Tuesday, May 03, 2011
When Seasons Collide
TW keeps a family calendar on the wall of the kitchen. Several days of this week are so full that she has had to draw arrows in the margins. We’re one step away from footnotes.
Meanwhile, the college has been dealing with unbloggable drama. I’ve been rushing home from putting out political fires to get changed and take one kid or the other to practice, writing blog posts on a netbook in a folding chair along the first base line.
Stop the madness!
Back in the day, I dimly recall, parents used to say to kids when they got home, “go outside and play.” I remember doing that, and I remember just walking over to a friend’s house on the spur of the moment and asking if so-and-so could come out and play. This was considered normal behavior at the time.
Somewhere between the 70’s and now, that stopped. And when all the local kids are involved in organized stuff, there’s nobody to go out and play with. Even if you individually opt out of the sports-and-activities gamut, you can’t escape its effects.
Maddening. And obviously unsustainable.
Wise and worldly readers, in the absence of a personal assistant, have you found a way to stay sane when seasons collide?
My second grade daughter is not involved in those types of sports (thankfully) and I am hoping her two younger brothers stick to things like scouts and swimming. The schedules of soccer, softball and baseball leave my head spinning, especially in homes where both parents work. I agree with you--it's insanity, even if it weren't one of the busiest times for college employees.
1) Put both children in the same sports. This works up to a points and halves the driving required! (It helps that we have two boys, so the soft/baseball dichotomy doesn't affect us)
2) Everyone in the family has their own Google calendar. My wife and I maintain the childrens' calendars, but all of the school events, sports events, scouting events, etc. go on there, along with the (few) things that we do ourselves. Key work events (travel, dinners, etc.) also make it on their. Then at the beginning of each month we "do the calendar" and make sure that all of our calendars are in sync and we have figured out how we will handle transport on the difficult nights (Thursday & Friday in our case).
At this point, you have to make the choice. Is the insanity worth the kids playing sports (insert other activity)? Is your family time only when you are in the car together?
I hope I don't have athletic kids. I'll still probably say no to sports until school aged. I have yet to see how 3 year olds on a soccer field accomplishes anything.
Today's economy sure makes that seem like a luxury. I guess that's why Congress imposed the marriage penalty tax on two-earner couples, it's where the money was.
I can't imagine the stress of having to get two children to two different sports on top of my own schedule, but I actually think you're doing something great for your kids. There should definitely be more time made for spontaneous play, but a little scheduled play is a good thing.
I found the map interesting.
Our trade-off has been perpetual under-employment for my husband, who trailed me here for my t-t job and has worked in a variety of jobs since. Not what you or TW want to hear, but it ends up being the only way to work around special-needs youngest's and academically-ambitious eldest's schedules as well as my own university obligations.
Try to remember this will pass. You're almost at the end of the crazy time, sport season only lasts so long, and even activism has its peaks and valleys.
Not sure how much it cost (in my area, I'm guessing $20 per hour now - then, it would have been less).
Careful scheduling, splitting up on overlapping games, finding someone that your kid can catch a ride home with if you have to leave mid-game or one parent is out of town - those were our survival strategies. We had 10 years of rec soccer across our two kids (8 years with both participating) and now that it's over, I actually miss it. I don't miss having something booked for every weekend, but I do miss the camaraderie, for me and for the kids.