This weekend my children participated in a combined six sporting events, a birthday party, and team pictures. And believe it or not that was the toned down version of what was originally planned. It was supposed to be seven sporting events, two sets of team pictures, and two birthday parties, but conflicts and a sick child helped us to lessen our obligations.
Does it sound insane to you? Does it sound over the top? Are you shaking your head? Yeah, me too.
I am not sure how we got here, but to say that my weekend is about my children is an understatement. As much as I love my kids, as much as I want to support their passions and as much as I want to be that Mom who can do it all – I just do not always have it in me.
And I want to know why I am over-scheduling my children and my weekend?
Do you know how many loads of laundry I actually finished – 1.5 (all daycare linens). Do you know how many meals I cooked – 0. Do you know how much time I spent cleaning, organizing, or caring for my home – less than 45 minutes. My husband squeezed in a few hours of yard work and I managed a trip to the grocery store to shop for our home and the daycare, but that was it. Did I get that pedicure I wanted? Ha… yeah right. Did I get to the gym or the shoe store to get those new running shoes I wanted? Nope. Did I finish decorating my son’s bedroom or complete any task I started weeks ago? No, did not happen.
I love that I am able to give my children the opportunity to explore their interests and excel in active fun activities, but it takes a toll. It comes at personal sacrifice and it is truly new territory for me. My sisters and I weren’t athletes. We didn’t participate in organized activities until we were in high school. My mother was not a soccer mom. We played with our neighborhood friends, we rode bikes, we used our imaginations and we had fun, but we were never driven around town to compete. Our weekends were not scheduled.
I am not placing judgement on anyone, but sometimes I wonder why and how I got here. I sometimes ask myself, “what is the point?” Am I a better mother for making these sacrifices and shuttling my kids around? Or am I actually doing them and myself a disservice by not allowing them the luxury of unencumbered time? I don’t have the answer and depending on the day, my opinion definitely changes.
I work nearly 60 hours a week. It’s not sedentary work. It is sometimes stressful and time-consuming. And even though my job is located in my home does not mean I am able to focus on cleaning or laundry during the weekdays. Oh and forget about making quick trips to the salon. I am like any other working mother who has to leave these things for the weekends. So, what happens when almost every moment of the weekend is pre-determined? What then?
My husband and I are both hands-on parents who are just doing our best. We love our children. We are obviously dedicated to them. This is not a “I am doing it all alone” post because my husband and I are both shuttling our kids, standing out in the sun, cheering on the team, chasing the other kids on the sidelines, and then trying to remember to feed them the best we can between games. We are both exhausted and falling asleep 10 minutes into our “alone time” movie at night.
We look at each other on Sunday night and shake our heads because we wish we could call-out of work on Monday (not really a possibility when you own a business). We both wish for more weekend time to catch-up on what we couldn’t finish (or start).
Everyone knows being a parent is tough. Trying to find time to “do it all” is always difficult. Being exhausted and over-committed is not a new complaint. Wishing for more “me” time is universal.
So, what is the solution? Where is the balance? Is the answer as simple as saying “no thank you” to all organized activities? Or do we just push through because these years will pass and eventually we will have more “me” time than we will know what to do with?
The main problem I have is that I want to give all my children the chance to participate in activities and sports equally. If one is involved in something then I feel obligated to enroll the others in something as well. You can imagine how complicated this becomes when you have multiple children.
What do you think? Are you battling this dilemma? How do you strike your balance? Please leave a comment or join the discussion on the Tiny Steps Mommy Facebook page.