Kids Love Dr. Barton

Family Vacation Time!

by Dr. Douglas Barton, M.D., Pediatrician 06/08/2009

I finally took a vacation with my wife and kids to see my family back in California! It has been a very good time. As I have taken my morning runs and enjoyed the different environment, I have thought a lot about the “Balancing Act” that we are all participating in. You see, my vacation kind of gets to the heart of the balancing act. We get so caught up in all of life’s day-to-day activities and “busy-ness” that we forget the balance. Free time gets lost, stresses increase, “life” gets eaten up day by day.

I’m completely convinced that free time is a matter of priorities. Everything we do is what’s most important to us at the time. “But wait,” you say. “I HAVE to go to work. I don’t have a choice about it!” “I HAVE to make dinner.” “I HAVE to mow the lawn.” (I just had to throw that one in for the few men who can relate to this). The truth of the matter is that you don’t HAVE to do any of it. You CHOOSE your priorities. If living in a nice home with good food and nice clothes is one of your priorities, then you make sure you get to work daily and bring home a good income. If one of your priorities is not missing a moment of your child’s life growing up, then you take careful and good care of your children. If your priority is having a lawn that is the envy of the neighbors (or getting the neighbors off your back if you don’t take care of it), then you mow and take care of the lawn (Just an FYI, I got rid of my lawn with our last move…taking care of lawns was NOT a priority to me!).

Likewise, free time only occurs if you make it a priority. Why do I discuss it as a physician in a “balancing act” blog? I believe that it is at the heart of what causes our relationships to fall apart. When relationships fall apart, the people that suffer the most are our children. Free time, family time, relaxing time…I don’t care what you call it… is the glue that holds relationships together. When we actually have fun together, we bond. Obviously, challenges also bring us together, but the boring day-to-day grind does nothing to bring families close. Free time also recharges our batteries to see life, each other, our jobs, and our hobbies from a more relaxed perspective.

Let me suggest that making free time should be a priority. Take vacations. Walkwith your spouse through the park. Take the kids for a bike ride. Take a look at your hobbies and commit to spending some time on them (ladies, if you don’t have a hobby, get one; then you might understand your hubby’s compulsion). Read a book to your children (They’re too old? Not really). Take it a step further. Come home with an unexpected gift for a spouse. Write a cute little note to your kids or your spouse. Have a good tickle session. Go see some place you’ve always dreamed of seeing with your family. Recharge, reconnect and relax. Isn’t that what the balancing act is really about anyway?



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