How many different schedules can you juggle before you drop one?

Theresa Giarrusso is taking a few days off of blogging to tackle a couple of family and school projects.  Keith Still, a mother of three, will be filling in this week.

Years ago, when we were thinking of having our second – and later, third – child, I remember asking myself whether I would be able to juggle toddler play dates with newborn naptimes; potty-training with infant feedings; or diaper changes with days out at the park.  I also looked way ahead and pondered the idea of at least 12 years of college tuition, and in our case, weddings for three daughters. 

Looking back, I realize my thinking was incredibly short-sighted. Managing the daily activities and needs of three young children is definitely a lot of work, but the real juggling act came when those kids got lives of their own.

All three of my daughters are in school now, and I’m proud of each one for finding and following her interests. My 6-year-old loves gymnastics. My 9-year-old is a big team-sport player (softball, basketball); and my 12-year-old is my dancing queen. Two days a week, we’re at the gym. Two days a week (occasionally three), we’re at the ball field. Or we’re at the dance studio.

Despite my best efforts to spread out their activities, we have overlaps on occasion. I intentionally scheduled dance and gymnastics on separate days, but the softball games rotate throughout the season. Add a last-minute appointment or end-of-the-school-year choral or band concert to the mix, and it can be a recipe for high-level stress.

Even though we live in the burbs, my husband does a great job at getting home from his office in Atlanta to help out when everyone’s schedules explode. However, it’s not always possible, so I have gotten really good at rescheduling and trading off carpool duties with other moms.   

A couple of Mondays ago, my eldest had an orthodontist appointment scheduled at the same time that my youngest was finishing gymnastics and my 9-year-old was starting a softball game. I delivered my softball girl to the park for team warm-ups, ran to the gym to pick up my gymnast, zoomed back to the ball park and rescheduled the orthodontist appointment for the next week. When I told her of the rescheduled appointment, my 12-year-old reminded me that the new time conflicted with something at her school. Fingers crossed that our third attempt (tomorrow) is a charm.  

Other times, I have traded mom duties for help in a crunch. I’ll bring another mom’s child home from the ball park when she has a conflict one day, while she keeps an eye on mine during warm ups so I can pick up the other sisters.

Ninety percent of the time, rescheduling or working with other moms fills in the gaps when neither my husband nor I can be in three places at once. It’s really stressful when we simply can’t make everything work, however; and the whole act of rescheduling and calling around for outside help creates its own stress.

I sometimes ask myself if there is an easier way to do this. We have made it a point to limit the kids to one activity each, and have worked out their schedules as best we can. The random activities (like band/choral concerts) are school-related and usually part of the kids’ grades – not a typical extracurricular activity.

I do have an incredibly-organized friend, whose three children are the same ages as mine. Her kids are very involved, but she wisely guided them early on into the same sport – karate. All three are competitive in karate tournaments throughout the state and country. While they spend a lot of time outside of school at lessons and practice, they all go to the same place on the same days and travel together to the same tournaments and competitions.

Knowing my girls’ vastly-different personality types, I’m not sure that would have worked, even if I had the foresight to attempt something like that years ago (which I clearly didn’t)– but I think it’s a brilliant idea.

Despite the madness of our daily lives, I am grateful for it all. I also know that these things don’t last forever – and I’ll one day look at my empty back seat and wish I was still running around from gym to park to dance studio.

How do you handle the stress when your family’s schedules get out of whack? How do you stay organized with multiple schedules to juggle? If you have one child, do you still limit the number of activities?

What’s your activity limit per child? Or do you have a “family limit” where only so many hours per week (no matter how it is divvyed up) can be devoted to outside activities?

Have you ever tried to steer all of your children into the same extracurricular activity to make things easier?

45 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 6th, 2010
7:32 am

It’s pretty simple really, stop trying to do so much. I don’t feel obligated to have my daughter partake in every activity that “Suzie” has her daughter doing. Some people enjoy having a packed schedule, some don’t.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2010
8:02 am

I am confused this morning.

