Back In The Day

*Warning I am tired, and I am about to “date” myself.  Feel free to nod along!

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Piano Lessons, exams and recitals

Dance (Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Jumps and Turns and Acro classes)

Swimming Lessons

Synchronized Swimming

Gymnastics: up to 16 hours per week before she retired and moved onto:

Cheer

Volleyball

Skating

Choir

Band

*Many of these activities?  For both girls, each and every week. 

These are just a few of the things that have kept my girls hopping over the past couple of years.  I sometimes feel as if we live and eat most meals in my car.  The remarkable thing, we have friends who “put us to shame”. With daughters who do all of this plus so much more!  Extra tutor’s, Chinese School, Greek School, competitive soccer and baseball.  Theatre classes and camps.  Singing lessons galore.  Every second of every day accounted for.  Exhausting. 

If we take a quick ride on the way back machine, my extra curricular activity over the course of my entire life looked a like this:

Brownies

Swimming Lessons

Volunteering at the local hospital once a week

I think that’s it?  I played some High School Sports too. 

We did spend every weekend at the cottage, but that sure wasn’t structured.

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I could drive a boat, fish and water ski better than any boy I knew, and I was pretty proud of that, but didn’t have to take a “class” to achieve those bragging rights. 

Here’s the thing.  I was busy, I had fun.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing anything.  As a matter of fact I kind of felt spoiled.  So here’s my question.  At what point did our society decide we had to also go Go GO!  That our babies must have the chance to try everything, do everything be everywhere?  That this is the key to success in the suburbs.  When do our kids get downtime to just….be? 

What side of the coin does your family fall on?  Do your kids have a lot of down time, or are you living and dying by the calendar like I am?  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.



Comments

  1. just nodding my head.

    lol.

    and i hear you on the go go go. we limit our activity intentionally to provide down time just to be together. this season is terrible for busyness as well…

    • Stephanie says:

      One day we will look back on these times with fond memories, remembering how busy we were. Yes I keep telling myself, one day I will be bored :) Trying to enjoy the chaos!

  2. I agree! I purposely keep my boys schedules as open as possible, because life is crazy enough already! Plus, with 2 full time working parents, and me in grad school? My head is already spinning ;)

    • Stephanie says:

      You bring up an amazing point, so important to also carve out some “me” time. Umm do you get that when you are in Grad School? I’m not in Grad School and am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have an adult conversation with my Hubby until after 11:30pm last night. Not good, must bring back the date night, or at least coffee hour!

  3. We go in phases. Football in the fall consumes us, but basketball and tennis later on are less stressful. My daughter rides horses every other week, so I guess we fall more on the side of down time, but as a single, working mom, I couldn’t physically or financially do more!

    • Stephanie says:

      Now you have me thinking I need to start the countdown for summer. That season is our slowest with spring being our worst! All those extra tournaments and competitions means it really does take a village to raise a child. There is no other way to get to everything and get er done!

  4. It depends on the season for mine, my 6 year old is the most active in things right now, the 2 year old is not old enough to be into everything yet, he does swimming lessons. My 18 year olds biggest activity is watching tv, so no requirements for me there. Kudos to you for keeping up with all of that, I feel that I am overwhelmed with just there doctors, speech and language, dentist and other appointments some weeks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Strong point! It depends on the season for us too. I’ve chosen to work from home so we have the luxury of being able to “slow” down in the summer. With the exception of any necessary swimming lessons (not this past summer) one volleyball camp and the occasional Cheer and Dance practice our summer time was our own!
      PS Yes, that really is slowing down for us!

  5. Feeling your carpool pain tonight!! I don’t know when the “switch” happened, but I’m with you and can’t quite figure out when it became necessary to enroll our kids in all this stuff to keep up, but it is!!

    • Stephanie says:

      I agree, we want our babes to have a chance to try everything, and be able to keep up with their friends right? There is a little bit of pressure to allow them to not just to follow their hearts, but to think ahead to making competitive teams in public school, high school and maybe beyond?

  6. I’m somewhere in between. My oldest (8 years old) is currently in swimming and gymnastics, there was some golf and soccer in the summer, and we are looking at ski and tennis lessons (not sure if I can do all of that). My little one is only taking gymnastics class (will be 3 in a few weeks), I was told to start looking for some dance classes ;-)

    I think that the kids need to be involved in different activities to keep them busy, responsible and active, away from you know doing nothing or even worse some really stupid things. They need down time as well, but if they enjoy what they are doing I will support them all the way.

    After a day like yours a bubble bath and a glass of wine are in order ;-)

    • Stephanie says:

      You had me at “keep them busy”. One thing I do love about the busier side of the schedule is that I always know where my kids are and who they are with! So important!

  7. I was always going non stop with my oldest, until he told me he had enough. I have been a lot more laid back with my 3 younger children and this year they are not in anything extracurricular (although that is more due to circumstance than choice). I’m enjoying the break, but I think it is good for them to be involved in something.

  8. joanna garcia says:

    i have not been able to put my girls in stuff like that yet but i would love to have their lives full of extracurriciur activities like yours! i wish i was busy like that when i was young!

  9. Teresa Honores says:

    i am definetly in the gogogo group! i would prefer my kids to be entertained doing something proactive and that they like then sitting at home playing video games!

  10. I have a friend who has been ‘running’ her kids around for as long as I’ve known her; 14 years. She is exhausted…..and I get exhausted just seeing her. LOL.
    We did quite a bit, but were never over scheduled with our girls. BUT, that is way different than my childhood: NO sports, no clubs, no routine…..
    We do the best we can, right???

  11. We only schedule one thing per season. Summer soccer, school year is beavers.

  12. We were go, go and uh, go. And then they grow up and leave for University and it stops. And it’s sad. :)

  13. I suspect the point Society changed to “organized chaos” was when they started filming America’s Most Wanted. Parents want their kids to be somewhere organized vs free range. I didn’t get involved in anything other than piano (1 day a week) and Brownies or Highland Dance (6months), but it was limited to 2 things? . My Mom had 5 children. I refuse Hockey because of the time investment. Neighbours also don’t really seem to talk to each other like our family’s did? I know most of my neighbours, but I don’t spend any time with them, my kids don’t spend any time with the neighbour’s kids unless they are people from the island. The island people all seem to find each other no matter the size of their new city.

  14. Victoria Ess says:

    Wow, I am so impressed by your schedule, and can’t imagine how exhausting that must be. I have two siblings and when I was younger it was very go go go as well. Time to “just be” is definitely valuable.

  15. I really like this post. Back in the Day as title caught my eye immediately. Our kids were kept in activities, we always said they could do, a sport, a musical instrument, and than there were differing clubs over the years. I am glad we did it, but we did not do as much as others. I had very little opportunity when I was young. I think overall we balanced things fairly well.

  16. Judy C (Judy Cowan) says:

    Yes it does seem to be a “go go go” world these days. Kids are so busy that they don’t get a lot of time to “just be kids”. But I also think that as long as the kids are enjoying the activities that they are in than it is okay that they are busy & involved.

  17. Darlene Schuller says:

    I don’t think this really ends until they hit like 12 or 13… then you share the load with more parents :).. they have sleep overs etc.. it can still be a pain in the hind end to try and juggle who to pick up from where and what time and appointments etc.

  18. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    My son just turned 4 and just started JK so we haven’t done the extra curricular activity thing yet. He did go to SportPlay over the Summer though.

  19. wow that’s a packed calendar. i keep mine wide-open.

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