There is literally one night in the seven-day week we are all home as a family.
And that’s a Tuesday.
Every other night (and most days) there’s something on the calendar.
Sunday there’s Sunday school, church and Sunday night life groups. On Monday, there’s flag football games. Wednesday – church. Thursday – one kid practices flag football while the other practices soccer. Friday – Matt typically watches the varsity football Mt’neers (specifically our nephew, Payton) and Kadence practices volleyball. Saturday – Kadence has soccer games.
Then, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Until strep throat hits. Like it did last week.
We all went down like dominoes. First Kadence, then Matt and Rylan and Bella and finally me. Masen (as of this writing) has not been affected.
But Friday night, when we were all sitting around watching TV together I realized how overbooked we are. And the sad part is that we intentionally try NOT to overbook ourselves.
Honestly, I think we just made some rookie mistakes.
Never did I realize that every school night we would be spending at least an hour completing homework and reading projects. Then rush to eat dinner. Then rush to go to that evening’s activities.
When we signed up for all this stuff I just didn’t do all the time multiplication in my mind.
We only have two kids in activities, with three in homework-producing school. Surely we can handle a few sports (and then practices and games, etc. etc.).
Boy was I wrong.
I don’t believe in life like this because it’s not really life.
When people are not home because they are practicing or we are all grumpy because we are tired from running here and there and getting to bed late and getting up early, it’s not life.
At least not the life I envisioned.
So, what can we do about it now? Is there any way we can stay sane in the years to come when the other two join in the extracurricular activity frenzy?
The only “answer” I can see is to define our priorities clearly and then base decisions on them from here on out.
First of all, Matt and I both agree that schoolwork is a priority above all sports. No question.
But family should be above all.
It’s hard (if not impossible) to cultivate family memories and family ties when we are being pulled different directions as soon as we walk back into the house after being in different places all day.
As I look down the path we are starting on now, it seems the busyness is going to continue and probably get worse and then the kids will be gone.
I recognize this is the American norm, but I only get one family, one life. Time is the most precious commodity on earth. Irreplaceable. I refuse to follow a certain path only because it is well worn and seems to be inevitable. If Matt and me are going to veer off in a new direction, it will have to be an intentional and possibly uncomfortable shift.
Right now, though, we are going to finish up this sports season by the skin of our teeth. And when the enrollment forms start rolling around for the next round, we will have to make some tough decisions based on our priorities and NOT on the fear of disappointing the child.
At the end of the day, at the end of their childhoods, at the end of our lives, I want us all to look back on the path our family chose and cherish it. I don’t want it all to have been such a blur of activities there was no time to focus on each other.
It takes time to live life right. To live it fully. Not full of activities. But full of each other.
Categories: Life on the farm
My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.
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