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Slowing Down

January 26, 2016
By Shasta Kaselek - Mommy Moments , OVParent

I just wrote an email to a friend that was hard to write.

Every winter for years, we have spent Saturday nights drinking wine, laughing and talking while our husbands and kids skied together. Afterward, our families had a late-night pizza party by a roaring fire. Sounds great, huh? It was. It saved us from the winter blues, and it built lasting friendships.

Today, I had to email her to say that we're not doing it this year. As disappointed as I know she'll be, she won't be the hardest person to tell. My kids will be.

My husband and I have made the conscious decision to slow down the pace of our family life. Our family had gotten so busy that it began to suffer. Do you know what suffered most? Our marriage.

All at once, my husband got promoted (Yay, Husband!) to a new position that required more travel (Say what?), I started homeschooling our two sons and got hired for freelancing jobs, we fell for the crazy mindset that our kids needed to be in every sport and take music lessons and have play dates, and we discovered that our younger son needed months of eye therapy to correct a vision problem he developed in infancy.

When my husband wasn't traveling, we'd divide and conquer in order to get the kids to their activities. I started skipping church, while my husband took the kids so I could complete my freelance jobs. Other couples tackled the busy lifestyle with ease. Then they'd post pictures on Facebook of themselves on trips, at parties and at fundraisers. They seemed happy. Their kids appeared to be well-rounded. It looked picture-perfect.

Not for us.

We became overwhelmed. I resented his traveling. He hated my complaining. Our kids noticed the tension. Things started to spiral. Then one day we looked at one another and asked each other, "How did we get here?"

Before this, I had always been jealous of our family time, careful not to over-schedule the kids, hesitant to agree to too many play dates, watchful that we struck a good balance between family dinners and extracurricular activities. So it was surprising that, within a matter of about six months, we ended up so frazzled. So busy. So disconnected.

Part of the problem was we bought the lie. We thought our kids were missing out if they weren't in every sport. Truth was, our kids were missing out. They were missing out on us. They were missing out on the kind of evenings that only happen when we're all at home bored together - filled with board games, popcorn and movies. They were missing out on creating the kind of family memories that would last long after a touchdown or a homerun or a piano performance.

I can't help but wonder if part of the breakdown of American families is that we are so darn busy, we forgot how to be together in a meaningful way.

Right now, we're still recovering. Our marriage isn't perfect. My husband still travels. Our plates are still full. But we are starting to fix it by slowing down, cutting out activities, taking family walks, talking and doing, well, nothing. We are looking forward to a long, boring winter - together.

- Shasta Kaselek is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her email address is



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