I used to have my kids in every activity and was involved with so many volunteer projects…. and then I decided to take a time out.I would make sure we attended every school and church event. I would volunteer for every activity or fundraiser that the school sponsored. And then I do not know what happened, but my thinking changed. I was tired of doing all those things.. I was tired of running constantly. I was just tired.
I was doing those things because I felt I had to…. That was what a good mom does, you run your ass off morning until night.. It was crazy because running my ass off does not make me a good mom. It makes me a crazy crabby bitchy mom. I do not know when this started where you have to be involved in everything to be a good parent or to feel like you are, but it is insane. I loved to volunteer in my kids classrooms, but I did not love baking cupcakes, or being on the PTA, or collecting box tops. And I hate selling coupon books for fundraisers.. (that’s a whole other topic)
Now…Don’t get me wrong, I do think kids need to be in activities and we all need to volunteer in some capacity for school, however you do not need to do it all. I know this was my own fault, I signed my kids up for all these activities and I signed myself up for all volunteer shifts. I wanted to sit and watch TV with my kids. I wanted to do nothing some nights. I wanted to just enjoy being with them. I wanted to not be a stressed out crazy lady from running from activity to activity.
So, I stopped signing them up for every activity. I stopped volunteering for opportunities that I didn’t feel passionate about. And I stopped attending every fundraiser. I started asking my kids what they wanted to do and what they enjoyed the most. I would ask if they were ok if we skipped a fundraiser or a school event. Might seem selfish, but it made our entire family a lot happier and less stressed. My kids have now each found the one activity or sport that they as passionate about and that works. I did not want to spend their entire childhood years feeling rushed…
As a parent you feel overwhelmed at times with all the activities that you children can participate in now. But the truth is you don’t have to feel pressure to do it all. A couple weeks ago someone was talking about about constantly running from church, to soccer, to drama club one night and I said why don’t you just let them skip? And she said, “ what you that teach them?” What would that teach them…haha.. I laughed and said, “that we are human and we can’t do it all and some days you just need to stop and say no”. That if I am tired and wore out, then I am sure my kids are also.
It’s Monday morning and my teenager has a migraine and stomach ache..she is begging to stay home and I believe that kids need down time. They need time to do nothing and be kids. I believe that my kids need days to stay home. They need days to do nothing and to “veg” out. They need that time to unwind just like adults do. If adults can take time to binge watch a series on Netflix, then I am sure my kids do too.
So yes, I do let my 8th grader stay home if she needs a day to regroup. Kids have an amazing amount of stress and expectations put on them these days. From school academics, to fundraisers, to mission trips, to athletics, to volunteering, religion class, to babysitting…. they are trying to do it all and they are still just kids.
I let my son skip soccer if he is had a bad day at school. I let my daughter take a night off from religion class if she needs to decompress from the middle school drama. And I do not think twice about it.. I do not think by letting my kids take that time for themselves, that it sets a bad example. I think it shows that at times, we all have days where we just need to recharge. Or we just need a time out.
I so appreciate that my kids can come to me and tell me when they feel overloaded or stressed.. I think it is so important that they know when they need a break. I appreciate that they can tell me when they do not want to do something and just want to stay home. I so appreciate their honesty over anything else.
Snarky Divorced Gal