Working It Out

I woke up this morning — completely hung over after getting up at midnight to register the kids for swim lessons — and realized we only have three weeks left until school starts. That’s just crazy! I feel like this summer has flown by. Between bad weather, planning for Blog Out Loud, and the shortened summer due to the early start this year, we’ve accomplished next to nothing that we intended to do this year. Almost no house projects, almost no day trips. I need to get it together, or we’re going to miss out on the beach, the park, and the pool altogether.

And, I really need to get on that back to school shopping, too. This year we have a Grade 1 student in the house (I can’t talk about it too much or I’ll cry) and we have a shockingly big shopping list to attend to. I feel really new to this school thing, in that I kind of thought that the school was supposed to provide things like notebooks, pencils, and scissors. Apparently not, though. I keep telling myself that the school will take all our supplies and our $20 and then use the actual school budget for fun things like field trips and science kits. They will, right?

Although I welcome the return of the school routine — I like getting into a groove where we do the same thing every day — Sir Monkeypants and I are already feeling a lot of pressure from the fall schedule. Things started with the swim lessons. Last year we did swim lessons on Saturday mornings, and gymnastics on Sunday mornings, and those were our weekly extra curricular activities. This year, we can’t get all three kids in at the same time on the weekend, so we’ve signed up for Thursday evening swim classes, gymnastics on Sundays. Sir Monkeypants has swimming on Tuesdays and I’m booking Mondays and Wednesdays as my own workout nights — that is, unless we decide to sign up Gal Smiley for piano lessons, which she has been begging for, which would have to squeeze into a weeknight somewhere.

We also wanted to do skating lessons, like last year, but the only time we can fit those in is on Wednesdays at 4:30. Sir Monkeypants thought it would be fun to take a Tae Kwon Do class with the Captain, and we could maybe do that Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Plus, we’ll have homework, and we’re still trying to teach the Captain to ride his bike, and we’d like to do something with the Little Miss. and OH MY GOD, my head is going to explode.

It’s just TOO MUCH.

In the end, we decided to commit to swimming and gymnastics only, and to leave the rest of it to sort itself out when we figure out what we can handle, and what we can afford.

But we’ve glimpsed here a small sliver of our future lives, and it’s nutty. Right now, the kids do the activies we pick out for them, and they’re all doing the same thing at the same time. What happens when they begin to voice their own preferences? When they are all doing something different every day of the week? We want our kids to be able to try things they are interested in. But how much is too much? What is the right balance?

Nevermind the managing of the impossible schedule and the cost of all these programs. How will we manage to just find some family time? When will the kids just play? When will Sir Monkeypants and I have time together?

It just seems overwhelming. Anyone out there with older kids who has some tips, let me know. How do you make it all happen?

7 thoughts on “Working It Out

  1. It is a lot! I have wondered about this myself and the girl is only starting preschool in September. I think we will hold off on any classes until the winter. And then I will only pay for ones she wants to take. As much as I might want her to swim I am not going to pay for her to stand by the side of the pool. Again.

  2. i only have the two boys so far and I find my saving grace is that I don’t schedule anything on weeknights, but that is mostly because I work full time, and doing anything after work is just way too much work for me. I may bend that rule when I am on maternity leave. It is busy but I am sure you will find your grove. Through trial and error it will all come together.

    Oh ya, and the school paying for field trips… dream on! 🙂

  3. coffeewithjulie

    Oh … so you’re one of the “crazies” who wake up at midnight to register for swimming! I heard they were out there, but I’d never met one in person. You know, you really make the rest of us look bad, eh? As for managing … geez, I don’t have any ingenius ideas whatsoever … I mean, my kid won’t even get to learn how to swim.

    Okay, in all seriousness. I understand what you’re saying. On the one hand, I want to expose my children to as much as possible — art, sport, music. But on the other hand, I don’t want to have an overscheduled, stressed-out household either. It’s that impossible balance thing over and over again.

  4. Hey, let me know if I can help. Maybe I can shuttle some kids around one night of the week or something.

    As for Gal’s desire to play piano, there might be something we can do in the meantime. I’d have to do some research, but it might be possible that the ‘net could provide me with a lesson plan. That is, maybe I could teach her. We’d need a piano or keyboard, but it’s something I’d be willing to consider. I certain like the idea of fostering the kids’ interest in music.

  5. Follow up: looks like there are some great guides on teaching your kid to play. (Do a Google search on “how to teach a child to play the piano”.)

    At the very least, you might start looking for a used keyboard. I tinkered with our piano for 3 years before I started lessons, so I think just having a keyboard around might satisfy Gal’s curiosity, especially if you can teach her some basics.

    It’ll be challenging though since she hasn’t had any musical training yet, and she’s young.

  6. I don’t have any kids, but give you major props for not collapsing from exhastion already! LOL.

    Do you have any ‘helpers’ (ie. parents, siblings, babysitters) who might help you manage all these activities? Or perhaps your kids could carpool with another kids parents?

  7. We have older kids, and this is what we do.

    1) We keep the organized activities to two things during the school year, one of which has to be swimming. We let the girls pick what activity they want to do. They’ve tried different kinds of dance, gymnastics, pottery, soccer … tons of stuff.

    2) We never register for anything that takes place on the weekends, especially swimming. Our lives just got too busy. They interfered with birthday parties, impromptu road trips, and a lot of things we wanted to do as a family. Soo…

    3) We only schedule organized activities for weeknights, allowing time to eat dinner without having to shove it down our throats in a panic. This is not easy! 🙂

    4) We try to register them for activities which are as close to home as possible.

    5) We have taken a pass on some activities (like skating lessons) and just decided to do them as a family over the weekends. *The kids have learned to skate really well without lessons!)

Comments are closed.