Thursday, September 16, 2010

Got to

Help! I've been feeling overbooked lately. More importantly, I feel like I'm overbooking my children which in turn overbooks me.

We want the kids to try whatever comes their way in an effort to make them well-rounded future adults. They might try soccer and decide that it is the love of their life but they never would have known this if they didn't sign up. This means we've signed up for ballet, soccer, softball, basketball, story hours, bible schools, pre-schools, etc. With all the signing up and participation, comes a full schedule of practices, games, recitals, and so on. Not to mention all the opportunities to "camp" in the future--cheer camp, basketball camp, volleyball camp. Even with all the things they are doing now, I continue to get pressure from some people that I've just GOT TO sign them up for this group or GOT TO sign them up for this type of lesson. Everyone thinks that the kids just GOT TO participate in the things that they enjoy but why do I GOT TO do any of it?

At what point does it become too much?

At what point does it become just dragging them from event to event without the time to enjoy what they're doing?

At what point does it erode just hanging out and developing close family ties?

I don't want to become that parent that lives through their children's activities (I've seen plenty of those in the events my kid does). I feel so sad for the children who don't realize that Mommy or Daddy are pushing their dream on them until it becomes their own dream. Long time blog readers know that I have wrestled with this issue before.

I feel like I'm a better, more well-rounded adult because I was allowed to participate in whatever activities I wanted while in school. However, when I was small there weren't as many opportunities to try things. There wasn't a new sport to try every season. I did other fun things when I was little like going to Ohio State football or basketball games but this was done as a family and only sporadically.

Ack! Why don't they clearly outline what to do in some sort of pamphlet when you have a kid? You know, like ballet + softball =ok but ballet +soccer +piano lessons =excessive.

Life would be so much easier.


Jeanne said...

I have no great wisdom for you but here are two things I thought of when reading this post:
1) My siblings and myself did not get to participate in a lot of extra sports or activities as children (4 kids + stay at home mom = little money or time for extra activities). Everyone but me played soccer and we all took piano lessons at one time or another. In HS, we were all in band. I think we turned out pretty normal and well-rounded (stop laughing Anna, I know you are thinking Helen Keller). So, if you are feeling overbooked I think it wouldn't hurt to cut back a little.
2) I worry about this with Natalie too but in a different way. I know that she needs all of the therapies and I certainly wouldn't consider not keeping them going but the schedule does get pretty crazy. Between school, therapies, meals, and naps, she doesn't have much time to just hang out and play - and isn't that pretty much what your job should be at age 4?

Con said...

I agree. And, I think this goes along with your previous post about school. Too much homework doesn't allow a kid to just hang out in the evenings either. If we're busy doing homework, we don't have time to just hang as a family or watch TV together. Or eat dinner together. And, on nights when there is soccer practice, or whatever practice, it's even crazier. I grew up like Jeanne, a bunch of kids and stay at home Mom. We didn't get involved in much, but we did so many things as a family, that we still ended up fairly well founded, I think. At least I sisters are a different story:)

Dawn F. said...

Dustin, now 10, has yet to participate in any organized sports or extra's. He's not even interested in 4-H. I have had many parents look at Terry and I like we aren't good parents because Dustin isn't involved. Our comeback is.... he is just a kid. He hasn't expressed extreme interest in anything yet - well, band starts this year and apparently he may be the owner of a saxaphone (we'll see).

My point is.... if you feel overbooked, your kids probably do to. Give them time to discover everyday things and spend time with family.

It's a fine line.