It happened. Our overscheduled kids have sucked the life out of us. What sucks more, we can’t say no. Let’s talk about crazy schedules for kids and what to do when you just can’t say no.
Overscheduling the Kids
As a mom to 4 kids, I have many friends and acquaintances who have crazy schedules for their children. It’s dance, church, scouts, sports and what have you. This in the past, has NOT been us. Overscheduled kids are something that our family simply did not participate in. We wanted dinner with the family on most nights. We wanted our kids to have time to do their homework. We wanted to be able to connect with our kids in the living, rather than between practice in the car.Well, guess what? That whole overscheduling thing that we avoided for years, has now decided to bite us in the face. The years of only letting one kid do a sport at a time are over. Previously, we had four seasons and four kids. Each child was given a season – and allowed to choose a sport. Well, that was long before the middle school and high school years, because now – it’s ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME. Well, that was long before the middle school and high school years, because now – it’s ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME.
High School Marching Band
Our daughter is now in high school. She started color guard in middle school, and while yes – there were practices – high school marching band season has introduced us to insanity. Between the money to buy the costumes and gear (let’s not forget the fundraisers and trips) and the time for practices, competitions and football games – we are whipped. Every school morning starts with a 6:45 am practice.
Color Guard Practice
Every school morning starts with a 6:45am practice. There is afterschool practice once a week, where she is at school from 6:45 am until 8:00 pm at night. Then on game days, she is at school from 6:45 am until around 10-11:00 pm. Competition days, she is with the team on the weekends. It’s A LOT.
Winter Guard is Coming
And this is just high school marching band season. Come winter, color guard participates in Winter Guard where they perform at various competitions, minus the band.
As if the craziness of color guard and high school marching band wasn’t enough – our seventh grader decides he wants to act. Great, we say, go do your thing! Well, sure enough, the kid auditions and gets into advanced acting without any previous experience. And with that, we now have a theater kid.
His first performance is in a month, so now our seventh grader is at school from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm with theater. The practices last longer, the closer we get to performance time – soon he will be at school from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm. Overscheduled, much?
When You Can’t Say No To Overscheduled Kids
So here is the deal. With the many changes over the years, the one thing that has become more apparent this year than any other thing in years past is the inability for us as parents to always say no. I would hear parents talk about their overscheduled kids and think, surely they can just take a break. It’s not that easy.
In the past, we would be able to evaluate a schedule and see if it would be best for our kid and our family. As the kids grown, that’s just not an option. The kids can’t miss practice because we have a family thing to do. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule – but they are few and far between. This season we are in of overscheduled kids, but I have to keep reminding myself and my husband that it is good to all of this crazy.
Getting Kids Involved
This may just sound like a bitch session, and it partly is – but at the end of the day, this mom is just trying to stay quiet and suck up this crazy overscheduled season. Why? Because my kids are involved in healthy activities and have great friends and a school environment that is so much better than the one I grew up again. So this mom is sucking it up big time, regardless of the major time suck transporting kids to and from the various activities and the infinite amounts of money that we don’t have but seem to come up with for all the extra things.
I just have to keep focused that these things that my kids are involved with are for the greater good. They are teaching the kids about discipline, being part of a team, responsibility and other various life lessons that they need because soon they will be flying the coop. As parents, we have to continue to remember our job is to prepare kids for real life. We have to be able to open the doors, tell our baby birds to fly and pray that they will be good human beings that are productive members of society. In order to do that, we have to do things that are pains in our arses like marching band and theater.
Before I come off too gripey, I do love my kids and love seeing them perform. I love watching them grow into the grown-ups that they soon will become. It’s just A LOT.
Kids Grow Up And It SUCKS
This blog is now 8 years old. That’s a long time for a blog, and in those 8 years, a lot has changed. I am a mom to 4 kids. The older kids made frequent appearances on the blog back in the day. Then I had 2 more kids, and then those kids made frequent appearances. Well, guess what? They all decided to grow up.Our kids are now 14, 12, 7 and 6-years-old. A long cry from the 6 and 4-year-old that I had when starting this blog. The kids have grown up.
This is a new normal that we are trying to adapt to and it’s insane how quick it all happened. It’s a totally different shift now from the days of trying to catch a breath, changing diapers, worrying about the baby crawling out of the crib. We have a whole new set of worries with school, teens and social media – and just trying to survive their crazy overscheduled lives.
Keep Schedules Simple While You Can
I want to end this with some type of non-bitchy parting wisdom. Here it is. Keep it simple while you can. The one thing that this whole new season has brought to light is that I am thankful for the years that we did keep it simple with our schedules. With our younger two, while we want them to do extra-curricular things, we do it all in moderation. There will be a time where we won’t be able to say no with these younger kids. But for now, we enjoy what we can and connect however possible with the kids as they grow.
With our younger two, while we want them to do extra-curricular things, we still keep it all in moderation. There will be a time where we won’t be able to say no with these younger kids, just like the situation we have with the older kids. But for now, we enjoy what we can and connect however possible with the kids as they grow.
Repeating this because it’s so true – kids grow up and it sucks and it all happens to damn fast.
- The New York Times has a good article on this subject.
Do you struggle with overscheduled kids? Leave a comment!