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Growing up, we all played a sport and an instrument. Some of us did theatre, too. Some of us took dance. I don't remember after-school extra-curricular life being particularly hectic, but then, I wasn't the one schlepping everyone hither to thither and back. That? Was my mom.
Fast-forward to present-day life.
Sundays: The twins have gymnastics.
Mondays: Archer takes guitar (and Fable and I have alone time).
Tuesdays: Fable has dance after school (and Archer and I have alone time).
Wednesdays: Archer and Fable have play practice.
Fridays: Hebrew School
Thursdays and Saturdays are wide open.
They weren't always, though. There were a couple weeks when every single day was accounted for. Archer and Fable started piano lessons AND were also doing theatre on Saturdays. Which was too much. Financially, and also just time-wise. Like, what the hell is happening? How did we book so much shit? OH, RIGHT. There are four children. Who all want to do things. And there are only seven days in the week. And two parents.
Here's the thing: When you have four kids, you have to say no. A lot. You have to tell them, "Sorry but it's impossible" constantly.
You want me to come see you sing holiday songs? Hold on, your sister has a dance recital at that exact same time. What's that you say? You want me to chaperone your field trip? I already committed to doing another thing with another kid and, oh yeah, there's also work. Work and jobs. Deadlines. Meetings. Commitments to things that pay bills.
Anyway, I was having a conversation the other day with a friend who hasn't had a free weekend since the cold war ended because weekends are for sports games. And I started to thank the good lord above that none of my kids are into team sports because I don't think I could do that. I mean, yes, the twins do gymnastics on Sundays but that's just a 45-minute commitment at the same time every week. I don't know that I have it in me to do weekend sporting events, especially with more than one kid. I mean, I think if/when my kids ever want to play weekend sports, I might have to say no. Which sounds awful probably but weekends are sacred, man. Saturdays and Thursdays are SACRED.
And yet, if one of my kids REALLY wanted to spend their saturdays soccer/basketball/baseballing it up, I would respect that. But, also? Put my foot down. Because WEEKENDS are for spontaneous adventures and chill time.
And so, I ask you:
What happens when your child's passions rival your time/sanity/ability to schlep? How do you navigate that action? How do we SUPPORT our babes and their extracurricular wants and needs while also being realistic about time management and actually having a life?
With four kids, this is something I wrestle with constantly. I would love to hear from those out there who do, as well.