Contrary to many of my parenting peers, I do not fall into the ‘kids must play sports, participate in structured activities’ category. I grew up practicing gymnastics 25 hours a week during school (40 hours a week in the summer- and yes, you read that right. FORTY) and all I have to show for it is zero friends from high school and completely anemic social skills. I like that my kids can come home from school and do whatever they want all afternoon. The fact I don’t have to rush them from event to event is pretty ok too.
Of course kids want to try things, and we have always been happy to sign anyone up for sports when they expressed interest. We have experimented with dance classes, tennis lessons, soccer, and karate. But there was never any pressure, and while we expected them to make full effort and commit to whatever their chosen activity was, they were also allowed to stop if they were no longer enjoying it. Which is how we found ourselves with a very open calendar for the past 6 months or so.
Well, let me tell you, those halcyon days are OVER. When it rains it pours, and the kids have suddenly developed a desire for competitive sports, which, given their ages, now consist of practices and multiple games per week. We are a long way from t-ball people!
Isabelle started basketball a month or so ago, and she has practice every Wednesday night (at 8:30pm! On a school night!) and then a game on Saturday. Totally manageable, other than that practice which is WAY after I like to be changed into my jammies.
Then Jack started baseball. And because he’s 9, even though he’s basically a beginner this is little league. Which means 2 practices and up to 3 games. A week! Some of which are also at 8pm, and why the hell doesn’t anyone put their kids to bed at a reasonable time anymore?
But again, not really an issue, we can totally make it work, and going to the games is actually really fun. Not counting last Wednesday where we walked in like 19 runs. That game was brutal. But there’s a playground right next to the field to entertain the little girls while I watch the game and Brett coaches. And the basketball games are super fast, so everyone doesn’t mind watching those (and everyone WILL be sitting and watching from now on since Saturday’s game involved an unsupervised Bebe falling on her face and requiring a trip to the ER and 3 stitches. But that’s another story).
So great. Yay sports! We round it all out with Bebe and Sophie taking ballet lessons, one on Thursday afternoons and one on Saturday morning, which don’t really conflict with anything, although we do have a baseball game the morning of their recitals (which are at different times BACK TO BACK because sitting through one 2 hour display of awful dancing once just isn’t enough. Shoot me now). But although we were looking at some long days, in general we were spectacularly conflict free.
Clearly that couldn’t last.
Sophie has been asking to ice skate since she first saw the Winter Olympics, and we are just now getting around to signing her up. Brett had been taking her occasionally for fun, but it’s cheaper to just pay for the lessons so, boom, Tuesday night we now have ice skating. It could have been any night of the week, but I picked Tuesday because we hadn’t had an event on a Tuesday for MONTHS, and I’m too stupid to check the calendar before making decisions. Good plan.
But still. We only had a few instances where there were overlapping events, and thankfully there are two of us so being in two places at once is actually possible. Case in point tomorrow night: sophie has ice skating and I’m scheduled to teach yoga, so Brett will have to take all the other kids along to the rink. And then Jack has a baseball game at 8, but there’s totally enough time for me to swing by and either pick up the girls and go home (Bebe’s bedtime is 7:30), or even watch a little of the game. Easy peasy.
Next Tuesday was going to be a little bit more of an issue, because ice skating and baseball are BOTH starting at 6pm. Again, not an issue schedule wise, just kind of a bummer because I can’t be at the game for Jack. But then Isabelle had to go and tell us that her band concert is ALSO on Tuesday, and ALSO AT 6PM!!
Three places and two parents is not doable, people!
Brett HAS to go to baseball because he’s the assistant coach, which means he’ll miss Izzy’s concert. And she can’t have no one come watch her play, so I’ll have to get someone else to take Sophie to ice skating, meaning Jack won’t have his mom OR grandparents cheering for him in the stands. Sad face.
I’m beginning to realize that it isn’t necessarily the expense that is the worst thing about having multiple kids in sports. And of course, it’s only going to get worse. Next year Jack wants to play soccer, and I recently overheard Bebe telling someone that she’s starting karate when she turns 5.
I better hope I don’t make any mistakes updating my calendar!!