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Lynda Loveland: Here, there, everywhere!

Posted August 29, 2012

Lynda Loveland

My kids are in year-round school so they’re already pretty well adjusted to the schedule. But with the recent start of extracurricular activities, AKA soccer, things are starting to come apart at the seams.

My youngest plays Y soccer. That means practice on Thursdays and games on Saturdays. My two oldest play with the Triangle Futbol Club, so practices are Tuesdays AND Thursdays plus games on Sunday. The oldest also has karate on Wednesdays and the youngest is begging me to start gymnastics. That translates into kid “stuff” five days a week, so far.

Until now I considered it an accomplishment to organize a meal plan for the week. Now I gotta throw in carpooling, kids eating dinner at different times and making sure the kids get their homework done when they’re barely home!

I know a lot of you have been doing this for years and you have it down to a science. Science wasn’t my strong subject.

It’s taking some time and hair pulling to work out a system. I’m a couple of weeks in and I think I’m getting close … or not.

Dinner-wise, I’m trying to make casseroles and Crock-Pot meals. Trying to make extra and freeze it. I hate the days when we can’t all eat together.

Thank goodness for carpooling! But there’s still a lot of extraneous running around.

And the homework thing, which is the most important thing, is killing me! There’s no time Tuesday and Thursday after school for the kids to get it done. It’s 7:30 p.m. when they get home and then it’s dinner, bath, book and bed. I’m trying to get them to do it after school while they’re waiting for the bus.

It’s just crazy! It feels like everything is rush, rush, rush! I told them if they can’t get their homework done or they get cranky because of their schedule, soccer will have to go. After school activities are important, but not at a price.

So many families seem to have a similar schedule or one even crazier. How do you keep your sanity and make it all work???

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill and Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to find her on Facebook.


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  • carousel mom Aug 30, 2012

    I too have 3 kids and we had to put a limit on activities (1 each); even still we end up with something every night of the week. My oldest son plays baseball (2 practices per week, 2 games per week), my daughter does gymnastics (twice a week) and my other son has scouting (and soccer in the fall only). Throw in choir practice for me and a husband that works 2 nights a week, it's a wonder we ever see each other. Somehow we make it work. It takes a lot of coordination and our family calendar looks like a pen threw up on it, but we make it work.

    Homework is first before activities begin. We always put homework first. If school work/grades slip, activities go away. I know it's not good to take away physical activity, but school has to come first.

    As for dinner I try to plan ahead too. The crock pot & casseroles are the greatest inventions ever. Breakfast dinners seem to work good too, are fast, and everyone really likes them.

  • Objective Scientist Aug 30, 2012

    I have 3 grandchildren via by daughter and son-in-law, ranging from pre-school to early middle and early high school. Both my daughter and son-in-law work full-time jobs. My observations regarding the topic/content of this article: My daughter and son-in-law, in their non-work time, are CONSTANTLY "on the road" with regard to the kids' activities. The number of miles they put on their vehicles annually - is incredible. The kids are doing their homework/studying in the vehicle while being shuttled from one post-school activity to another. Weekends are barely different. Although they rarely, if ever, complain about it - I fear my daughter and son-in-law are being "burned out" by the pace. I also believe that my grandchildren, even though they love all the extra-curricular activities and being "on the go", would like to have and would benefit from at least some "down time". All in all, it comes down to prioritizing and being reasonable/pragmatic. Making choices and saying "NO" is a must!!

  • blahblahblah Aug 30, 2012

    I agree with many other posters. When my kids were young, they did church youth group on Sunday evenings, bowling on Saturday mornings and they could pick one other activity for during the week, whether it was scouts or a sports team. I don't believe kids need to be occupied 24/7 with outside activities. They can't give their all to everything and something is bound to suffer.

