If you are a parent, I know you have asked yourself this question, if not multiple times, at least once. How much is too much?We live in a society that is fast paced and never stopping. And we as parents have been impacted greatly by this.
We want the best for our children. But what is the best?
This question has been swirling around in my head for months. It taunts me during sleepless nights, it aggravates me when we are rushed to get out the door, it guilts me when I can't do everything that the boys want to do. And trust me, I have had to say "no" to many activities because we already do too much.
I long for the kids to have my childhood. Shoot I want my boys to have the childhood of my parent's generation. Boys need to be busy. They need to explore. They need to be dangerous. They need to be free. But we can't give them that in today's environment. We can't let them out the door first thing in the morning and not see them until dinner time. Oh how I wish we could!
My childhood wasn't a scheduled mess. Yes, I remember swimming lessons. I started basketball at age 9. But I also remember long summer days of playing and exploring. I don't remember watching a lot of t.v. or video games during the winter time and of course DID NOT have all the technology that inundates our children today. I was in 5th grade when my parents bought me an Atari. And that was all the technology we had. We didn't have a home computer until after I graduated from high school. And cell phones? Ha I had a pager when I was 17 so that my parents could at least get ahold of me if they needed to.
I want the best for our children.
Monday morning, oh about 4:00, after being awakened by Carter's coughing, I immediately started stressing over how this was going to impact my day's schedule. This wasn't the first morning I was fretting before the sun came up. It started last week when I was home alone with Evan getting sick and Jeremy away on a business trip. How was I going to get Carter out of the house, when Evan wasn't up for all the scheduled (and paid for) activities on our days' itinerary.
Fortunately, my dad and mother-in-law came to the rescue last week. And Monday my mom didn't have work so I frantically called her to help me out (on her day off!)
I didn't think much of it until Monday after Jeremy questioned my judgement on how I was going to handle the situation. As Carter lay coughing, the stress hit. How was I going to get Evan (and myself) to the Y for exercise and also get Carter to the doctor. Then there was basketball practice on Monday night. Then what about school on Tuesday morning? Oh the questions and the guilt! Are they too sick for exercise? Are they too sick to play basketball? Are they too sick for school? (And I have to admit that there was slightly selfish reasons involved also. I have schedule my workouts and appointments during these times also.) How much do you push a child to do so they can learn that life doesn't stop when you are sick. And trust me, they weren't lethargic sick. They were bouncing off the walls yet coughing non-stop and dark circles under the eyes sick. There is a difference, and no this wouldn't even be an issue if it was the first scenario.
But then the guilt hit me on how much planned, paid activities are too much?
I wouldn't be at stressing at 4 in the morning if I didn't have them in these activities. I don't like missing things that I've already paid for!
I know many of my friends disagree with the amount of activities I have the boys in. I know many friends who have their children in more activities then me. So I know there is a wide range of opinions and beliefs.
I truly believe I NEED these activities as much as the boys do! I have tried to find a balance between what is needed and what is excessive, for me and my family!
I honestly feel that each activity that the boys are in, is beneficial for them and not just babysitting to give me a break. Each activity is important and has specific physical, spiritual, emotional and educational goals attached. And as I mentioned earlier, I have had to say "no" to some activities that the boys have wanted to do because I don't want to be in the truck all day long, transporting them from here to there and spending money that we do not have.
So I pose these questions to you, out of curiosity, my fellow parents. How many activities are you're kids in? How much stress do you feel these activities cause you? What is your motivation for being as busy as you are?