Maybe we can pencil you in...

Today after school I had to herd my herd right off of the school bus and into the car. I practically ran them home from the bus stop, dislocated limbs as I yanked backpacks from their little bodies and chucked them in the front hall (where they still sit), threw some fruit snacks at all of them and hauled them all out to the driveway. They were so shell-shocked they were actually cooperative. We had appointments right away and although it goes against my nature, everything I stand for, and my regular habits, I HAD to be on time for them. After those appointments I schlepped them home quickly where the oldest changed out of school clothes and into soccer attire while the youngest two grabbed a quick snack (and the youngest threw a shit fit because I felt that a bag of rice did NOT qualify as a snack and we should NOT bring daddy's empty beer bottles to soccer...) It was so freaking hectic getting everyone out of the car, grabbing what we needed and back into the car in literally 7 minutes I was ALMOST tempted to go do a few shots of Cuervo before heading to the soccer field. Apparently drunk parents at public parks are frowned upon...weird.

As I sit here now, finally mildly relaxed (read: sitting and semi-frantically making mental lists of all I have to do at home)watching the two youngest play happily in the sand (read: one is throwing it and one is rolling in it) and the oldest practices with her team I am so very very thankful that my everyday is not like this. I would be a raging alcoholic. I know of people whose days ARE like this. EVERY.FREAKING.DAY. I don't think I could function, nor could I successfully keep track of appropriate schedules, times, and places. I'd end up with a tball clad kid at karate practice on pee-wee football night.

I just don't have it in me to "schedule" my kids. I am fine letting them participate in sports; obviously as I am currently watching the oldest play soccer. They can do whatever they want...within reason. It can't cost more than a mortgage payment (sorry Sam, no figure skating) and the schedule can't be completely out of control (dance class 4 nights a week?? I don't think so) Last spring my schedule made me want to hurt people as the oldest played softball twice a week, the middle played tball twice a week, and the leftover day I spent drunk. My week was shot. I often prayed for rain so practices would be cancelled. It's not that I don't want my kids to experience stuff like Jazzercise, choir, underwater basket weaving, Chess club, Young Scientists club, recycling club, Bible study, yo-yo group, and competitive yodeling. Bring on the experiences. Just squeeze them into the school day somehow.

I want my kids to have time in their day to BE KIDS. I didn't like our schedule today and I guarantee you, by the time we get home, shove some dinner in them, bathe and bed them all WITHOUT giving them a chance to play..they'll realize they didn't like it either. I can handle it one night a week, maybe even two. But I don't want to have to SCHEDULE time for my kids to be 9, 6, and 2. You look at kids today and they are shuttled from ballet to soccer to the counselor to the dermatologist to jazz/tap combo to the chiropractor and rounding it all out with a stop at the herbologist. WHAT.THE.FUCK???? Kids are way overscheduled. No wonder they have to see a shrink and have early onset anxiety disorders. They've got way too much shit to worry about. A 9 year old should worry about which shirt to wear tomorrow and whether or not she knows all of her spelling words for Friday. She shouldn't be worrying about if she'll even have TIME to study her spelling words in between dance class, therapy, the dermatolgist, and Bible study. I know something is seriously wrong if my kids have more shit scheduled on the calendar than I do. I don't want to have to pencil in time for my kids to ride bikes and scooters, play with neighborhood kids, or just sit and veg out. Kids NEED that. Hell, who am I kidding, I need that. I can't be constantly shuttling kids from one activity to another. Drunk driving is illegal. I realize as they get older and are involved in more, schedules are going to fill up and conflict. Unless I lock them in their rooms, turn them into social recluses, and deny any involvement in any extracurriculars, their schedules will become slightly overloaded as they age. But I'll be damned if I'm going to synchronize calendars on my iPhone for my elementary school-aged kids. The ones who pick their noses, should still get help wiping, and get excited about pudding in their lunch boxes. (ok, so this could be my husband too, but for the sake of example I'm referring to my kids...)

As they get older they'll want to do more and my calendar will fill up whether I like it or not. But for now I want them to be able to have time in their day to unwind and be kids. So in between the once-a-week soccer practice I'm fine with only having reminders of when library books are due on my calendar. Shit, what day is it today????


MamaBear said...
October 14, 2010 at 8:43 PM


i decided a long time ago not to let my kids over-schedule. i felt one activity per child was about all _I_ could keep up with and what's more, i could justify it by being a reverse snob and saying rich folks over-book their kids!

they like it this way now, as they're 13, 10, and 3. 13 thought about football this year but decided against it as he'd never see his baby sister. 10 joined band but doesn't have MANY extracurricular time commitments with that until next year. i can almost keep up with this schedule, and frankly needed a year off after playing school bus for the last year or so.

life will speed up soon enough. let's take it easy and let them take it easy and SAY it's so they can enjoy being children, while they can. because that really is the primary motive, even when i want to make it all about me. :D

Amy Lee said...
October 15, 2010 at 2:05 AM

AMEN! My neighbors on both sides of us are always out and about doing whatever. It's ridiculous. We just moved here in June and I literally don't even know what the 2 girls to the left of us look like. They are 6 and 7 and I kid you not, they are NEVER home. Even on weekends.

My kids know the rule. They can pick ONE activity to do and it can't be too expensive or interfere with school. My boys (13 and almost 10) have picked nothing. I have offered them things, they have turned them down. They are more than happy coming home and just being kids. My daughter (7 1/2) does dance ONE night a week and Girl Scouts twice a month (and that I don't even count cuz it's 1 hour on Fridays.) She is also content with just coming home and playing, but she does love going to her dance class with her BFF.

I also can't stand having a hectic schedule. I hate it. I hate driving around and I'm a cheap ass. I hate wasting gas driving to places.

So yeah, I could have pretty much written this post myself ;)

Angela said...
October 15, 2010 at 11:22 AM

AMEN! I completely agree with you. Kids DO need to be kids! When I was growing up my parents allowed us to be in one thing at a time (at least until we got to High School). It worked out GREAT and I will totally use that "rule" on my kids.

redfraggle37 said...
October 20, 2010 at 6:14 PM could get a teenager that needs an adult in the car to drive them, that way you CAN drink and be a responsible adult? :)

Hilarious as always, much love...

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