  • DWH4sure Aug 30, 2012

    My daughter is in 5th grade, and this is the 3rd year we've managed 2 sports. She has dance Mondays and Wednesdays, and soccer Tuesdays and Thursdays (we're also with TFC). She gets her homework done when she gets home from school, has her dance/soccer bags packed the night before so there's no running around looking for stuff, and I cook quick-n-easy dinners either before or after practice. My husband and I both work full-time, so we do rely on carpooling (for soccer). I only have one kid, so I've definitely got it easier than families with more than one child, but for us it all comes down to organization. I think we're teaching our daughter the benefit of planning ahead. We are absolutely firm on one thing, though: if her grades start to suffer, she gives up one sport. So far, she's been able to handle it all very well.

  • carleerules123 Aug 30, 2012

    Being a sinkle mom who works full time, I also had to go with the "choose 1 EC activity". Crock pot, making ahead of time & freezing worked well for us - I seldom did take out/drive through, mainly because of expense issues. Their dad did what he could however was out of the country for 9 months & then I had to rely on teammates/neighbors/friends as my family doesn't live here. Best of luck on figuring out what works best for you & your family!

  • SaveEnergyMan Aug 30, 2012

    I know you'll do the right thing for your family, but remember that it's OK to pull the plug if things are too crazy or the family can't manage the schedule. You are the adult and must do what's best for all. They may not like it, but in the end you have to do what's best. Don't make excuses either way.

    Also, don't get caught up in what everyone else does. Too many people overcommit the kids because everyone is too It is almost a cult in some circles. Do what you think is right and don't worry about the Jonses.

    Not trying to say to downsize, but you don't need permission from anyone to do what you need to. The kids will grow up fine either way.

  • hodgesfour Aug 30, 2012

    We do all our cooking on the weekends so that we only have to warm food up during the week. That has been a life saver for us and almost totally gotten rid of fast food dinners.
    We also have a rule that it's church, scouts (if they choose to do scouts) and 1 other activity. Otherwise, it gets too crazy for all of us. My son has started the early College program this year and has elected to do church and scouts and nothing else to make sure he is able to keep up. If he is, he says he'll add basketball in the winter.
    Working full time and having the kids involved is always a struggle. Thank God I have a husband who I can tag team with. I feel most for single parents who do not have that back up system.Good luck!

  • missparrothead Aug 30, 2012

    Its a big challenge, Linda! Even if each child is in one activity weekly, and you have 2 kids (in my case), that equates to 4-6 commitments/week. We have generally limited activities to 1 sport at a time, and have added Y Guides/Princesses, and church youth group with that. Now that my son is in middle school, he then has school commitments- band concerts, play practices. There are times when I "freak out" like my other full time working mommy friends. Meal planning is a big help- delay bake oven dinners, crock pot, or cooking extra on weekends. Easiest thing to do is alter your mindset so you realize that you have a full life, and this is the way it is. It sounds like your kids are doing more chores- another big ++. You will know your family "boundaries" and then draw the line. You and your family have to have down time, or its just not healthy. I love your blogs, as I can completely relate.

  • bjgupton Aug 30, 2012

    We too made the decision, that other than activities at church, our children could do only one more activity until they were old enough to be responsible for all that it takes to do extra curricular activities(like keeping up with the schedule and keeping us informed on these schedules, also making sure they had the items they would need for this). Usually about middle school they added one more. And having time to be children and have some down time was important as well. But this is what my children chose as they got older too, because they realized the need for time to rest and refresh. some families are able to handle more activities and some are not. Just like everything else in life, families must find that happy medium that helps them to thrive. Best wishes that your schedules will become the norm for all of you.

  • Killian Aug 29, 2012

    For our family, we only allowed one sport/activity per season until they hit middle school, and then they were allowed two. This was partially for them - we felt they needed time to just hang out with their friends, read, chill, whatever. We also felt like their education would suffer if homework and studying was some rushed afterthought. But I have no trouble admitting - it was also for us. We work full time, and we felt that the constant running every evening and then all weekend, with rushed meals and little time spent all together, that the family relationship would suffer. Our fatigue and stress would increase, and that can lead to a lack of patience.

    Please don't think I'm trying to judge - not at all. Every parent has to make whatever decision is best for his or her own family. That was just the way we approached it.