How do I know when my kids are doing too much? There are times when I ask myself that question a lot!
When the topic of extra curricular activities, after school activities, and burnout was suggested for this blog, I was all over it! I knew I could write about this all day and not even break the tip of that iceberg! Extra curricular should be my middle name! I have often been referred to as “one of those moms,” usually included with a look that says “you must be crazy, how do you do it all?”
I’ve been called Soccer Mom, Crazy, Amazing, Super Mom… You get the point. Growing up I never had an opportunity to play sports, or take part in any extra curricular activities for that matter. So one of my decisions as a parent was to give my children the opportunity to try anything and everything that interested them. This has become a double-edged sword in my life, and at times a recipe for disaster.
This Spring and Summer have been the busiest we’ve been in over two years. And the last three months have been exhausting. As I’m writing this I realize I’ve spent the last week that was intended to be a “resting” week doing household chores, catching up on ministry stuff, babysitting, writing, editing photos, and taking very little time for myself. Shame on me. But honestly, I’m glad to be keeping busy. It makes me feel like my life is normal again, after hardly any extra curricular activities for so long. It’s good to be “back in the saddle” so to speak. So just to give you a glimpse into my last few months of our crazy extracurricular life, this is what it looked like on a weekly basis, and sometimes many of these activities took place on the same day.
*Swimming lessons for the younger two Monday thru Friday for an entire month.
*Baseball two to three days a week for the youngest boy. Tournament week was crazy and it was stormy a lot that week as well!
*Four 4H projects to complete, and turn in before Fair. Not counting actual Horseless Horse show at the Fair.
*Fair. For us it was only one day since we don’t actually own animals to show.
*My oldest son is in Boy Scouts and we were preparing to send him off to camp for ten days. Plus he has a part time job working for his Dive coach.
*By the way the older two kids have Diving Club once a week.
*My oldest daughter just began her babysitting career and babysits under adult supervision since she is only 11. I drive her there, of course.
*Church and youth group on Sundays.
* I also managed to run a 5K with my oldest son right before he left for camp.
Yes our life is busy to say the least. At times it may have been bordering on insanity. I actually put our “we can’t play” sign on the door and left it there for an entire week just so we could complete the 4H projects. If I hadn’t, I’m sure I would’ve experienced a full blown panic attack! Burn out was close at hand, and it very well could’ve been a crash and burn of epic proportions!
That said, here are some tips to avoid burn out of the extra curricular activities (if possible!):
Avoid Extra Curricular Activities Burn Out By…
- First evaluate your schedule. Are there too many things on your list to accomplish without losing many hours of sleep? Or your mind? Do you have something going on every day?
- Second, if there are too many activities, take a hard look and decide what’s important and what isn’t. Eliminate the non-important extras. You don’t have to please everyone all the time.
- Third, how do the kids react to your schedule? Are they excited about the daily activities or do they cry and beg to stay home and skip out on the extra curriculars they “so badly” wanted to sign up for? My only rule for activities is that they must follow thru with their commitment. They never have to do it again if they don’t want to, but we don’t skip out before its over. It’s a great integrity teaching opportunity. We have only had a few instances when I’ve pulled them from an activity because of school performance (school comes first). Or another time when one child was kicked by a coach.
- Fourth, how do you as the parent handle all the taxi driving, schedule following, gear toting responsibilities? Are you easy going and well organized? Or are you on the verge of becoming “mommy dearest?” I always knew I was stressed out when I began yelling at my kids. And that usually meant I was getting burnt out and needed a break. Our family rule had always been one activity at a time. No doubling up on sports and any extras. Having four kids and now homeschooling has changed that a bit. I’m always on the lookout for activities that they can all do together, but because of their varying ages I’ve had to tweak this rule a bit, by making them take turns at times.
- Lastly. Make time for family togetherness. We normally designate two days a week to strictly being at home all day, doing school work, resting, snuggling, and not going ANYWHERE! This is what has really saved my sanity.
I knew I had over-scheduled our life the last few months. But in true “super mom” fashion I had to prove I can do it all. Be willing to admit when you can’t do it all. I’m not always good at that. It has only been by the grace of God that I have managed these last few months so well. I purposely planned this as a rest week knowing I would need it. I’m pretty sure I will need another week! After all, I now need to start focusing on planning our upcoming school year!
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Tags: family time