I’m writing this the day after carefully inputting all of the dates and times of all of the upcoming Spring and Summer kid activities and events into the Google calendar that I recently had to start using to keep track of my life. Everything is color-coded by child (yellow, orange and green in birth order) and looks super fun and organized. And yet, whenever I think about what is to come, I am filled with dread.
You see, I am a homebody.
But not only that, I loathe structure in my non-work time. I despise being busy. I intensely dislike traveling. Not a fan of late evenings. I don’t organize play-dates. Crafts or scheduling outings for my kids? No, thank you. I realize I am likely in the minority here, and this does not mean that I disagree with parents who choose these things – quite the opposite. We all get to choose the lifestyle that works best for us (until we have children who force us outside of our comfort zones!!). I recognize that loads of people thrive on many or all of the things that I don’t like to partake in. What is too much for me is not too much for everyone.
For 9 years as a parent, I was able to successfully avoid the super-scheduled-super-busy lifestyle that dominates our culture. As a human, I very much value rest, relaxation, and a LOT of unstructured time. Like…alot. For myself AND for my children. This has served me well over these years, and I think it has served them well too. But by the looks of all of the multi-colored dots on my Google calendar for April, May, June and July…
Those days are over.
Last year, two out of three of my children expressed their desire for engaging in extracurricular-activities for the first time, so I dipped my toe in the water of this lifestyle. It was a lot to adjust to, but I admit there were some pretty cool and unexpected benefits. It sure was fun to watch my middle guy gain confidence, learn new skills and develop friendships on the football field. And I loved watching as my oldest nurtured her inner fishy and faced her fears at every swim meet.
This Spring and Summer, the schedule is ramping up in a way that I have yet to experience as all three of my kids are involved with at least one activity. There are many evenings that we will have to split up in order to make everything work and the things that I look forward to during these seasons…gardening, porch sitting, connecting with friends, and family time will all have to take a backseat to the busyness that we are taking on.
I’m keeping in perspective that as with everything in parenting – this is a season. There will be lessons to learn, growth (for all of us!) and benefits that I can’t even foresee right now. Perhaps decreasing the quantity of our time together will increase the quality of our time together. We can still talk about our days and laugh and joke in the car, or while sitting in the freezing cold or sweltering heat at games and practices. And, I know it will bring a new appreciation for the time I do have at home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
To my fellow homebodies – how are you managing and balancing the strong desire to be home with the desires of your family to be out and about?
Seasoned mamas – how do you continue to build in family time when the entire family is going in different directions?
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