A few weeks ago, Theresa mentioned that some posts were eliminated as they were “off topic”.
I was under the impression that blatant profanity was also not allowed, as many posters disguise words and we do tend to get the meaning. Apparently I am under the wrong impression. A rude post ( with profanity) was directed towards me ( 1:21 a.m. today) on yesterday’s topic. When folks get backed into the corner with their silliness, they react and some folks react with vengeance. As it has been said, “they show their colors…”

I am trying to remind myself of what I have said so many times….”manners are on the decline.”

So…for the record, Keith is a girl’s name for Keith Still and we have already been over this. Can we move on to the topic at hand?

I will tell you that ever since both of mine got their license…life is easier. When my son left for college and my daughter did not drive…it was a wake up call. We had to start all over, as he took her places and we had 3 cars….now, we have 4.

Keith, you are so right about carpooling and taking turns with your neighbors. That really helps.
We looked for neighbors with boys and girls and chatted with them about signing our kids up together. If you have a girl and boy, as I do, it is hard to get them on the same activities. We also let them choose one thing at a time and this worked for us.

This is something I do not understand: here in metro Atlanta, there are thousands of parents who spend thousands of hours and dollars per year to be involved in intense sports ( some more than one):
baseball, soccer, tennis, swim, cheerleading etc. They run around looking frazzled and exhausted.
They have to put their own life on hold for years as they cannot plan any activities during sporting months. They shell out LOTS of money.

I have observed that their kids go off to college and many let go of the sport, that was sacred. Is it worth it?

Yes, some do get a scholarship. Yes, some parents really bond with the other parents.
Yes, sports do wonders for the kid’s self esteem but at what cost?

I did not grow up in a family that would consider this sacrifice for me, so I cannot see it.

We absolutely did put our kids in baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, dance, piano, karate etc. but it never consumed our lives or our checkbook. Maybe some can explain this to me. The intensity in metro Atlanta, is different from other places I visit.

Photius

May 6th, 2010
8:13 am

Easy – stop over structuring your child; let them go outside in the back yard to stare at the clouds or play with a stick. Or try a radical idea not used much by today’s parents: have the courage to allow your child to get bored, then they can create a way to entertain themselves.

Jeff

May 6th, 2010
8:19 am

Well, motherjane, consider it flattering that someone was thinking about you @ 121 am. You can steal my line: “I’ve been called worse by better looking than you”. Once it sinks in, they usually get pretty mad. But it is quite funny.

JJ

May 6th, 2010
8:23 am

I agree 100% with Photius. Keith, YOU have overscheduled yourself and you have no one to blame.

I am a firm believer in getting kids involved in out of school activities, but only one per kid. School should come first, then sports.

No where in this article did you mention any family time. Is that not a priority for you? I only have one child, and she played softball outside of school. She was involved in school activities, but nothing that took away from our family time. 90% of the time, we ate dinner together at the dining room table. 10% was at the ball park, and the local mexican restaurant after the games once in a while.

Familly time is something you will NEVER get back if you don’t take it now. And it’s actually healthier for you and your husband and kids. Reduce each kid to ONE activity. Schedule a “pajama weekend”, where you have NOTHING on your calendar for two whole days. I promise the earth will not stop. Take the time NOW while you still have young kids. In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. Make sure dinner is as a family at least 4 times a week. That to me is way more important then anything else you can do for your family. Let your kids play outside. Ride bikes, play kickball, or just lay in the grass and watch the clouds go by. Not all free time should be structured.

But to be so consumed with being in a car constantly shuttling kids here and there, will wear you out and when the kids are gone, you will have nothing.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2010
8:27 am

@ Photius…pay attention here…TODAY I am agreeing with you LOL. If more kids had to learn how to entertain themselves, more kids would have their own set of problem solving skills and not run to Momma, the Teachers or the Coach. Parents of young children do not always see this. Helicopter parents have missed it somewhere along the line.

Thanks for the reminder…..

@Jeff…thanks…I am trying not to think at all at 1:21 a.m. unless it is…did the kids come home?
I am in bed by 10:00 most nights…sometimes earlier.

