fbpx

Life in the Slow Lane: Refusing to Live an Overscheduled Life

So often when I ask a mama how life is treating her, I get something to the effect of, “You know, busy.”  But why?  The most common justification of why someone is so busy is that they’re overscheduled. Activities every night of the week, weekend-long tournaments, and literally thousands of dollars in tuition, costumes, and equipment all put a lot of pressure on parents and, even more so, kids. Call me crazy, but I cannot think of a single thing that would make me want to spend an entire Saturday at a soccer tournament.

Life in the Slow Lane

Now ladies, please put those pitchforks down for a minute. If your kid is super crazy excited about a sport or activity, by all means, support it.  Activities that enrich our children’s lives and education are important. I know a ton of fantastic parents whose children thrive on lots of activity, so a fast pace works for them. Where we’ve drawn a line for our family is this:

If time spent at activities (and traveling to and from) negatively impacts our ability to spend time with our kids and actually parent them, then that’s a no-go for us. 

Our faith is very important to us and activities that take place on Sundays or conflict with other church activities are also a no-go. 

If our kids’ schedules limit the time they engage in free play and render them unable to deal with not being entertained 24/7, then we have to step back and evaluate whether our current level of busy-ness is working for our family or not. 

(If you’d like to read more on the benefits and drawbacks of extracurricular activities, check out these articles from the University of Wisconsin, UI Extension and the Cleveland Clinic

I spent too long thinking that good parenting meant being over scheduled; busy, broke, and exhausted. 

But I was exhausted. I was cranky. My kid was unhappy. We were unhappy. Financially, we couldn’t keep up with the demands of costumes, tuition, and travel costs for gymnastics or dance. 

So because something had to change, something changed. 

We spent more weeknights playing and reading, more weekends resting and going on adventures.  We put whatever extra funds we had toward family trips and activities. In all this space, it turns out that Big is insanely creative and can raid a recycling bin and come out with a Barbie Dream House a few hours later. She learns gymnastics and dance from YouTube and units at school. She takes piano lessons from her grandpa. Our perspective is that there will be time for our kids to get involved in extracurricular activities as they get older. I imagine Big will be in show choir, drama, and band as she gets older. She’s just made for that. I suspect Little will be into basketball, drag-racing, and skydiving. Help me, Jesus.

I’ve learned to recognize what works for my kids.

Because we’ve chosen public school for our kids, I know Big has plenty of structured time in her day. So much so, that she experiences a common phenomenon known as “restraint collapse” when she gets home. We’ve found that after school is not a good time for more activity. Homegirl needs a hot minute. Little is my introvert, and I see restraint collapse in her when we come home from a play date or church. She is done people-ing, so skydiving lessons will have to wait.  

I hope we get to a place in our culture where being absolutely overwhelmed, overscheduled, and exhausted aren’t seen as some sort of badge of honor. Where going into debt just so my kid has a chance at a competitive sport or art isn’t viewed as committed parenting.  I care that my kids turn out to be good humans and for us, that means less structured activity and more time to play. For someone else’s kids, that might mean structured activities and more opportunities to socialize. 

Thankfully, I’m learning to lay down the guilt of choosing a slower pace for our family.    


Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive CRMB posts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms Blog events and promotions!!


 

Mother’s Day Brunch & Events | In & Around Cedar Rapids

3
Celebrate Mother's Day in Cedar Rapids with a delightful brunch and a range of exciting events! Treat the special moms in your life to a memorable day filled with delicious food, fun activities, and...

Where to go Bowling | In & Around Cedar Rapids

2
Whether you're a seasoned pro or just looking for a fun night out, Cedar Rapids offers a range of bowling alleys to suit every style and skill level. From family-friendly atmospheres with bumper lanes...

3 Tips for Spring Allergy Management

4
As the vibrant colors of spring emerge, so do seasonal allergies, casting a shadow over the joy of the season for many. Here are 3 practical tips and strategies for moms and children to...

Spring Community Garage Sales in the Cedar Rapids Area

6
Spring in Cedar Rapids brings not only blossoming flowers and warmer breezes but also the eagerly awaited season of community garage sales. These local gatherings go beyond mere shopping opportunities, serving as lively reflections...

5 Tips for Container Gardening with Your Toddler

1
We’re officially in gardening season. Now, my thumb isn’t as green as I’d like it to be, but I still enjoy it. I’ve grown everything from strawberries, jalapenos and tomatoes to purple heirloom peppers,...
11,851FansLike
7,715FollowersFollow
382FollowersFollow
240FollowersFollow
940FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
 
Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox