Just Keep the Kids Busy! by Tami Kiser


kiser_tamiWrong, wrong, wrong attitude. Most of us are such Marthas!  As I picked up a couple of my kids at “Strings Camp” this afternoon (where they play the violin and cello), I found myself listening to the other moms:  “It so nice to get the kids out of the house for a while.”  “When this camp is over this week, we are doing Art camp next week.”  “I feel like I am in the car all day driving to this practice or that friend’s house or the pool, but it is sooooo good to keep the kids busy . . .” Hearing all their comments, I felt myself ready to chime in in agreement.  After all, there I was with my children at camp, too.  But something didn’t feel right.  Is it our job as mothers to just keep the kids busy?

Although keeping the kids busy is not so bad in itself, I believe that many of us moms fall into that parenting trap of thinking that keeping kids busy and out of trouble is equivalent to good parenting.

In reality, this is a Martha approach to taking care of our kids.  I use the term “Martha” loosely here to refer to busyness–like the Martha in the Bible. I suspect most of us need to take a more Mary approach in our homes.  What needs and priorities do our kids have?  Are we taking time to meet these or are we just filling their time with activities to keep them out of our hair?

Of course this extends more importantly into our own personal lives.  Do we find ourselves just busying our own lives, going from one task to the next?  When our personal lives are more reflective and thoughtful and our priorities are in order, this can’t help but spill over into the lives or our children.

Copyright 2010 Tami Kiser


About Author

Tami is the author of Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms and the founder of SmartMartha.com. She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband and family. Tami runs the online CatholicConference4Moms, Smart Martha ministry, CatholicFamilyCelebrations.com, CatholicMosaic.com, and teaches dance classes. Thinking like a Smart Martha has helped her to constantly seek to “sit at Christ’s feet” even in the midst of piles of laundry and sinks of dirty dishes.


  1. A great reminder that I think about all the time. I think many of us fight the urge to keep our kids doing and going – wanting the best for them. This summer, I am making a concerted effort to give my kids more down and relaxed time. Maybe allow us to be a little more spontaneous in our activities. Summer is halfway over and we have some amazing memories that don’t come from planned outings or activities.

  2. Maman A Droit on

    What a great way of looking at things! I never thought about extending the Mary & Martha analgy to parenting, but it’s very fitting!

  3. I am not one to overschedule my kids because that means overscheduling myself! It gets too crazy.

    This summer I have watched my 8-year-old and his friends as they do fun things like making up their own “at home” version of the game show “Cash Cab” and building a mini-bowling alley from tinker toys, light sabers, a few boards, and a softball.

    When they get that free time, they have time to get creative.

    I like allowing my son to attend the library’s summer activities, but other than that, he’s not busy with scheduled stuff. My teens are busier–one has field hockey practice for her HS team and my college-bound son is working this summer. But it’s important to let kids have the time to be kids.

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