Jeff

May 6th, 2010
8:35 am

Can someone enlighten me? I’ve heard the term on here but don’t know what it actually refers to. Is a “helicopter parent” one who hovers too much? Go ahead and laugh.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2010
8:39 am

Yes, Jeff…you are correct.

G.R.I.T.S.

May 6th, 2010
9:00 am

wow @the post MJG spoke of….i wonder why it is still there…

yes…car pooling is a great tool to use when you have several kids needing to be at different places, and the idea of all the kids being involved in the same activity is great…if thats what the kids all like. my kids mainly played school sports, only one did gymnastics that wasnt school affliated. even with the school sports it took lots of time, but at least they all took place at the school, and any away events were bussed…it still took lots of time, and got more time involved as they got older.

i agree that kids need to play outside more and have a chance to be bored so they can utilize their imagination and learn to occupy themselves.

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
9:32 am

LOL – where ya been Jeff?

Keith, I understand the craziness and only have 1 child (tho my husband works out of town during the week so it’s just me to run him around), I’m always amazed at people who have multiple children involved in activities. I do think it’s fine to allow your child to be involved in 1 activity at a time but you have 3. It might be necessary to limit the involvement to 1 thing total at a time. I know a family who only allow 1 child to have an activity at a time. So son plays football in the fall and daughter plays soccer in the spring. They both do swimming over the summer because there isn’t school and it’s at the same place. And then I know other people with multiple children who try to have their kids play the same sport and while it might work for some people, it’s not been successful for the most part. In our county for example if you play soccer or football, you could have games at any one of 4 different parks. So even if you’re lucky enough to have your kids practice at the same park on the same nights (which is unlikely), you’re still going to have to juggle ball games.

I’m with you on this extra school stuff right now. My son had the high school band concert Tuesday, band banquet tonight and then he has two more concerts next week because he plays percussion and they do a special ensemble with the piano classes at his school. Why they had to schedule 4 nights within a two-week window is beyond me (well actually I do know, it’s b/c spring sports just ended and they have to squeeze in the fine arts productions between this week and the week before finals but still 4 nights???). But since these concerts count for grades, we have to be there.

Becky

May 6th, 2010
9:39 am

@Photius..I’m in the same boat with you, MJG & JJ…My two little ones (7)still enjoy “old” playing..We go hiking in the woods, bike riding, sitting under a tree reading a book..Last weekend they planted a garden and were outside with it for over 7 hrs..When the boy tells me that he is bored, I tell him to watch the cars go by..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 6th, 2010
9:40 am

MJG — I don’t know if Keith knows how to delete stuff — I can go in and delete in a few minutes. Have to get one more settled and then I can deal with it. Sorry bad stuff stayed on. I’ll find it as soon as I have L settled.

hayley

May 6th, 2010
10:14 am

It was still there at 10am

hayley

May 6th, 2010
10:15 am

But it is gone now…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 6th, 2010
10:40 am

did somebody else get it?? let me look

ZachsMom

May 6th, 2010
10:52 am

My biggest complaint is when “the powers in charge” want to schedule practice at 4:30 on a weeknight. Hummmm don’t get home from work till 5:30 at the earliest.
This summer they have scheduled workouts from 8:30am to 11:30am 4 days a week. Now how is a parent who has to work going to get their kid to that?

JJ

May 6th, 2010
11:05 am

ZachsMom, I find that most summer activities cater to the stay at home mom. Not the working mom.

When my daughter was growing up, Day camps were always 9-1. I work 8 – 4.

Andrea

May 6th, 2010
11:06 am

In my humble opinion, overscheduling is 100% self-inflicted torture. Sometimes you just have to say no.

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
11:07 am

@ZachsMom What age are you talking about? My son is in HS and they practice from 4-5:30/6 depending on the sport but since he just stays at school that’s fine with me (they have study hall from 3:15-3:45 and have to be on the field at 4). What kills me is when the coach says practice is until 5:30 and then doesn’t let them off the field until nearly 6 but if a kid walks out there at 4:01, they’re in trouble. Coaches and doctors seem to have the expectation that everyone else runs on their schedule.

And I’ve always wondered about these summer workouts too. I mean, I work from home and have a flexible schedule but geez, it’s annoying to have to drop him off and then pick him up two hours later. I’ve tried to carpool and it sometimes works but not always. It’s one of the only reasons I’m looking forward to him getting his license in a year.

workingmom

May 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

Just wanted to address MJG’s question about “intense” sports, which I interpret to mean Travel sports. My daughter plays softball on a 10U travel team. Fortunately, due to the depth of talent in metro Atlanta, we do not have to “travel” far for tournaments. But the time commitment is still pretty high and this should definitely be a family decision as other sacrifices will have to be made. My hubby wanted nothing to do with it. That’s OK because I actually love it. He picks up the slack with our other child’s weekend activities. I love the time spent at the ball fields, the one on one time with my duaghter, getting to know the other families. While I agree some people are in it for the wrong reasons (chances are your kid will still not get that college scholarship) but in our case, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. This time is shuch a short period in their lives and I am thinkful I am getting to spend it with her doing something we both enjoy! If not this, we’d probably spend the money on something equally as frivolous! Also, if you have a child that is pretty good at a sport, travel leagues (or club leaugues, depending on the sport) are really the only way to develop that talent. Rec leagues’ primary focus, as it should be, is having fun, playing time for all, and maybe learning a little about the sport along the way.

Keith

May 6th, 2010
12:19 pm

Hey guys — Sorry I’m just checking in today. Youngest has a raging case of poison ivy from playing down near our creek. I grew up on a farm with lots of woods all around and never had poison ivy. My older two daughters haven’t gotten it before either, despite running around the woods in our neighborhood. I was hopeful that we were all somehow among the lucky few to be immune. Apparently not. Oatmeal bath and caladryl are doing the trick though.

In my post, I was trying to convey that even though we HAVE LIMITED each kid to just one activity, the mere fact that there are three of them creates schedule stress. Having three children was our choice, and a source of happiness and joy — but allowing them to pursue ONE thing that’s important to them can still be difficult to achieve, especially during busy parts of the year. Not complaining — and really hope it didn’t come off that way.

Though challenging, our schedules aren’t so difficult and my carpool lifestyle isn’t always so hectic that I feel I must resort to telling my kids that they can’t do even one activity each season. (It could always come to that one day, I guess — and we’ll cross that bridge then.)

They do play outside quite a lot by themselves or with friends — especially on weekends, but also on “off days” or earlier in the afternoon before activities gear up. (Which is how the six-year-old got her poison ivy.)

Keith

May 6th, 2010
12:21 pm

MJG — Sorry I didn’t see the comment in time, but I’m glad it’s gone now!

JJ

May 6th, 2010
1:38 pm

Keith, you have to be allergic to react from poison ivy. I’ve been around that stuff all my life, and I’ve never had a breakout.

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
1:39 pm

@workingmom you bring up an interesting point:
“My hubby wanted nothing to do with it. That’s OK because I actually love it. He picks up the slack with our other child’s weekend activities.”

Are you guys really OK with that as a couple and as a family? What does your other child think since you’re with the older child often all day, most weekends?

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
1:44 pm

@Keith, if your daughter has poison ivey that bad, take her to the doctor (or even the MinuteClinic or TakeCare clinic over the weekend) and get her some sterroids. Poison ivey takes a long time to go away and if she’s that allergic, it won’t go away on its own. The first time I got it, I waited 3 weeks before going to the doctor. Yes, I’m stubborn but just kept thinking, it HAS to get better. It never did. Took two rounds of sterroids and I got a stern talking to by the doctor to not wait so long next time. It’s just not worth being that miserable.

