A Whole Lotta Babble
It’s midnight and I should totally be sleeping.
Moms aren’t always known for their good choices, are we?
These past two weeks have been some serious crazy. Five kids and a mom sick with four different things: strep, stomach virus, ear infection and my personal favorite, fever of unknown origin. Throw in some breathing problems, plantar warts and nasty foot infections I’m just about D-O-N-E with winter 2015. In hindsight, buying stock in penicillin and bandaids would’ve been smart.
But this post isn’t going to bore you with antidotes of the infirmed. Nobody needs to read that.
No, instead I’m just going to hit you with my late night/early morning musings.
On Tuesday, a girlfriend and I loaded up our three oldest (plus sweet Gianna) and headed to Houston for the day. My Texan friends will completely understand, but my non-Texan readers? You need to know that the “quick trip” to H-town involved seven hours of driving and eight hours of a cooking competition. Yes, it was a long 15-hour day. But totally normal in the great Lone Star state.
The things we do for our kids.
It was on that drive home, though, that Tanja and I had some serious facetime and we chatted about everything: the awesomeness of Bucee’s, family cray, diapers, the beauty of Tim McGraw, having a baby in your 40s and or course, raising kids. Namely, the vicious cycle of “getting ahead” in the game of raising your kids.
You know that cycle. The one where parents of sixth graders are already planning their kid’s college education. They’re frantically enrolling their child in every activity, every class, every sport – in ALL THE THINGS – so they can…be stressed out? It starts innocently enough with wanting your sweet baby to walk and then morphs into landing “the” scholarship so your child can go to “the” college and get “the” job.
But I have to ask. What are we teaching our kids to be? How are we forming their conscience? Molding their hearts? And, as Tanja says, “forming them to change the world?”
We’ve gotten so busy on the highway to being the best parent ever that we’ve forgotten to enjoy the car ride. Hey, I’m a planner with the best of ’em. But I also refuse to play into this ridiculousness of parenting. Just last week, I was visiting with a dad who had to rush off to attend seven soccer games. In one day. And this was a regular weekend gig for them. We’ve gotten so caught up in what everyone else is doing, that we feel like unless we jump on the crazy train our kids will be left behind.
Bottom line? We’re too chicken to jump off.
We’re afraid of telling our kids ‘no’ for fear they’ll be disappointed, or worse, left behind. We stay up way too late helping them with school projects that they should be doing themselves (guilty), bailing them out when we should let them fail (guilty) and glossing over their bad choices (guilty). If there is any lesson I’ve learned as the mom of six, it’s this.
Stop doing it all.
Stop stressing out.
Stop signing up for all the things.
Stop trying to make your kids live out your dreams.
Instead, help them discover their own. I can’t describe the joy I experienced at the Houston Rodeo this week, watching Will have a blast. In the final round of competition, I looked over and he was holding a packaged flank steak above his head, smiling and mouthing “FLANK STEAK! I KNOW HOW TO COOK THIS!!” And I was all, “Quit talking and start cooking!” But really, could his words make a Texan mom more proud?
I guess I just want you to know that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say yes, too. But make those count. In fact, make it a hell yes because it helps your kid discover who He was created to be. And in the process, He might even discover that his yes leads him closer to God.
I believe we call THAT a parenting win.
Aaaahhhh, I live in New England, and it really feels in this Ivy League area, that kids are so overscheduled! Guess what? Our kids are probably NOT going to be professional sports stars or concert pianists, and parents need to stop pressuring their kids.
But what about when it’s not the parent choosing for them but the kids that want to do it? Our kids beg to do sports and so we do as much as we can within our means (which means we are the family living at the soccer fields in the Fall) but that’s our choice because we love our kids to be active and our kids love sports. We all have different levels of crazy and what we see as acceptable. For me, having 4 sports games every Saturday morning is an acceptable level of crazy, while spending 7 hours in a car for an 8 hour 4H event seems like something I couldn’t do! But you can see how much we both love our kids and want them to be happy, healthy and holy 🙂
Oh boy – The joys of scheduling a household. It does fall on us moms…
Yes, I know the family that has 7 soccer games all in one day. Scares me to think about it. However, we are the family that usually has two sports things in one day (one for each kid), but that is escalating as they improve and get better at the sports they love. Next year we will likely have 3-4 in a day, depending on the team they make. Add in church, family events, birthday parties, etc. and our weekends get crazy. It’s usually a good kind of crazy. I do welcome the downtimes… as do the kids. The trick is to realize when the downtimes are what you seek vs. the crazy of the schedule.
My kids want ice cream for dinner, but they don’t get it. As parents, we have to help our kids decide what is a positive and what is a negative. We have to teach them to be discerning about where they spend their time. As a New Englander I bet it is hard to believe we drove that far in one day – trust me, not a regular occurrence!
Bravo! Excellent post – and advice!
It’s definitely a fine line between “Yes, you can get it all in; we’ll make it work!” and “No, you must pick one thing at a time.” I have seen peers grow up with both extremes, and neither is healthy. Now, working with youth (I’m a 4-H agent), I see parents come in ragged from their over-scheduled lives and I tell myself “no way” when it’s my turn. Surely there has to be some place of balance…