in your car on a daily basis. Does this feel good? You should be able to answer this yes or no pretty quickly.
- Prioritize Daily Places. What do you like/dislike about where you live? Your kids’ school? Is your job something you could do at home, or could it be time for a job change? Rank the places that matter most to you and the distance between them.
- Map Out Pros and Cons. Would you consider moving homes, jobs or schools to make more time for the places and people that matter most in your life? List pros and cons of each move based on priorities above.
- Commit to Change. Capitulating won’t buy you more time. Once you’ve sat down and mapped it out, you must commit to taking that next step. It won’t be easy, but over time you will start to see the benefits in your family’s overall sense of connection and sense of relief.
- Make Small Adjustments Over Time. Recognize there are trade-offs to every change and what works for your family now, may not work for you five years from now. Be prepared to make tweaks and evolve your plan as you go.