I haven’t filled out my kitchen dry erase calendar for the month of May yet, and it’s May 10.
Filling out the calendar is typically a chore I take care of right away because it helps me keep my head on straight and make sure everyone gets where they’re supposed to. But I’ve put it off this month because the month of May for a news editor of three small town newspapers is kind of a nightmare. Also because somebody ran off with my four dry erase markers, but I digress…
Seeing every day filled with some end of the year activity or graduation related event gives me anxiety. Between covering these events in other towns for the newspaper and trying to establish due diligence to my own kiddos, it’s madness.
There are different stages of busyness throughout motherhood.
Right now, I’m in the toddler and early elementary trenches. My 18 month old remains in motion from the moment he gets up until nap time. He takes a (very) brief break to recharge and then he’s ready to run again until bedtime. Little boys are just a whole, exhausting package of energy. If I could bottle that energy, I’d be a millionaire.
My elementary kids are early enough in their school careers that we haven’t totally hit the sports tournaments every weekend and after school activities every night of the week.
I can take credit for some of that though. I made a deliberate choice to not sign my kiddos up for every activity they can possibly be in.
When I was in school, my parents did the same thing. I wasn’t in all of the activities and I was allowed to attend one athletic event at the school per week in my upper elementary years. I was pretty sure it was a form of child abuse at the time and I was being left out of everything.
Our family spent a lot of time at home during those years because for one, my mom was super outnumbered. At one point, she had three kiddos under three so going places required a lot of logistics and luggage.
What I learned from my parents’ strategy is I didn’t miss a darn thing from not being involved in every activity there ever was. At the time, they couldn’t tell me that because as a super emotional pre-teen, I was convinced my life was over because I missed a few basketball games.
My kiddos each picked one activity during the school year to participate in. My daughter also picked up basketball when it started and my son will do the same.
This summer, they each signed up for baseball and softball, respectively. They were allowed to pick one other thing to occupy their time during the week. My daughter will also go to church camp and they’ll also attend vacation Bible school.
At this time in my life, my preference is having a few irons in the fire, but to overall stay as uncommitted as possible. When I talk to some of my mom friends, they tell me about how they’re driving all over the countryside, taking their kids to all of the things under the sun. It makes my head spin and stresses me out for them!
Our choosiness in the activities we allow them to participate in allows us ample family time at this stage. I really love our evenings together.
My favorite part of the whole day starts around 5:30 p.m. My husband gets home from work and we jump in the UTV and go check crops. Or drive around the section. Or take the dog for a run.
It doesn’t much matter where we drive to or what we do. Our whole tribe piles in and we just do something. Sometimes it’s a typically mundane task like cleaning up the yard but I can’t get enough of this current stage of our life.
I promised myself I would sit down today and write all of the craziness on the calendar and we will trudge through this month of end of the year activity. I’m hanging on for summer and those unspoken for evenings where we get to hang out at home.
I know eventually we’re going to move on to games and tournaments and our kids will be busy with extra-curriculars. I’m not wishing for it because we will lose this fleeting stage where we get to spend time together at home.
I’m also not dreading that stage where we will follow them to their activities, because that’s a different sort of fun. I enjoy watching them have fun with their friends and grow their confidence.
But for now, I’m savoring our stay at home busyness and try not to think about how these nights will be numbered once we progress to the next stage. I’m soaking it in.
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