Life with kids is inevitably going to be hectic and chaotic at times.
Especially once your kids get involved in sports and other extra curricular activities.
If you have one kid in one activity that is bad enough. When you have more than one kid over the age of five that’s when things can get a little bit out of control.
So for us with five school age kids at home between the ages of six and twelve and all of them participating in sports, it can be very busy.
A certain level of busyness is really unavoidable when you have that many kids if they want to do sports or anything beyond school.
It just comes with the territory.
But sometimes we make life so much harder for ourselves than we have to.
Every month I look over old posts I’ve written to see if there are any that are relevant from that month in years before that I can repost.
And something has become glaringly obvious.
In the past year our family has gone through a lot of changes.
Some of them were conscious and others I didn’t actually notice or realize until after the fact.
In reading these old posts, I am reminded of the level of insanity at which I was operating my life.
We had rec baseball and travel baseball and travel basketball and dance and soccer and not just one, but two swim teams. And through all of this I was coaching every evening.
It was insane.
One of the reasons I had the kids in so many things is because I wanted to give them opportunities. I wanted to give them experiences. I wanted to help them be well rounded and I wanted to give them a leg up.
And then it dawned on me.
Do they really need a leg up? And is overextending and overscheduling them giving them a leg up anyway?
I realized they didn’t need a leg up.
UP. UP, UP, UUUUUUP.
There was way too much up and not enough down.
No down time.
How do we help our kids develop into adults who truly understand the meaning of quality not quantity and the importance of self care and mindfulness if we do not model these things when our kids are younger?
How do we teach our kids that there are only so many things you can do — that maybe you can try everything but you cannot try it all at the same time — if we are not leading by example?
Deciding not to coach anymore was a big decision for me. It had become such an automatic part of my life that I never even dreamed of stopping. I never dreamed of stopping because there are many aspects of it that I love, but I also never dreamed of stopping because I was making a little bit of money from it and we were still not financially stable, so I didn’t want to give that up.
But coaching was one more pot to keep stirring and I had run out of hands.
And you know what has happened in the month that I have stopped coaching?
I have been able to focus more on my online business. And in the three weeks that I have not been coaching, I have been able to increase my monthly online revenue so that I am making twice as much as I was coaching.
I did that in three weeks.
Because eliminating one pot to stir has cleared up a disproportionately large amount of brain space.
It’s funny how clearing out your head and clearing out your calendar can have immeasurable benefits.
So maybe it has taken me five or ten years, but I am learning that when I spread myself too thin, I do a mediocre job at everything.
And I much more enjoy doing one or two things really well than doing an average job at multiple things.
After all, I am not your average mom.
So the paring down of my own personal activities and obligations is having a positive domino affect.
Because other areas of my life are improving.
And the kids are starting to remove their own spinning plates, too. I guess they are learning.
Number 6 asked to stop swimming. And instead of trying to convince him that he really wanted to and that it was good for him and that he had a lot of potential, I actually listened to him.
And he is done.
Number 3 told me he wanted to quit travel baseball. That was a hard one for me to let go of, but the reality is that we all have so much more time now that we don’t have multiple baseball practices every week and games every weekend. We have more time to spend together as a family.
And we all need that.
When I was a kid I remember wishing I could ice skate and ski well and I wished I could play the guitar.
So I have felt compelled to give the kids as many experiences as possible so they are “good” at as many things as possible.
But that’s not really about them. That’s about me.
That’s me projecting all the things I felt like I wasn’t good at when I was a kid onto them.
And the reality is you just can’t do it all.
Not at the same time, anyway.
For the first time, all the kids are not participating in multiple sports.
Number 7 wanted to play soccer and softball and she wants to do Taekwondo, but we didn’t sign her up for any of those. Number 5 wants to try figure skating and Number 6 wants to play ice hockey and do Taekwondo, too.
But right now we just can’t do it all. It’s too much.
Maybe someday they’ll be able to try those things.
