I’ve decided that being busy is probably one of the worst things I can be. This is one of the reasons we started homeschooling. We want to be un-busy. This is not bashing how other parents choose to raise their own children. That’s up to them. I’m just sharing my personal point of view of how so many kids and families are over-scheduled and short on time.
Let’s talk about what my daily schedule used to look like. Up at 5:15am. Battling getting Noah and Avery up and dressed and fed. I worked from 6:45am – 3:15pm Monday through Friday. Get off, rush to pick up Noah from school (back when we used to do traditional school), go pick up Avery from daycare, go to the grocery store on some days or run errands. Then it was home to work on his homework and start dinner. We would eat around 6, then it was bath time which took a while, then the bedtime routine of 1 story, 3 songs, saying prayers and then getting him snuggled in with the right number of stuffed animals. For Avery, after bath time came her baby massage, rocking her a bit then putting her into her crib (this got infinitely more difficult once she was in a twin bed because she wasn’t contained). Then I would take a shower and collapse into bed between 10 and 11 after cleaning up from dinner, doing some laundry and getting us ready for the next day. It was back up the next morning to do it all over again. As seasons changed, add in Noah’s soccer practices, family get-togethers and birthday parties. It was exhausting. The kids were tired. We loved days of staying home when we had nothing to do. Add in a good Disney movie on a rainy afternoon dressed in pajamas, those were the days we lived for.
Let me add that I didn’t do it alone. I had Gram and Jimmy helping me. What in the world do these Super Parents (single parents, military spouses) do that do it all on their own???????
I will never forget the day that I decided we weren’t going to live like that. We were wrestling to get the kids dressed to go to something that none of us wanted to go to. Noah whined, “mommy, do I have to gooooo? Can’t we just stay home?”
It hit me. Yes, we can. It wasn’t long until some other things happened at his school that I decided “nope, we’re not doing this anymore.” It was never a conversation, “hey, we’re not going to do all this running around and the schlepping of the kids that we’ve been doing.” It was more of a gradual change over a couple months. First, we pulled Noah out of school. He had 2 weeks left in the school year and we were done. D.O.N.E. By that point, Jimmy was working from home full time, and I had changed to a new nursing job that was Fri-Sun 7pm-7am. I worked some overtime but I wasn’t gone 5 days every week. Avery was already staying home since Jimmy was there (we LOVED her daycare and the women that worked there. They were amazing to her and I could never ask for more from her teachers). Not only was having them at home nice, but we weren’t paying $1,000 a month for private school and daycare. Whew, that was a relief.
We’re busy now, but not the mindless kind that comes from having overscheduled crap you don’t want to do in the first place. You know, the stuff you felt like you couldn’t say no to. The other day, the kids and I went to the aquarium. It’s not a huge one, but they love it and we spent as much time as they wanted looking at all the fish, sharks, turtles and horseshoe crabs. We didn’t rush. We walked through the whole thing twice without complaint. They enjoyed it as much as I did. I was just happy to have a uninterrupted day with them. I heard all kinds of kid jokes (Noah’s really enjoying “how do you count cows? With a cowculator!”) I probably heard “Mommy” about 5,623 times. Normally that drives me NUTS, but I thought about it and it occurred to me that they may not always want to talk to me. I won’t always be their favorite person. Sometimes, hearing “mom, mom, mooooommmmmmm” is the sweetest sound I can think of.
I would be lying if I said that there are never times that I yell “why don’t you have shoes on?? Get in the car! We’re late!!!” It happens to the best of us, and if you say that you don’t, you’re lying. My kids each go to a gymnastics class once a week. Noah’s class is called Ninja fit and they teach parkour (I had to Google it) and Avery’s in a 4/5-year-old class. Seriously, the longest 2 hours of my week. But they love it so I guess I can stand sitting on those hard benches for them. I know parents that have their kids at activities every day of the week. Basketball, soccer, gymnastics, dance, art classes, karate, blah blah blah. I think it’s a good thing to have an outlet, but I’m not going to be that mom that carts the kids from one activity to another while everyone whines about how they are tired, hungry, etc.
The days are long but the years are short. I am choosing to spend quality time with them, having conversations, playing games and doing puzzles (Avery’s favorite). I want to be able to spend an evening with Jimmy when the kids are staying with Gram. I want to be able to pick up and drive to see my family in Ohio without worrying about them missing a practice. We are choosing movie nights with popcorn. We’re going to lay in bed and make hand puppets.