The overscheduled mama

It’s September and everyone is back into the swing of things. Alarms are set and early morning routines are back on rotation. Moms are busy packing lunches, grabbing last minute school supplies, emailing paperwork, and of course signing up for activities.

This is where it gets tricky. I find that parents often want to put their kids into everything. We always have the best intentions and want our kids to have fun, be social, and of course try new things. But sometimes, we become overscheduled. Parents and kids alike are doing a lot. Most kids I know have one, if not two seasonal sports on their lineup, dance classes, art classes, piano practices and play dates all on their calendars ready to go. My friends and I will often be caught saying, “Well, I want my kids to try everything and when they hit middle school they can decide what they want to keep doing.” It’s not a bad plan. It’s actually pretty awesome that our kids are exposed to multiple activities. The benefits are tremendous and memories are made. However, despite the fact that we as parents know this, we’re constantly overwhelmed. The jokes are endless when it comes to moms and dads driving around in their minivans that are exploding with soccer balls, Gatorade bottles, dance bags and lacrosse sticks. Every time I step foot on a football field at 8 am on Sunday mornings, my friends and I all commiserate with our giant travel coffee mugs, about how it’s so early, how we have to leave and run to soccer, have two birthday parties later on, and why we do this to ourselves. We joke about how we used to have mimosas on Sundays. I actually was just asking my husband if he remembers the good old days where we used to sleep in, walk to our favorite spot, get coffee, and see where the day would take us. Every season when it’s time to sign up for sports and classes, I vow to not take on too much. I reason with myself. I tell myself firmly, “Nicole, one sport per child per season and one extra activity if they must. You have three kids, don’t be a crazy lady.” And every season without fail, I spread myself thin. Between the doctor and dentist appointments, driving to activities, feeding my kids what seems to be at least 15 times a day, grocery shopping, cleaning the house and homework time, and trying to make a little time for myself, I’m nearly exhausted. And I don’t even work full time anymore! Kudos to the moms and dads who work 40 hours a week or more and still do the above! You my friends are total rock stars.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email that our town was offering a new sport for girls. At first I closed that email and said, “Not today Satan, not today.” But sure enough I had to ask my friends about it later, I had to feel out the interest. When I found out that a lot of parents were considering adding it to the madness that they already had, I thought that I of course had to sign my daughter Reagan up! Was I experiencing fomo (fear of missing out)? How could this be?! I’m an adult! Let me tell you, fomo is alive and well in most suburban towns and it’s not from the kids. I humbly admit to being that mom.

As I stood on the field hockey field yesterday, a rainy bleak Sunday, I thought about how I could be sleeping. How I could be cuddled under my blankets and having fresh hot coffee after sleeping until at least 7 or 8. Instead it was 7:45 a.m. and I was already watching my daughter play. My hair was up, no makeup on, and I definitely didn’t have time to grab coffee, but there she was with her friends, learning something new, laughing and smiling. I did the right thing. It is all about her after all. But I have to remember to take care of myself too. So maybe I’ll keep up the crazy carpools for another couple of years, but I’ll make sure to treat myself to a Venti a few times a week. Maybe I’ll even go nuts and go to Target and buy myself another pair of leggings.

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