Monday, November 5, 2012

Soccer season is O.V.E.R.

Can I tell you how darn happy I am to have my Saturdays and evenings back?  2 kids, 2 evening practices and 2 games on Saturdays...yup O.V.E.R.!  And did I mention, my husband coaches both teams?  I do enjoy watching them play (aside from my daughter's double header in the 42 degrees and hurricane scale gusts of wind).  But, I do NOT enjoy the time commitment.  I do NOT enjoy the nagging to find the game shirt, or to get the shin guards and cleats on.  And I NEVER enjoy rushing around from practice to practice-game to game. I could never be an Olympic mom-I can barely hang on to "soccer mom" status.

However, I know many families with multiple kids, and each kid has several activities-and it works for them.  These kids are entertained,  happy and thriving.  The parents enjoy participating and watching their kids learn and perform. The family is a well oiled machine of who needs to be where and when and which parent is going with what child for each day of the week.

I just can't be this mom.

My kids are not these kids.

My kids like the idea of most things, but do not yet have the passion and drive to carry out a season or an 8 week class of any sorts. It ends up being me who is nagging them to get ready and go.  They poke and whine about how they don't want to stop what they are doing.  I have questioned my sanity many times after paying hundreds of dollars for an activity only to drag my kids out to the car- crying that they don't want to go.  If given the choice they will always pick staying at home vs going to any organized activity.

And I have to admit, not much of it appeals to me either...rushing through homework, scrambling to get ready, eating in the car, and being a slave to my kids' schedules.  I love the evenings when we have nothing going on.  I take great joy in watching my kids run outside, play with the neighbors, cuddle with their dogs, build Legos or pretend they're in a rock band.  I like giving them the choice to help me cook dinner, being able to go for a long walk and doing homework at a normal speed instead of setting a timer.  The pace of having nothing to do other than enjoy each others' company feels really peaceful to me (unless they are bored and fighting of course)!

On the flip side, I do appreciate what sports, music lessons and the arts do for kids.  They increase self-esteem, teach self discipline and develop positive social skills.  Studies have proven that sports and music actually improve kids' performance in school.  So I get it, there are certainly benefits! For each family and each kid within a family- the magic number and type of activity is varied based on how well they manage time (homework, chores, etc) interest in the activity, and amount of down time that is needed.

We all need to find our happy balance within our family unit-whether that is no activity or something everyday of the week.

It is a good thing my husband is motivated about getting our kids involved.  It is he who encourages our kids to get try new things and takes the lead on organizing our activity schedule.  For our family, our deal is that each child must participate in one, but no more than two activities. Soccer is over, but this week starts music lessons....wish me luck!  If it was left up to me, all winter I would sit in front of the fire and play board games or build snowmen in our yard!

How do you create a balance that works for everyone in your home?