Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but that is how I feel.
This week, I am choosing what I want my schedule to look like in the fall. Slow paced vs. fast paced. Free and easy vs. packed and full. Nights home vs. nights away. I am choosing right now between what is and what could be.
One daughter has been asked to try out for a ballet company. Her current teacher praised her focus and natural ability and believes she has much potential to go on to the next level. This would take Elle’s once a week casual dance class up to 3 days a week plus summer camps and Saturdays. Not to mention more recitals, more costumes, more rehearsals and more money. And more times I am going to have to do a ballet bun. (Hair is not my thing!) I kinda need to decide soon since tryouts are today!
My other daughter has been asked by a friend to play soccer. Croft says she wants to do it because all of her friends play soccer and so do her cousins. But we have never done soccer at our house, so I am new to practices during the weeks and games on Saturdays. The sign up deadline is May 19.
And Crew turned 8 yesterday which means Scouts. His first meeting was yesterday. Although Scouts may be beneficial, it is also another activity to add to the weekly calendar. Plus he wants to start a heavy duty basketball league next fall with real practices and real games. No more of this Jr. Jazz stuff where you can’t steal, but you can travel. He wants more challenge. This league would be more practices and more games than we are used to.
It is not that we haven’t done any activites for the kids before. We have, but thus far they have all been recreational or casual – so a practice here; a game there; one class a week; shorter seasons, etc. And besides the piano, the kids usually only do one activity at a time. Some have been during the day too because my kids were still young.
This casual approach has allowed our week nights to be fairly clear of activities. We eat dinner together most nights around 5:30 or 6:00 pm. Mondays are reserved for Family Night and the other nights Chad or I head off to church responsibilities. The kids do homework and read and color and practice the piano and take baths with the parent that is home. Our Saturdays are spent doing chores together around the house and playing with friends. Just last night Crew and Croft sat in our big easy chair and he read her a whole Junie B. Jones chapter book.
We are slow paced, and we are home more than we are anywhere else. And that is how I like it.
But the kids are getting older and more choices and opportunities are coming in and my burden feels heavier. I feel a huge responsibility that I am the GATEKEEPER of my family’s calendar. I choose what it gets filled with.
Do I want my calendar filled with practices and games and rehearsals?
Do I want to spend my nights in the car shuttling back and forth?
Do I want to drag my younger kids around with me?
Do I want to rush through family dinner or skip it all together?
Do I want to be a frazzled mom that is often on edge?
Do I want my home to be just a pit stop and a place to crash at the end of the day?
NO, I don’t! The thought of this is what makes me sick to my stomach.
I want space and calm and peace and down time. That is how I thrive.
BUT I do want my kids to develop talents and be active and find their place where they thrive. And I played sports as a kid and loved the team experiences.
So I’ve asked myself many questions:
What should I do?
Why is this decision so hard for me?
Am I the only one that agonizes over my family calendar?
Am I lazy or selfish?
What am I afraid of?
What am I protecting?
What am I giving up?
What am I gaining?
How much choice do I have here?
What are the long term affects of my choices now?
I don’t have any answers right now. I sure wish I did. But as I talk to my friends they all have different answers for me too. One friend told me to “suck it up” and another told me as kids get older busyness is inevitable. Others are fully supportive of a slow paced lifestyle and think that is what is best.
I am not sure if I will go left or I will go right at this crossroad. I am really torn on what I want for my family and what I want for my kids. I am considering all my options because I do believe I have choice. I am not a victim to busyness. If I take the busy path, I chose it.
But thanks to Facebook this morning, I am now contemplating this blog post and this quote I saw (thanks Rose):
I’ve got my work cut out for me. I guess I’ll be hitting my knees. Meanwhile, if any of you have figured out the perfect balance of children’s activities and peace, let me know.