I’ve always said I wouldn’t be that parent who pushes my kids into too many extra-curricular activities. “They will only have the option to be in 2 or maybe 3 activities,” said The Magic Mama, 10 years ago.
But here we are juggling two activities which could each be considered 3 activities on their own – Cub Scouts and 4-H. Additionally, Pickle’s baseball practice begins in mid-March (the older kids started practicing a week ago – it’s JANUARY and a summer league.) In the summer will be juggling Pickle’s baseball games, Willis’ t-ball games, getting animals broke to lead, 4-H projects ready for the 4-H fair, swim lessons and let’s not forget Cub Scout camp. That’s not to mention baling hay and all of the other tasks that come with farming. The summer will come to an end with showing at fairs and football practice. Then school starts, a new year of Cub Scouts begins along with football games and a new year of 4-H. And, we made Pickle give up playing basketball and Willis playing soccer this winter. Let’s not forget there’s a third child being shuffled in the middle of all of this.
Recently, I’ve been feeling burnt out. It might be that I’m anemic again or the continuous loss of friends and family members. In the last two years we’ve lost three of our own grandparents, my step-dad, both of my sister-in-law’s moms (both from cancer and at young ages), my mom’s neighbor who watched me grow up, a friend from high school and a friend who lost her 4 month old baby. Between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 2nd of this past year, my younger sister-in-law’s mom lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, our next door neighbor lost his mom and a friend who was just married on Dec. 11th, lost his 47 yr old mother-in-law to a massive heart attack. Then three days ago an old friend/acquaintance was killed in an accident. After all of that you start you realize you’re getting old and time is precious. You start to question, is this REALLY suppose to be happening at age 33?
We spend so much time running around, fighting because we’re late and can’t find this or that. I’m questioning if it’s worth it and what is the point? It’s kind of like my favorite line in the Cars movie…”instead of driving for a good time, we drive to make good time.” Where’s the enjoyment and family time?
The irony behind it all is we can only be faulted for saying no. Not for pushing, persuading or even offering these activities. So I wonder are our children in these activities because they really want to be involved? Or, is there a new-age version of peer pressure among kids these days? In which case we really can’t complain.
While reading a blog the other day I was enlightened. It was another mom who had recently made the choice to home school. She had all of these dreamy expectations which I’ve had myself. Those expectations were quickly thrown out the door and replaced with meeting new children. She began to learn things about them that she never knew existed….she was able to spend more quality time with them as a teacher and they had more time for traditional play.
So besides their extra-curricular schedule, what do I truly know about my children? As I try to answer that question I will continue to reassess how we spend our individual time and more importantly, how we should be spending our family time….in extra-curricular activities or at home playing Farmopoly?
So last night was Pickle’s monthly 4-H meeting and I left the evening yearning to be a young 4-H’er again. Pickle choose his club because it was his daddy’s…which I think is pretty sweet. The club meets in a nearby town, out of our school district, where my hubby grew up. I lived there for 2 years but have lost touch with many friends. We are both meeting new people and I’m re-connecting with old acquaintances. Last night, while riding in the fanciest semi-tractor he’s even seen, he finally got to know his first two ‘friends.’ Yay!
The meeting was called to order, treasurer’s report, minutes, etc…then came the demonstrations. The boys went first since they were headed out to see the semi. The first little guy made electricity from a potato…way neat! The next demonstration was the ice breaker to one of Pickle’s new friendships. A demonstration about firearms. I’ve never seen the boy so focused and attentive. (At the last meeting his other new friend did a demonstration about trapping…a rapport was immediately built.) Then the guys took off and the girls stayed behind to hear one more demonstration from a little gal who was making brownies. My mind began wandering and reminiscing. The club to which I belonged was all girls. Lots of demonstrations on baking, quilting, sewing, knitting, arts and crafts, etc… One of the best ever that I think about often as I bake, giggling as I go, was a how NOT to do a demonstration on baking cookies.
Two girls worked together…one demonstrating the proper way to bake – hair tied back, hands washed, ingredients prepared, recipe in hand, correct measuring utensils, etc… The next demonstrator had dirty hands, hair dangling in the batter, chomping on some gum which was then accidentally dropped it in the batter. The gum was picked up followed by digging a dirty finger into the batter for a taste test. Yum-no! The final scene had the audience rolling when she ‘borrowed’ (without asking) baking soda from the other gal. As they fought over the box, it opened sending soda flying everywhere, some landing in the bowl, a puff in the air and an unrehearsed covering of the ‘not-so-proper’ baker’s face. I was hilarious! (If I don’t say so myself.) We had a blast doing that demonstration! I had a blast in 4-H and credit those years for the person I am today.
Now, back to reality…the brownie demonstration came to a close and it was announced that a local florist would be teaching the girls about flower arranging…my heart went pitter-patter. I had forgotten how much I love to arrange flowers. A little known fact you probably don’t know about me is that in college I took a semester course on flower arranging. It came in very handy for our wedding. I did the arrangements for the reception. If only I could master growing the flowers.
I’m no green thumb…in fact, I’m more of your purple, black and pink thumb variety that’s been hit by a hammer. I pretend to be a gardener who designs beautiful landscaping around my matching wrap around porch and home. If you’ve talked to my neighbors, you’ll understand why I should just stick to arranging the flowers and not growing them.
After watching the florist make up a couple different arrangements, each girl made their own. As I watched the girls go crazy over the flowers it made REALLY want to have a little girl. It was so much fun to see them squealing with delight. Unfortunately, the meeting did need to come to an end. What better way to conclude the workshop with the throwing of a wedding bouquet! What fun we had! The girls left with smiles on their faces and an arrangement in their hands.
I left running for the truck so I could get home and look online for open floral assistant positions. You, know, in my free time.
Oh, and the boys had a great time too. :0)