Just the other day I was reflecting on the days when my oldest two children, who are two years apart, were young toddlers. I remember waking up and knowing that I had an entire day ahead of me, with relatively no plans, other than things we wanted to do! We made daily excursions to the park (most of the time with friends!), we went to the zoo regularly, we went to the library, and we went to the farmer’s market. Our biggest commitment during the week? We went to a Mom’s group at church, which actually met every other week! We didn’t have to run around to several different classes, sports practices, or other commitments each day. I cherish those days when the kids weren’t in school, and we just did things we wanted to!
Fast forward to today and I have two school aged children (1st and 3rd), one preschooler, and one baby on the way! Our daily schedule is now filled with homeschooling, extra curricular activities (art classes, Lego engineering class, etc), and sports practices! I remember when my kids were younger that I couldn’t wait for them to be involved in enrichment activities and sports, but now I realize that those days of little-to-no commitments were glorious!
So how does a busy homeschooling mom of three juggle all of these activities?
It’s definitely a balancing act and it also requires a sacrifice of time from all members of the family. Each of my three children are involved in one sporting activity and one enrichment class. I try to space the classes out over several days, and I always plan to leave two days a week completely clear of any structured classes and activities. This gives us the ability and freedom to take extended field trips for the day, enjoy a day at home, or spend a leisure afternoon at the park.
I love the benefit and growth that I see from having my children involved in their respective classes and sports. It is advantageous for children to be involved in a team sport to learn to work together, encourage team mates, and excel in their personal athletic strengths. It is also favorable to pursue enrichment activities like music, art, drama, and culinary arts. For example, my oldest daughter wants to be an artist and she takes art classes most of the year. I love seeing her grow in her artistic talent and witness her passion for creating works of art!
These are all good things, but the key is to have a good balance of:
- family time
- down time
If family time is sacrificed because of busy schedules, it’s worth considering scaling back to create time for family. I am realizing how quickly time is passing, and that my oldest is halfway to eighteen. I want to create times for our family to play board games, have popcorn and a movie night, and have bonding time. This can easily be pushed out of the way if one is overcommitted.
I hold the keys to the family schedule and can tweak it to meet the most important needs of our family.
Fortunately, there are several breaks throughout the year that the kids don’t have classes and/or sports. These are necessary times of rest for our family. We all need to have times of rest from a busy lifestyle to rejuvenate, to refuel, and to recover. Building in time into your family schedule for unstructured time is a great way to scale back on feeling overcommitted. Write it in your calendar and block out time several times a week to enjoy the unregulated time of freedom! You can block out a couple hours a few times a week, and even block out an entire day once a week!
A great book that talks about the three (yes, three!) answers to each question of commitment is “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst. I highly recommend it! The answer is never just “yes or no”!