- Will he have more fun going to this particular activity than he would just staying at home and playing?
- Is there anything extraordinarily important about this activity? (Is it a once in a lifetime opportunity? Is it a great chance to learn about something he's shown an interest in?)
- Do I feel that this would be an enjoyable outing for us and a chance to get out of the house (which we occasionally really, really need) or would preparing for it, messing with routines, missing naptime, etc. just bring a lot of stress into our lives?
- Do I feel I have to do this because others are doing it? (If that's how I'm feeling, and the only reason I'm contemplating doing something then it's a major red flag that I'd be happier not doing it. And Mama's happiness is what it's all about. Seriously.)
- Will the needs of the family as a whole still be easily met if we do this? This includes having basic housework and chores done, meals planned, laundry, etc. It's ok to plan time to do these daily things that must be done in order to keep a house running in a non-chaotic manner. It's ok if other things have to go in order to do these things. Taking care of my home and family should be a joy and a privilege, not something I do with my leftover time after running us all ragged.
They've made a difference, these questions. We've chosen to not do at least 5 things on our original summer activity list in the last 2 weeks. And it's been great. Homelife is under control. We've spent more time playing outside (and in Minnesota, we have to make the most of these warm days; they don't last very long!), more time on normal, every day fun things, and more time just plain being together.
I also want to talk about how I'm working on setting up my schedule in a way that takes into consideration my priorities, child development and child stress, as well as actual time-management for the things that must be done, but that will have to wait for part 2, and maybe part 3. :)