Thursday, October 15, 2009

What day is it, and where am I going?

If you're a parent, you hear a lot about how today's kids are overscheduled and stressed, because they have too many activities and too much structured time. There's sports practices and games, clubs, music lessons,  tutoring, foreign language instruction...and I'm sure the little geniuses who participate in all these extracurriculars are going to beat out my kids when applying to Harvard. But I swore I would never be "That Mother", the one who gets caught up in the Kiddie Rat Race and ends up with exhausted, cranky children.

So, we put a "one sport per season" rule into effect when Derek was old enough to first express an interest in joining a team. He began happily playing soccer, alternating with baseball, year-in-year-out.  During those happy bygone days when he was the only sport-guy in the family, life seemed smooth and easy to organize.  But we had to go and encourage Riley to try out karate, so he would have something fun to do too.  Even then, the weekly agenda remained fairly manageable--one practice and one game for Derek, one karate class for Riley. 

Suddenly, several seemingly minor events occurred simultaneously, sending our carefully crafted plan into a tailspin: Riley turned 6, moving up a level in karate and adding one mandatory class per week; he also jumped wholeheartedly on the soccer bandwagon. (So much for our "one sport" rule.  Oh well.)  For those keeping track (wait, that would!) the current schedule goes something like this:  Monday karate class, Tuesday soccer practice, Wednesday karate class, Thursday baseball practice, (Friday nothing--whoo hoo!) Saturday soccer and baseball games.  (Sometimes I can't believe I only have 2 kids!)

Even though they love, love, love their chosen sports, by the end of every week the boys are dragging.  Fortunately for them, tomorrow happens to be a Teacher Workday, so they don't have school.  When I asked them what they want to do on their "vacation day", Riley turned to me with a hopeful look and suggested that we "be shiftless layabouts!" (I can thank their father for teaching them that useful phrase.  Where HE got it is a mystery.)  So there you go--my overworked children need some R&R... I predict Disney videos, hot chocolate, and a very competitive yet non-taxing game of Harry Potter Clue in our immediate future.  Happy Friday, indeed!

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