Overly Over-Programmed

I’ve finally crossed the line.

When I first became a mom, I told the kids they could each have ONE after-school activity and one alone, for driving three kids to various destinations was just too overwhelming. I prided myself on being the parent who was supremely organized and SANE. Our family calendar was never overloaded with to-dos and classes and appointments and playdates. We knew how to do it right.

Um, yeah, whatever.

This fall, with kids in grades 1, 3, 4 and 5, I have lost control. They’re in charge now.

We have two kids in tennis on Mondays, Judaic learning on Tuesdays at their dad’s, dance for the girls on Wednesdays, gymnastics and piano on Thursdays (on opposite ends of town, heart attack starting), and soccer practices fitted in around that schedule. Oh and soccer games on Sundays.

Um, yeah.

And now, the week before school starts and we had back to an earnest routine, I have exactly three days to work and I am out of breath.

*Sigh*

How did we get here? I seem to have an idolized image of how-it-used-to-be in my head. My childhood didn’t seem to be so stuffed with plans. I don’t even remember playdates at early ages. Birthday parties were simple. I didn’t care about clothes until middle school.

Was it really easier then? Or are we fooling ourselves into believing it is ever easy to manage a family?

I’m about to head out of the office once again to tape two episodes of my Children, Youth & Families TV show, and it occurs to me that perhaps this is a topic worth tackling. How, exactly, do we get out from under the landslide of ¬†attractive-and-enriching-STUFF?¬†

How much, exactly, do our kids need to learn – and how much more would they benefit from unscheduled, open time to do with what they please? (Imagine. Create. Play. Run. My only fear is they’d whine I’m bored and beg for the iPad. No way, buster.)

It’s not just our kids who would benefit from simplifying our lives, but we would too. We would breathe more easily, eat less, sleep better and more soundly (and probably for fewer hours) and be calmer. No more hitting the steering wheel in frustration or spitting out anger because we’re dropping papers and files and purses on the ground as we gallop between Point A and Point B.

But alas. No one seems to know how to get there quite, and I don’t profess to have the answer. I’m thinking it all out as I type the words, even. No time for prep for this blog. There never is.

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