“I couldn’t even repeat that back to you.” My friend’s responded to my explanation of our evening plans. The May sun was heating up as we left the green way and headed for the play ground to let our little ones play. We could relax for the moment, but I know that when the school bus pulled in that after noon it was go time.
We don’t do that many activities: one sport per kid, one instrument per kid. Most families with elementary kids are this busy. But it was enough, to fill our evening with moving from one event to other, with just barely time to eat.
Should kids play sports?
I’ve read several articles advocating giving up your child’s sports. Just let them play. It’s better for them. This is good advice for some people. I see them chasing their child around the soccer field, or lecturing them in the dugout.
I’m not that parent. Those aren’t my kids. My kids are the ones jumping up and down with excitement, running as fast as they can, and smiling from ear to ear. I’m the mom watching from from the sand pile nearby where their little siblings are making friends.
We’re keeping the sports. So what to do about our crazy schedule?
How an active family can take a break
There comes a point when the school year and the sports season end. I saw this coming on my planner, and drew a line through four days. When it came time to schedule lessons and therapy, I said, “not that week, the next week.” I bought extra groceries. I didn’t invite any one over. We didn’t sign up for the camp running at the park where we always play. For four days we just stayed home.
For the mom who last year went straight from end of the year party to road trip, this was a big shift.
What happened when I killed the schedule
At first, we were still stressed. We fussed at each other. The kids were sure they were going to die of boredom. Then, the children began to relax. They devoured dozens of library books, played together and began to look forward to our summer activities.My to do list seemed to disappear with no effort. I was already prepared for our summer schedule that started the next week.
When our family slowed down, I began to notice areas where we were failing to instill the values that we meant to give to our children. It also became painfully clear how badly I’ve fallen behind in managing certain aspects of our home, and my own life.
We’re now a quarter through summer break. It’s been busier than any of us would really like. I’m grateful that we had the time to slow down. It prepared us for normal life. I see a week at the end of the summer before school starts with no commitments, I think I’d better grab a pencil and put a line through it.
Summer goal update
I’ve actually done my goals for the past few months, but failed to get them posted. Thanks for being patient. My hope is that by posting from the midst of my life as the mom of four, wife of a grad student, mom of children with learning differences who is getting ready to move, I can give other real moms ideas about how to love real motherhood.
April’s goal:Publish at least twice on each blog, keep up with social media schedule, and book writing schedule!
I totally failed on that. What I did do, was keep up with the book project. Which means my three-year-old had an awesome time doing some activities to share with others.
July goal: Find a group of bloggers who want to work through a book on SEO with me, and apply it to the blog. I’m very frustrated that my STEM education blog doesn’t get more traffic. I need to figure out how to get more eyes on my work before I can feel excited about putting more effort into it.
April’s goal: Keep the main room picked up.
I did it, and it’s been such a relief. However, in the process, I’ve realized that our home is cluttered with stuff.
June and July goal: Conduct a major purge so that we can spend more time with each other and doing things we enjoy, and less time managing our stuff. By the end of the July, I want to have all the extra stuff isolated to one room in the new house, so I can get rid of it during the month of August.
I’ve been reading for inspiration, and I’d love to hear anyone else’s stories about extreme purges.
Self: Excellence from the center out
April goal: Take full stops
This has become a make or break daily habit for me. I look forward to taking a break in the afternoon, and my little ones have learned to stop and rest with me, even if they don’t go to sleep.
(In addition to loving organized sports, my kids don’t sleep much. They do devour salad, okra, brussel sprouts, and especially peas. I won’t judge your diet if you don’t judge our sleep patterns. Deal?)
Our full stop at the transition from school year to summer was also a great success. During that week, I realized just how disorganized I’ve become. When I was a high school and college student, I was super organized. I still like to think of myself as super organized, but it is not reality. I want to get back there.
July goal for self: Take steps to get organized.
1. Empty two years worth of e-mails from my account. The end goal is to completely clean out my inbox. At 1,900 e-mails, my inbox is pretty normal. For me, I do best when I keep something perfectly cleaned out, so my inbox needs to be cleared.
2. Start a monthly habit of organizing photos and other electronic “stuff” once every month. If you’re reading this post, I’ve done it for June. Between July 20 and the end of the month I need to do it again.
Some of my blogging friends are setting monthly goals too! When you’re done reading, I’d love an e-mail or a comment telling me what your goals are for this month.
Mary Anne at Mama Smiles took an even bigger break with her family this summer. I hope we can grow into what describes!