It's Throwback Thursday!
I wrote this post about having too tight of a schedule in 2009 (it was first published on the Kansas City Star's mom2mom site). That week, a woman approached me at Target and chastised me in the checkout lane for “making my daughter do too much!” I remember thinking, “Um, yeah, and I just confessed on a major metropolitan newspaper's website.” And, I vowed it would be different. It isn't.
These days we're still running from place to place (and eating in the car). Since my teen happens to be an almost straight- A student (that one little B that just seems to get away) and is happy and well-adjusted, we'll keep on running from choir to drill team and then back to dance. Some things never change. Enjoy!
Not wanting to be late, Rosie flies into the car and straps herself into her car seat as fast as she can. I back out of her friend’s driveway and take off down the street. As we pass our home, Rosie says, “Hey Mama, I’m starved. Got anything for a snack?”
I stop the car. Throw it into reverse and maneuver into our driveway. Run into the house; grab a bag of goldfish and a bottle of water. Back in the car, I toss the snacks into the backseat, check to see if anyone’s behind me and peel out of the driveway.
I dash to our appointment, careful to stay only five miles over the speed limit. Pull into a spot and we run into the building. As we approach the office, Rosie looks at me. Her face is flushed, her hair flying all over the place. She looks sweaty.
“I need a massage,” she exclaims. “I’m so stressed out. This has been such a busy week. There’s too much going on!”
I stop dead in my tracks and look at my child. I can’t help but think, “WOW! Did my eight year-old just say that?” And, then I think back on the week and can’t help but agree.
Rosie is an only child. And, if you ask her, at times that means lonely child. There’s no one at home to play with except for Mommy and Daddy. This worked out fine when she was little, but now a second grader, she’s decided we’re not very exciting. So, I do my best to make sure that we have scheduled play dates and activities to keep her entertained.
I keep our lives straight in Outlook. I have everything color coordinated; blue for my business, green for personal. Rosie’s dance lessons, Brownies and Student Council meetings are blocked off in aqua. Doctor’s appointments are in red and play dates, birthday parties and other random activities in purple. I've set my phone, so an alarm will go off fifteen minutes before an appointment or activity. That way I stay organized and don’t miss anything.
I look at last week’s schedule and think back. After school on Monday, Rosie went to Y Care for an hour. I picked her up, zapped her dinner and we rushed to dance. I went to a meeting and drove back to pick her up. We arrived home at eight fifteen and it was time for her to go to bed.
Tuesday, was a calm night. Rosie was at Y-Care for a half hour, then home to play outside. We had dinner together and did her homework. She was in bed reading a book, by eight and fell asleep quickly.
Kelly picked Rosie up after school on Wednesday and I met them at home to get her fed and run her to dance. After a negotiation about what to eat (mysteriously my child no longer likes chicken, fish, grilled cheese etc.), she couldn't make a decision about what to wear to class. I had to hurry her along (“You better hustle your bustle!”) and remind her that it she was late, she’d get demerits. The strategy didn't work and we pulled into the parking lot five minutes after the start of ballet. She opened the car door and dashed into the studio at full speed.
On Thursday morning, Rosie announced that she was no longer participating in Junior Great Books. “She didn't have enough time,” she told her teacher the day before. We spent ten minutes debating the decision, which of course, made us have to hustle to get to school. At three thirty, she had Student Council. We came home, did homework, had a quick dinner and then I left for an appointment. I got home just in time to kiss her goodnight.
After school on Friday, we ran errands and then I dropped her off for a sleepover. When I picked her up on Saturday we went to cheer leading sign ups and then out to lunch. Next we ran by a good friend’s home to see her new baby. My phone beeped an hour later signaling it was time to leave to take Rosie to her two thirty play date at the park.
And, here we are, two hours later, rushing to get to the chiropractor. I've thrown her snack into the backseat and I’m speeding to get there. We’re almost to the office when my child announces, “I’m so stressed out. This has been such a busy week. There’s too much going on!”
I look at my Outlook while we wait. There I see a mess of overlapping blue, purple and aqua. Some of it squeezed in our schedule so tightly that only drive time is allowed. I remember the alarms going off and announcing, “Time to go. We have to hurry,” over and over again.
Each day we rushed from place to place in a marathon to get to the next activity. She had to dress in a hurry (“Just pick Rosie. It’s just a leotard”), do her homework in haste, and finish her breakfast as she ran out the door. No wonder she’s stressed. The strain of the week had taken its toll.
I decide that the next week would be different. We’d get up a little earlier, to give us more time to get ready. I’d try and space things out a little better. We’d try not to hurry. And, no play dates would be scheduled back-to-back on the weekend.
Sunday came. I leisurely go downstairs to make coffee. Then back up to check email. I log on to the computer, look at the time in the bottom right corner. It is an hour ahead. I begin to panic. I forgot Daylight Savings Time! We’d be late for Sunday school! Realizing we are once again behind schedule, I wake my family. “The time changed! We forgot to set the clocks! We’re going to be late!” I yell.
So much for my plan, I think. We’ll try again next week….