There is a little known fact about the start of school each fall. As hard as it is for children to part with their lazy summer days, evening swims, and lax bedtimes, it's just as hard on mommy and daddy. Suddenly we go from good time fun parents who say, "OK, FINE just this once" on the last scoop of ice cream to drill sergeants who march our kids off to bed at 8 p.m. and limit all electronic time until after homework. Sigh.
The worst part, though, is that we also have to play chauffeur. The fall means the dreaded onslaught of extracurriculars. Every year I say we will do less and every year my kids manage to somehow sign up for three to four things each (if not more). This year it's basketball, yoga, soccer, gymnastics, dance, and karate between the two of them. And while many of those happen simultaneously, thank God, it's still a whole lot of scheduling.
And I know I am not alone.
People with older kids who are more specialized in sports complain about three to four practices per week for ONE sport. My one friend who has five kids spends 80 percent of her evening running around to various pick-ups and drop-offs with her younger kids strapped in the back seat.
It's exhausting. Personally, I know I have the best case scenario as all the waiting rooms have Wi-Fi and my kids are close enough in age to be able to do most activities together.
Still, though, it's hard. Sure, there is a simple solution: Do less. But that's not a solution many parents want to explore. If a person is lucky enough to have the funds for all these activities (they are expensive, after all) AND to have children who want to do a lot beyond video games and butt sitting, then by all means, sign 'em on up.
In a few years, most kids won't want to do 10 things. They will just want to do one or two anyway. The beginning of the year is an exciting time, to be sure. It's a new chance. There are new faces around every corner, and once we get into the groove, I always love being busy. But that momentum after our generally lazy summer is hard to come by. Back to homework, rules, early bed times, and schedules. Sigh.
Do you dread the onslaught of after-school activities?