Every year I say I won’t do it. But then I do it anyway. Overschedule my kids. Are you the same?
It all starts like this:
A simple game of Tetris. My life. Probably your life, too. Just as you’re tossing your last dive stick into the pool and squeezing the chlorine out of your daughter’s too small bathing suit (was I really wearing string bikinis at age eight? I digress…) wondering why your tomato plants didn’t yield one damn piece of fruit, it all starts again. The alarm clock. The early morning madness. The late afternoon madness. The ballet. The soccer. The gymnastics. The yelling (yours; not mine). Which is why I really love summer, because even if you work and your days are still relatively full, your after-school hours aren’t, and it’s true — those after-school hours are witchy enough as it is, so add in the activities and you’re sitting on one huge heap of chaos (see, it always comes back to the title of the blog, according to that techie magazine article I read).
God forbid our kids should actually come home, do homework, empty the dishwasher, ride their bike around the block, play with the dog, or maybe just SIT THERE BORED FOR 20 30 40 (too much?) fine, 20 MINUTES. Noooooo!!!! This one’s doing this and that one’s doing that. This mom’s emailing me to ask/beg/plead if we can be on the same team/group/lesson together. And, okay, that actually looks fun, plus helps kids with hand-eye coordination but that other thing looks different and gosh, it sure would look great on a college application in 15 years, not that I’m thinking of that now, and oh my, here we go again!
How am I possibly going to get from Junior’s school to soccer practice by 5 while still having healthy snacks ready and an available place to change into clean (well, clean enough if I throw it in the dryer for five minutes) soccer uniform? Let’s see…if I move Junior’s math tutoring to the yellow square and take a client lunch out of the mix (red square) then I can push Junior 2′s green square doctor’s appointment to the blue square and re-insert client lunch on next day, but oh! That just messed up the eloquently devised carpool schedule I set up for Junior 2′s gymnastics (note to self, $100 expensive leotards from last year are now too small), which puts three yellow squares in the wrong box and Junior can ONLY go to soccer practice if we get another carpool going for gymnastics.
See, this is why adults should play video games. They help us to strategize plus blur our fried brains. I was always a Frogger fan myself, but that’s not helping me with my carpool schedule right now.
And yes, I know what you’re thinking. Sure, we can be rational and say this is absolutely absurd and no kid should be doing fifteen activities and when I was young I was doing one activity and walking uphill both ways in the snow and yes, the ‘Road to Nowhere’ has serious repercussions and our kids will all be anxiety ridden when they’re 30. But we do it anyway. Why???
Because we don’t want them to miss out.
Which now takes us to dinner. Dinner that we haven’t exactly incorporated into our little Tetris game. Dinner, which we kind of conveniently forgot about because it’s SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN WE’RE SITTING IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC.
But dinner is what this blog is supposed to be about. And so we must think about dinner. Dinner on the road. Dinner that’s not fat laden, fried, drive-thru with fries (but man, there’s nothing like drive-thru fries). What do you make to give them in between activities?
I may be a sucker and succumb to activities I swore I’d never sign up for, but I won’t succumb to drive-thru dinners 4x a week. Instead, I’ll make a monster vat of Greek Pasta Salad and bring it with me in the car. Triple this puppy and you’ll never have to cook again. Your kids will eat so much Greek salad they’ll hate it by the time they’re in high school. But you’re driving them to said 1800 activities. So they can’t complain.