When my boys were toddlers and preschoolers, I was adamant that they would only ever be involved with one activity at a time. I didn’t want overscheduled kids.
I still don’t think my busy kids are overscheduled, but maybe I am.
Because as they’ve gotten older, they’re the ones telling me what they want to do (and what they don’t). Plus, they have later bedtimes and can be at activities on their own- I just have to get them there.
It’s the getting them there part that can be tough and makes me feel like my schedule is a bit crazytown. With three kids who each do multiple sports/activities, there’s often overlap. This one’s practice is from 5:30-7 over on this field and that one’s practice is from 6-7:30 over on that track 15 minutes away(this one actually works perfectly as I can drop off one kid, run the other to his practice and do both pick ups- it’s a lot of driving, but okay timing). Then there’s the days when one practice ends at 5 and the next begins at 5:15, somewhere 22 minutes away. Or when this practice ends at 6:30 but someone else’s starts at 6:30 and those two locations aren’t close.
Is your head spinning trying to figure out the planning for that? Or did you just sort of skim through it because it was starting to give you a headache? Welcome to my life.
But, the thing is, even if I told each child they could only do one activity, my guess is that they’d end up keeping the ones that overlap each other’s activities. So while they’d be doing less, I would still be dashing around town in my mom taxi and still arranging carpools anyway. Maybe one or two less days a week, but it wouldn’t cut down that much on the chaos AND my kids would be cranky that they weren’t getting to do the activities they really want to do.
I don’t let them do everything: they can’t physically be in two places at one time so if there’s a time conflict for them, they have to make a choice. But if the conflict comes with an activity for one of their siblings, I try to figure out a way to work it out. I don’t want one to miss out on what he really wants to do because his brother already has something going on that night. And there usually is a way to work it out, especially since other parents are in my same boat and we tend to help each other out.
Their schoolwork isn’t suffering, they’re getting enough sleep, they’re enjoying the activities they’re doing.
It’s me. I’m tired.
I’m not a martyr mom. I’m not one to say oh, anything for my kids, I’ll just put myself last and be okay. That doesn’t work. I’d burn myself out then nothing would get done around here.
But their schedules really aren’t that bad. It’s tiring, but it’s all doable.
Plus, I keep reminding myself these days aren’t going to last. That soon, my boys won’t want to do all the activities they currently do(except maybe the youngest, who might just want to do everything for as long as he can) and that for the activities they do stick with, their practices won’t be something I’ll be at (no, you don’t usually show up to watch the afterschool practices for middle and high school) and that sooner than I can believe, they’ll be driving themselves or each other to where they need to be. My mom taxi will sit in the driveway, not needed.
So, I’ll keep on going with my busy schedule, knowing that it won’t last forever.