Why We’re Opting Out of the Overscheduling Competition

Get a group of moms together and where does the conversation immediately go?

“Oh, little Johnny has T-ball tonight, I’ve got to run!” or “Oh my gosh, we haven’t been home all week, the kids just have so much going on!”

When the conversation inevitably turns to a detailed rundown of all their children’s activities, sports, and lessons, I nod my head in what I hope is a sign of empathy and understanding. But the truth is, I don’t chime in on those conversations, because my kids aren’t in any activities of any kind.

And honestly? I’m 100% okay with that.

Sure, my kids have dabbled in sports and activities here and there; we did a dance class when my daughter was three, a gymnastics lesson for my middle child, a few failed cheerleading practices, and horseback riding that was fun, but hard to accommodate dragging a baby and a toddler along and keeping for the hour-long session. Between my own hectic schedule of working from home, driving my kids to and from school every day (we don’t have a bus system), and trying to squeeze in things like working out or, um, getting groceries, adding activities to our plate just seems impossible.

With our kids between the ages of three and nine, I know we’re still not truly in the thick of the activity frenzy. I know there will come a time, probably in our near future, when my kids will be begging me to do more sports and activities. There will be games and practices and team dinners and I’ll be carting around more stinky children in my minivan than I care to and eating more Crock-Pot meals than is healthy, but when that time comes, I’ll embrace that season of life.

I do believe sports and other activities are beneficial—they keep kids active and engaged, and I definitely don’t want my kids coming home from school and clamoring to watch TV. And sports and other activities are wonderful ways for kids to make new friends, learn teamwork, and practice important life lessons and I will wholeheartedly support all of my children’s interests as they unfold.

But until then that day comes, I’m opting out of scheduling my kids for well, pretty much anything. Unless they’re begging for it, I’m just not interested in signing my kids up for anything right now. It’d just be a drain of money, energy, and time, and history has shown me that unless my kid is super into the activity, I’ll be dragging them out of the door to take them to something neither of us wants to go to simply because I paid for it.

So I’ve learned my lesson and I’m kicking back and enjoying the good life for now.

I’m thrilled that we have our evenings open. I love that instead of rushing around after school, my kids come home and play, making forts outside, creating elaborate games in the basement, and their latest, writing and illustrating their own comic books. I love that we have the freedom to go on after-school adventures or that I can take the kids to the gym with me. I love that we can hit the park or go on an ice-cream run or– truth time– I can run errands while they are happily watching a movie in the minivan.

I’m happy to soak up this carefree, schedule-free time in our lives, however fleeting, for right now. I’m in no hurry to enter the “soccer mom” world and I’m sure I’m not alone. So, yes, the next time there happens to be a group of moms chatting about their kids’ busy schedules and so-and-so’s game and packing a snack for that tournament, you can bet your cleats I will nod and smile…and then happily slink back to my totally schedule-free afternoon.

For now, anyways.

How about you? Are you into team activities or more carefree?