And someday might not come until they are adults.
Another thing I have finally come to grips with is that my kids will be okay if they miss out on a season or two of a sport.
If Number 7 has aspirations of becoming a professional soccer player, her hopes and dreams will not be destroyed if she skips one season of soccer when she is six years old.
If Number 3 wants to go to the Olympics, missing a few swim practices when he is twelve won’t stop him.
And if Number 6 never really embraces sports at all, that is okay, too.
Perhaps the most important realization for me is that these activities we put our kids into aren’t supposed to cause them stress. They are supposed to help relieve it.
What has become glaringly obvious is that so many of us increase our level of chaos unnecessarily. We do it to ourselves.
And then we complain about the insanity of our lives.
I noticed this in another area the other morning.
I had scheduled a dentist appointment and an oil change for the car on the same day we had to drive over an hour to a swim meet later that afternoon.
I was not prepared, the house was a mess, and I woke up stressed and dreading my day.
You are supposed to feel refreshed when you wake up, not stressed out the second you open your eyes!
And another light bulb went off.
I am no longer willing to continue the practice of squeezing one more appointment/activity/meeting in between this thing and that thing and seeing how jam packed I can make my day.
There is no award for busyness at the end of your day.
There is no award for Number of Activities Scheduled.
So I’ve made an agreement with myself.
From now on, I will only schedule one thing per day. No more doubling up on appointments. IT’S TOO MUCH AND IT’S NOT FUN AND IT’S NOT NECESSARY.
I am done making my life not fun when it doesn’t have to be.
It doesn’t make me wealthier.
It doesn’t make me healthier.
And it doesn’t make me happier.
But slowing down sure the heck does.
I remember when I was a kid what my Sundays were like.
My brother and I would go to Sunday school, and then we’d come home. The whole family would be home. There was always a black and white Tarzan movie on channel 5 around noon, followed by at least one Laurel and Hardy movie.
And every Sunday we watched Tarzan and Laurel and Hardy. I remember lying on the floor of the living room and just chilling the f*ck out watching TV with my mom, my dad, and my brother.
I might go outside and play after that, but the day ended early, and by six pm we had eaten dinner, taken a shower, and gotten into our pajamas.
And then it was time to watch Wild Kingdom and The Wonderful World of Disney from 6 to 8pm.
Every Sunday was literally a day of rest.
Sundays were the best!
I love those memories of lazy Sundays with my family when I was a kid.
What happened to lazy Sundays???
If you have a kid who is involved in any sport, lazy Sundays can be a challenge.
So this past year I made the executive decision that nobody would do anything on Friday nights (unless it was unavoidable). Nobody went to swim practice. Number 3 and 4 went from six practices a week to five.
We needed a night where we were all home together and could decompress.
Instead of Lazy Sundays we had Lazy Fridays.
You know what happened?
Number 3 and 4 swam faster than they ever have. Cutting back on the number of practices they went to didn’t affect their performance.
And it gave us much needed quality down time.
Life was better with Lazy Fridays!!!
We all very much looked forward to them.
You know that feeling of getting home, taking you bra off, and putting your most comfortable clothes on?
That’s what Lazy Fridays felt like to all of us.
Now the way the schedule works out, we have Lazy Tuesdays. We don’t go to practice and I schedule nothing on a Tuesday night. And we all love Tuesday nights. A night free from chaos.
And I am working on reimplementing those Lazy Sundays. If there is no baseball or no swim meet, I am bringing Lazy Sundays back, too.
So Ladies. I am begging you.
If you are driving from place to place seven days a week, if you are spread so thin you cannot find a minute for yourself, if your life is a hamster wheel and you are exhausted and feel like you can never get your feet solidly underneath you, take a look at your life.
It does not need to be like that.
Especially if it is not making you happy.
Find a place to cut the fat.
You don’t need to do everything. Your children don’t need to do everything.
But sometimes, we all definitely need to do nothing.