workingmom

May 6th, 2010
2:12 pm

@Techmom, fortunately it’s not every weekend or my other child might be jealous. Most tournaments are Saturday only, so the entire weekend is not devoted to the one child, even on tournament weekends. My son is actually the older one. He’s happy that Dad is there, and I go to his games on the weekends there is not a conflict. I personally wish Dad would come to a few more softball games, but on the other hand, the last few games he has been to seem to go badly, so I’m starting to want him to stay away! Anyway, like I said, it is a lifestyle that does not suit everyone. Some players on our team have both parents there for every game. Most tag-team to the extent that they can in order to deal with other siblings (some have other kids who are on other travel teams!), and a couple are like ours, where one parent is the primary one present. We all make it work within our own families. My hubby is probably the least happy with it, as he believes it intrudes on other family options which are out of town, but that is true for any sport, not just travel ball. I think involvement in sports period, whether at the rec or travel level, is important for kids and teaches so many life lessons. By the time they reach high school they may not want us around so much or still be involved in sports, so I want to take advantage of the time now that they do.

penguinmom

May 6th, 2010
2:22 pm

@Keith – I don’t think people always read ‘below the fold’ on blog posts. So, they react to the first three sentences without seeing that you *Clearly* said one activity per child.

We also have 3 – ages 14, 10 and 6. Next year (2011-12 school year) that will mean we have a high schooler, middle schooler and elementary kid with the various schedules that brings. (On the upside, they are spread 4 years apart for college!)

We have all the kids in one art activity and then my middle child also dances. That’s it, plus church, and it is Still crazy trying to get them from one place to another.

Schedules and different activities were the main focus behind getting a phone for my eldest. I wanted to be able to drop him off and have an easy way to touch base with him from wherever I was with the other two. It has made picking him up from his events soooo much easier.

Leaving aside the activities, even just having different friends, who have birthday parties or want play dates, makes your life crazy.

iRun

May 6th, 2010
2:23 pm

Man, this makes me happy I only had one kid…..

I can’t help you. Between my husband and myself (and it helps that we live and work intown so we don’t have much of a commute) we can usually cover the activities.

I didn’t intend to just have one. We intended to wait until we were finished with school and had a couple years of working behind our belts…maybe age 30. But nope. He knocked me up when I was 26. We decided against abortion or adoption and kept him. It threw all our plans for a loop.

It all worked out in the end but the main outcome was that by the time we felt like we were in a financial, career, life position to have ANOTHER child…well, he was 8 and I was 35 and we were done.

So, when it comes to activities…we don’t have to stress because it’s 2:1 support. But I guess IF I were you I’d tell your kids, as they get older, that if they want to participate in stuff they will need to work out the to and fro back-up plan. Make them approach their friends. Or course, reciprocate when you can. And if there’s a day when nobody can do it…well the kid misses that day.

Sounds terrible. But I was one of 5 kids and that’s how my mom handled it and it worked. There were a few days where I’d miss practice for something because I couldn’t figure out a ride home, but that wasn’t very often.

Best of luck!

Keith

May 6th, 2010
2:29 pm

Thanks TechMom and JJ for the poison ivy info. Looks like she may be getting some steroids!

Penguinmom — I’ll be in your position (one in high school, middle school and grammar school) in just a couple of years. I’m sure it will be an interesting experience! ;-)

Keith

May 6th, 2010
2:44 pm

Thanks iRun! Good advice.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2010
2:54 pm

Wow JJ…I did not know this. Does it apply to poison oak too? I have had that several times and always go and get the shot right away. It is a waste of time for me to use any creams or ointments, as it just gets much worse! I tried to fight it myself too ( TechMom) and lost the battle.

Keith, the shot may hurt but gets rid of it quick. Steroids will work but you will have to give them too her for a few days and ( to me) they have a nasty aftertaste.

Working mom…I appreciate your thoughts. I am just not into giving up my family time and maybe that is just me.

workingmom

May 6th, 2010
2:57 pm

I hear you MJG. But for me, this IS family time, and I love it! :)

JJ

May 6th, 2010
3:19 pm

Careful with the steroids, especially with a child. They will alter your personality. I know first hand. I had an absessed spider bit on my shoulder that swelled up like a HUGE pimple and it was very tender and sore. The doctor put me on steroids to reduce the swelling and speed up the recovery of the absess. It was about 3 weeks later when my mom pulled me aside and informed me that I was not acting like myself and was being very mean to a few people…..I’m not normally a mean person.

So just be careful with the kids.

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
3:20 pm

IRun: My mom was one of those parents who almost always refused to drive/pick-up for after school events and I always felt terrible having to ask friends for a ride. I know you’re saying that there are trade-offs to be made but making it the kids’ responsibility is not really fair either. I was forced to skip after-school activities sometimes b/c I simply had no way home other than the bus. All this did was get me in hot water with the teacher/coach, most of whom have strict rules about practice especially in HS and then consequently I’d be upset with my mom. I definitely encourage carpooling but making a kid skip practice isn’t really practical as they get older and end up having to sit out a game because they missed a practice.

P.S. I’m also in the same position with the only child. I had my son young so by the time I even thought about having another, he was in middle school & I realized that there was no way I wanted to start completely over.

iRun

May 6th, 2010
3:25 pm

TechMom,

I was really just relaying what MY mother, who had FIVE children, resorted to. And she DID try. And tried to reciprocate. But I had to work out the back-up plan and sometimes I missed.

And yes, coaches/teachers don’t like it. But that’s life. I would explain. They would complain. I would ask if they wanted me to quit. And they always stopped, and said, “Well, no, of course not, that’s not what I meant.” And I would say, “Well, I can’t drive and even if I could I don’t have my own car so I’m doing the best I can.”

And really, I didn’t miss a whole lot.

By the time I got to the upper HS years it became less of a problem. If I couldn’t get a ride home I could usually go home and spend the night with someone on the team/club.

But, like you, I don’t have to deal with this. One kid, two parents – easy.

motherjanegoose

May 6th, 2010
3:44 pm

Thanks Keith and Theresa for taking care of the rude comment ( directed towards me) by Polytron. It caught me offguard to read it on the blog, as I did not think that kind of language was allowed.

A

May 6th, 2010
4:35 pm

iRun and TechMom–another 1-child family here, and I couldn’t be happier. We always planned on just one, and with his handful of extra activities, we’re scheduled quite enough. I work from home, and my husband has a flexi schedule, so between us there’s always someone to take the kid to and fro. And we’re happy to do all that; we just know we wouldn’t be nearly as sane if we had more children…but that’s just us!

ZachsMom

May 6th, 2010
5:13 pm

TechMom- Currently ninth grade. Football practice this spring is after school and I understand needing to have the practices before it gets to hot out side but could it not be for 730-1130 TWO days a week instead of 830-1030 FOUR days a week? I have a very understand boss—but maybe not THAT understanding.

The first TOUCHDOWN club meeting is also scheduled for Monday—at 5:00pm!!!!!!! I am starting to get the feeling that that don’t want you to be able to be there :-)

Devildog

May 6th, 2010
5:15 pm

We did it with our three kids and had fun doing it most of the time.
My youngest daughter has two varsity cheerleaders and a 9 year old who can’t stay still. Always on the go and, oh yeah, she teaches 5th grade.
Just do it.

mom3

May 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

We’ve always limited our kids to one activity at a time. Of course, some things still overlap, especially if they are in a year round activity like band. We are a big sports family – softball, basketball and football. I love the things they learn from working on a team. Those are life skills they will use many times over.

I have two problems with people that over schedule their kids. One is that kids need to be taught what their limits are. Some of these kids will grow up into unhappy, over exhausted adults like their parents are unless somebody tells them they don’t have to join every single thing their friends join. The second is that the kids spend very little quality time with their actual family unit. Those fragile relationships will be very hard to maintain further on in life.

Did ever occur to anyone else that some of these moms schedule their kids with so many activities because they don’t want to spend that much time with their kids? I’ve thought that of several of the families I’ve been exposed to.

