Dec
03
2010

Alone Time in Busy Families: It Can Be Found!

I’ve been thinking about “Alone Time” lately (thank you, Michael Hyatt, for bringing it up). The following TEDx video is directed toward business managers, but can apply just the same to a busy family. I’ve got some thoughts, but try to watch this video first. It’s long (17 minutes), but moves fast and is worth it.

The concept of Alone Time got me thinking. How can members of a busy and large family get alone on a regular basis to be productive? The children have school work to do, I have a business to run, Wendy has a household to manage — Alone Time? It’s easy to think, Not in this lifetime!

There is an answer: creativity — and lots of it! We’ve managed to make the time. We have obstacles in our way, but with creative thinking, we’ve found our way to make Alone Time. Here are five ways we do.

1. We have “Quiet Time” every afternoon in our home, our creative Alone Time. The children are instructed to read, do homework, work on a project — something that doesn’t call for another’s time or help. On good days, Mom is able to steal a nap!

2. We don’t have much room around our home (the 15 of us live in a 2400 sq ft home). To ease the claustrophobia, I bring some of the children to work with me throughout the week. This is an advantage of being self-employed. We have an entire workroom set up to package orders, and when they finish with that, they jump into homework or other projects. My office is in a church building which remains empty most of the week, so going into another room, if needed, for Alone Time is fairly easy.

3. The garage is no longer mine. Micah has taken it over. He’s our most rambunctious, can’t-sit-in-a-desk child, but his hands-on creativity is amazing. Micah loves spending Alone Time in the garage making all sorts of things, primarily his fiberglass swords. The unspoken deal I’ve made with him is this: He can have my garage and access to every tool in it, and when something needs repairing, he needs to get on it. The honey-do list has been short ever since.

4. My Alone Time is at 5:00 am. I’m enjoying my coffee in my recliner right now, wrapping up the final touches to this post. I’ll post it soon and then move onto other things. I will soon get up, walk the dog to the creek in our backyard, and return for a nice breakfast with my family. The 5:00 am routine is one I’ve been in for 20 years. I love it — it’s the best time of my day.

5. My dear Wendy is the exact opposite of me. Night owl. I’ll bring her coffee after the kids and I are finished with breakfast and the day’s activity gets going. Her Alone Time will be tonight, most likely when I’ve fallen asleep on the couch or something. I know what you’re thinking: When do Wendy and I find Alone Time to make all these kids? Two answers: (1) we’re creative, and (2) any more detail than this is none of your business. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Everyone in the family needs Alone Time to gather their thoughts and be productive, and some need more time than others. We’ve had to get creative in a family like ours.

How about you and your family?

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Brooke

    Alone time has changed for us this year.. My husband and I have 8 children (26-18) we married at 19 and started our family young (we are now both 46). They have all left home now 2 married, 2 boys share a home and the other 1 lives with their partner, our middle 2 children died in a accident.
    I used to be like Wendy, a night owl, love to browse on the net or just chillax in the peace and listen to our children sleep. Alan is like u, up early to have his coffee and plan his day (hes in the army). This year we now have our alone time together we turn the telly off, we listen to some music or just sit here and talk about how happy we are, and sometimes we say nothing but just sit and listen to the night noises. I loved my alone time when the babies were young but I really love my alone time now with my best friend. I miss the children and noise and fun, but, this is also a fantastic time.
    Its amazing how time things change when its just the 2 of u (u guys wont have that for a while), but im loving every minute of it now cause soon we hope to have grandchildren and that will be the next exciting adventure in our life and our alone time will change yet again.
    Mum of 8

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      Brooke, you remind me of my parents! They are enjoying their sunset years together.

  • Abby

    Please don’t tell me someone actually asked you what time “you make” your children! hehe :)

  • sandra

    I like to come upstairs,where I have my computer,while my husb. stays downstairs and watches tv.It gives us a nice break from each other.
    I also like to go shopping alone,esp. the grocery shopping, because I spend less that way! :)

  • Tracy

    Thanks for sharing the reminder (especially during the busy holiday season)
    Mom to 5 (gram to 2)

  • Mary Lou

    When my little one goes down for a nap after lunch and the sun is shining (and it’s over 40 degrees)I try to take a walk. I know there are a hundred things I could be doing in the next half hour, but I need this more than I need to do a load of laundry. It’s a wonderful time to think, pray and enjoy God’s creation. My entire afternoon attitude improves. Of course, I have a teen at home. Not everyone has that luxury.

  • Brooke

    Abby,, I was often asked that question how, when and was any one around ,,, I used to get offended but I laugh now cause I think they must have no imagination… Chris, arent I technically to young (46) to be in my twilight years there has to be a younger word for it lol… Over here in Aus we just get told by our friend.. ‘ you lucky buggers’

  • Brooke

    that should be friends.. we do have a few at last count

  • Tammie

    WOW, my husband and I have pretty much the same schedule ya’ll have. I am the night owl and he is the early bird. We also have to get creative at times to find the “alone time”, but it is there. Sometimes I do feel I am not doing enough as I should be and over do it .. I get too overwhelmed and try to do it all … not getting my alone time in. I was raised alone and am used to being alone, so it is big for me to have it, so without it, I am all off kilter and out of sorts. I just love to have that time to think or sit and wake up by myself.