I recently read an article that discussed the fact that mothers always feel as though they have to tackle everything-and I mean everything, from dishes to PTA meetings to that big company meeting-all at the same time. Because of this, we are often overtired, overstressed and depressed. We want to do it all, but we really can’t (seriously, we can’t . . . no one can!) and we beat ourselves up trying to.
One of the points in the article relates to mothers whose children are involved in a multitude of activities. Soccer, baseball, gymnastics, ballet, after school classes, plays, and the list goes on and on. We want our children to be involved because we know several things: involvement in activities keeps them busy, keeps them out of trouble, encourages them to meet new friends and opens their eyes to new interests.
Yet at the same time, we are not only overtaxing them by pushing them to participate in too much but we are of course overtaxing ourselves as well. For one thing, we are required to take them back and forth to every game, practice or class that we sign them up for, which can fill up several days if we have one child and the entire week if we have more. We’re also often expected to participate in some way, either by volunteering to do paperwork or by making brownies once a month. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you work full time and you have household duties to conquer, anything additional on an already full plate can lead to overflowing.
The article offers a few suggestions for those of you who are overinvolving your children in activities. First, let the child pick one activity that meets after school per semester. This gives the child an opportunity to get out and do something once or twice a week but it doesn’t overburden her or you in the process. Secondly, choose activities close to home. That gymnastics class that meets three towns over may be reported as the best one around, but if you have to drive forty five minutes one way to get to class, your time may be better spent finding someone nearby. Finally don’t feel as though your child always has to participate in classes that meet outside of the school. Sure, soccer is great and you love to go and cheer on a Saturday, but it’s also ok to have your child take a semester off, especially if he has been feeling overwhelmed with his already full schedule. Not only will he enjoy the break, but this will also enable you to spend more time at home as a family.
As mothers, we have to remember that sometimes, the most important thing we can teach our children is that it is okay to relax and unwind.