The Overscheduled Family

Four years ago around this time of year, I drove 40 miles round trip twice a week to take my daughter to basketball practice.  Our small rural town didn’t have a basketball league for elementary age students.  So, of course, the next year I started one.  I did it all myself: advertising, sign-ups, gym schedules, jersey orders, taking money at the door, concession, taking the score book, and running the clock.  It sucked, and then I cried.  I even missed several of my own daughter’s away games because I was stuck running the gym…usually for seven hours each Saturday.  I did it for the children, right?

Last year, my daughter played spring and fall soccer, basketball, and spring softball.  She gave up softball this summer.  After I mourned the money we had just spent on new equipment, I heard a choir of angels sing, and it was glorious.  I also ran the elementary basketball league last year, but we moved our home games to a church about 15 minutes away.  I didn’t have to worry about taking money at the door, concession, taking the score book, and running the clock.  It was pretty awesome.

This year, my daughter plays basketball with the middle school and my son is too young to play in the basketball league, so I passed the baton to another (unsuspecting) family.  Again, the skies opened, and those angels began to sing a jazzy hymn while they fist bumped one another.  It was awesome.  However, we like to fill that time now with new pursuits like band and the robotics club.

This fall, I enrolled my daughter in soccer, but I thought all-day Kindergarten for my son and soccer practice would be too much.  I can’t tell you the number of times we would drive to soccer practice in seasons past, and he would fall asleep every.stinking.time.  One day, during one of my daughter’s first soccer practices this fall, another coach asked if I would be interested in coaching a team of five and six year old girls because they didn’t have anyone to coach them.  I thought that if I could schedule their practices at the same time as my daughter’s, it would be no big deal.  Sure, there might be some conflicts with my daughter’s games, but it was ok.  They needed me!

I agreed and told my husband when I got home.  Famous last words, folks, famous last words.  “So you agreed to coach a team of strangers, and your son isn’t even playing?” he asked.  “Well, yeah.” I stammered.  I finally saw his point, and I enrolled my son in soccer.  His registration was free because I was coaching.  That was probably the only positive thing I can say about committing to three teams.  It was like basketball league all over again.

We eventually made it through soccer season.  I had an assistant coach step up and help out so I didn’t miss too many of my kid’s games.  I still did miss some of those games, though.  It didn’t suck that bad, and I didn’t cry.  I did learn an important lesson about the power of the word “No” and how I should put it in the forefront of my mind when I am scheduling time with or away from my family.  Keep it simple.  This is my new motto.

My little team of 5 and 6 year old girls didn’t win a single game.  They played hard against teams of 6 and 7 year olds, and I was extremely proud of them.  I would often get hugs after games and practices, and I even got some of the shy ones to open up.  It wasn’t all bad.  I even got this card at the last game.

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4 thoughts on “The Overscheduled Family

  1. Good on you for stepping in, but also being aware that it’s too much.
    You did a really good thing, but not necessarily the right thing for you.
    I have a tendency to do the same thing. You husband’s reaction founds just like mine’s.
    I had to step off one committee this year because I needed to distance to stop saying yes to everything. I still managed to volunteer myself to run a Christmas gift drive though!

    1. I did a Christmas drive at work once, too. The gifts were for some of our single mom minimum wage employees. It was so worth it! I think one of the biggest problems with women is the struggle to do the right thing vs. the right thing for yourself.

      1. I agree. I’m going to share this in a Facebook group I belong to full of women (mostly) trying to slow down. I tink you capture what many people struggle with.

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