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?