When the older boys were just toddlers we were friends with a family that had three pre-teen children. The one message we heard from them constantly revolved around how busy they were keeping up with the kids’ schedules.
They quickly became the anti-example for our family. Hubby and I looked at each other and nodded sagely that we’d NEVER allow life to get so busy that it was constantly stressful. What they were doing, running from one activity to the next, was just crazy.
Now we have pre-teen children. And now we are awfully busy with sports and Scouting and church and 4H and volunteering, all on top of school requirements. Oh, and piano. They’re all learning to play the piano.
So are we too busy? We strive for balance. Keeping boys occupied tends to keep them out of trouble, but we don’t want to be overwhelming. Right now the younger boys have evening commitments once or twice a week, while the older boys have two or three evening commitments weekly. It is working out that the adults have something to do 4 nights a week to make it to all the boy stuff, and frequently activities overlap so we’re having to do some interesting juggling to make it all work.
Because they’re homeschooled, the boys usually have time every afternoon to play. In addition they usually take a healthy recess at lunch time and go outside to jump around and blow off some energy. Piano is done during the schoolday. 4H is only once a month.
This is the first year that we’ve encouraged the boys to branch out and choose the sport or activity they want. Up until now, keeping up with different choices was more than Hubby and I could mentally manage. Now, it doesn’t seem too hard. Tiring. Occasionally confusing. But not too hard.
Have we turned into the anti-example for someone else? It’s interesting how much I want to support the boys in their pursuits. Going to a practice or a game when I could be at home getting my own todo list done doesn’t seem nearly as much of an imposition as it did when our friends were describing it. I know that while the days seem long, the years are going to be short. We only get to do this once.
Keeping life balanced is a huge value around here, and I hope that we look back someday and think, “Yea, that worked out well.”
(click on the Subscribe link to have each and every Forever Parenting post sent directly to your inbox – what a time-saver!)
Photo graciously provided by jurvetson, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved