Yesterday I read a magazine article about over-scheduled, overworked, stressed-out kids. Our society is continually on the run. We go, go, go from one activity to the next. Like rats in a maze, our families continually race after the next piece of cheese and our kids suffer the inevitable fallout from the crazed frenzy of busyness.
Why do we do it? What's the purpose of it all?
I hate to say, but I've especially noticed this competitive striving at our son's new school. Since September I've been shocked to see the blatant competition between parents. Totally shocked. In particular, I am surprised by the thinly veiled battle for "alpha mom" status among a few of the women:
My son is taking swimming lessons on Monday. He does soccer on Tuesdays, followed by piano in the evening, karate on Wednesdays, and he attends Kumon every Friday. Yes, it's a bit rushed but he just loves it all. He catches a nap in the van between soccer and piano...
Did your child receive the treat bags I made for the class? It was nothing, really. Just a little something I whipped up at the last minute. My son's birthday is coming up quite soon, so keep your eyes open for his birthday invitations. We'll be renting a terrific bouncy house for the party...
Praise the Lord and pass the alka-seltzer. Are these women for real? Our children are in kindergarten, for Pete's sake. Kids do not need a million activities to pad their elementary resumes. They don't care about who's mom makes the nicest treats for the class. They need plenty of unstructured time to play and explore. They need space to think and to rest.
And so do their moms and dads, apparently.
Ben and I try very hard not to over-schedule our kids. We are not involved in a million things. At the moment, ballet is our family's only extra-curricular activity. (One class per week.) We recognize it's still early in the game, but we plan to keep our family's pace slow and centered around the home. Our kids will not be shuttled from one activity to the next.
Further, I will not enter the competition to be "alpha mom". In my past life I got caught up in being the top of the class, aiming for perfection, involving myself in a host of activities. It was unhealthy and destructive. I do not plan to relive that life through my children today. I don't need to feather my "mom cap" with all my kids' accomplishments.
We will slow down. Relax. Take time to breathe. What's the hurry?
Ben and I plan to let our kids just be kids. Childhood is precious and short. Our kids will bloom in their own time, when they have had opportunity to grow and learn. Our children are blessed. They have fun siblings to play with, toys and games and puzzles and crayons, books to read, a huge field to play in. It's more than enough.
No rat race for us. We don't live next door to the Jones'.