TechMom

May 6th, 2010
5:48 pm

@ZachsMom I’m with you on the stupid mid-day practices. My son has to go 9-11:30am 3 days a week this summer. The best part is that it ISN’T practice, it’s conditioning b/c technically they aren’t allowed to practice until the last week of July. My brother-in-law is a HS football coach and does them twice a day to accomodate working kids & parents. He hates it but he says it’s the only way to get kids to work out. I work from home so I’m flexible but that means my work day just got stretched way out. I will carpool with 2 other mom’s so hopefully I’ll get a little bit of break.

P.S. I have told the coach on occassions that he needs to help find our son a ride if I have to go into the office and actually he has :)

JATL

May 6th, 2010
6:47 pm

I agree 100% with Photius! I am currently “over-scheduled” and it’s been really challenging. It’s all good and yielding great financial results, but difficult just the same. Keeping two kids and two jobs in the air plus trying to maintain a marriage and friendships often makes you just sit down and cry. I realize MANY people do this, and I feel lucky to have this opportunity, but if the 2nd job’s hours didn’t decrease RADICALLY at the end of this year, I think I would have to quit altogether.

I’ve never been into the over-scheduling of kids. We bought a house with a nice yard and a basement so our kids could play at home a lot. We have the requisite ATL area kids memberships, and we enjoy them, but one certified playdate a week is enough. More than that is a bonus.I usually count any birthday parties as that week’s playdate. My youngest still has an active playgroup that meets once a week that we always tried to attend, and his nanny takes him now, but I feel really lucky that I’ve had this extra opportunity at this juncture before we’re into extra-curricular practices. Here’s what’s taken a big hit at my house: homemade meals -we still try to eat together and do some crock pot stuff, but honestly these days if my husband doesn’t make it or I don’t use the crock pot, it’s something slapped together or take out! General household order -we have a cleaning service twice a week so the whole place doesn’t rot. ANY social activity during the week and many on weekends for me, and my husband has had to pick up some slack because sometimes I have to work all day on Saturday or Sunday. One thing I do -unless it’s weekend work -I make sure I don’t work between getting home from my “real” job and starting my other one until the kids are in bed. Today is an exception because I took the day off to take the youngest for a hospital test. That’s why I’m on here all the time -I literally have my face buried in a computer all day and 1/2 the night, and if I don’t switch gears every once in awhile, I’ll go NUTS!

jsmom

May 6th, 2010
6:56 pm

I have 2 siblings and all three of us were very involved in various activities throughout the year. I never felt gypped if my parents had to be somewhere else with my younger sibs. Nine times out of ten, someone else on my team had a sibling the same age as one of my younger sibs, so I could get a ride to where ever my parents were, and my parents would return the favor. My grandparents were also willing to help out and fill in where ever my parents couldn’t. (And I filled in for my parents on occasion when my parents couldn’t do something for my sibs after I got my license. I’m sure I complained about it, but that’s part of the deal that comes with family. And part of the deal when mom and dad pay for your gas and car insurance.)

I do have a child in my preschool class that is overscheduled. She’s 3, and in preschool 5 half days, music class one day, swim lessons another day, and since her dad travels, she winds up spending a lot of time at the baseball fields. By Thursday she is tired and cranky and all around unbearable.

DB

May 6th, 2010
7:30 pm

Keith, I think it’s just the nature of the beast — if you have three active kids , YOU will be active, too. One activity per child is pretty conservative. If you have children that are the same temperment and have the same interests, then sure, encourage the same sport — although that has its own can of worms as to who excels and who doesn’t. My son lettered in four sports in high school, and two of his teams went on to state championships, so we ferried back and forth to practices and games for years. Daughter was more performance-oriented, so we had rehearsals and performances to schedule and attend.

Believe it or not, you will look back on this time and miss all the running around and watching them perform and play, and realize how family-oriented it really is. As MJG observed, once they start driving, it’s amazing how much more relaxed your life will get (but you pay for it by anxiety every time your child drives off! :-D).

Lisa

May 10th, 2010
8:25 pm

I have two kids and have often thought a third, or any serious medical issues, would send us into a tailspin. Our elementary school has a ton of after school activities that lets them try out different activities without causing us too much stress! Other than that, we limit it to one sport. This month it’s the 10 birthday parties that is putting us into a tail spin!