We are on our second week of summer.
But it feels like the second month of summer. At least.
My work schedule combined with the kids’ swim team and baseball schedules is out of control.
Yesterday I was sure it was Friday.
When I realized it was only Wednesday, I found myself wondering not just how I was going to make it to the weekend, but how I was managing to function when I literally had no idea what the hell day it was.
With five kids, even if they are all involved in the same activity, things are going to be challenging.
But we are going at a ridiculous pace.
I have recognized this, and once this swim season ends in August, I am going to make some changes which will simplify life a little bit.
But until then, for the next six weeks, life is going to be crazy. Crazier than normal. Crazier than necessary.
I am stressed out and burning the candle at both ends. And then I started getting more stressed. Because there is a second swim team we swim haven’t even started yet, and I was breaking my back trying to figure out how I was going to make it happen.
For the past five years, every summer, my kids have swum on not only the Y swim team, but also the town swim team.
The town swim team swims at the lake in the summer and it’s the first team my kids ever swam on and they love the team and I love it too. It’s a great starter program, and it’s where all my kids began swimming.
And even though it’s fairly low key, it’s a big time commitment, and getting to the practices and the meets is much more difficult this year than it has been in years past.
So yesterday as I was losing my shit trying to figure out how I was going to get everyone to their practices, I remembered this picture I saw recently:
And the light bulb went off.
The kids don’t have to swim on town swim team.
Then the devil on my other shoulder chimed in.
But we owe it to the program.
They’ve always done it!
This is a tradition!
It’s not fair to Number 7!
There were plenty more thoughts that ran through my head. More reasons why we couldn’t just simply not swim on two swim teams this summer.
And then I came to my senses.
What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t do the second goddamn swim team, you dumbass!
Once I had that revelation, once I took that responsibility, that added burden off of my shoulders, everything immediately became lighter.
And the feeling of not having to worry about another thing was much more gratifying than the feeling of squeezing more shit into my day and checking more items off my to-do list.
I thought the kids would be bummed. I thought they’d be really disappointed.
But you know what?
When I told them the town swim team wasn’t happening this year, you know what they said?
Why did it take me so long to come to my senses? Why didn’t I realize that doing this second swim team in the summer was not compulsory?
Where had I convinced myself that there was no choice? That the kids wanted and needed to be a part of it?
I have no idea.
Sometimes I guess you mindlessly do what you’ve always done. No matter what.
So we will not do two swim teams this summer.
It’s just too much.
While all of us will miss parts of it, all of us are relieved to have one less thing to worry about. One less thing to drive to. One less thing to pack bags for.
And this is one area where I really want to improve as a parent.
I think it is natural for us to want to give our kids opportunities. Especially opportunities we never had ourselves.
And we want them to be good at everything.
But you know what?
You can’t be good at everything, and you can’t do everything.
You just can’t.
And this is a lesson I want my kids to learn. A lesson I need my kids to learn.
In life you have to make choices. You have to figure out what is most important to you, and then accept that the other things you want to do that are further down on the list just can’t happen right now.
Not if you don’t want to lose your goddamn mind.
Slowly but surely I’m figuring this out.
And if I can help my kids learn to make choices and to avoid completely overloading themselves before they reach their forties, well, then I’ll consider that to be one of my biggest accomplishments.