School was out for Summer. Now summer screeches to a halt. We’re clambering to see what the academic year holds, then suddenly in a quick spin and that toddler is walking down the aisle wearing that white dress with her daddy on her arm. Our plans are set forth. The scene is set. Are we prepared?
Most moms are that “taxicab” driver. Rideshare seems simple, but then whose turn is it? Life throws a punch and suddenly you’re the excessively popular one because you’re available. You’ll be there. Your kids need you. Are you pulled in so many directions your body seems like Elastagirl from the Incredibles? You’re not alone.
Every year I’d sit my kids down before the school year to plan. “Choose one activity.”– I’d smile. One? Can you believe I’m so mean? How selfish of me to only allow my children to be in one thing! I did have 4 kids, but even if I was one and done, the same rules apply. Spread too thin is like that sound of a knife scraping burnt toast with the last of the jelly.
Why would you spend your entire life living out of your car traveling from one activity to the next? My ears burn as I can hear folks think how selfish it seems to limit your children to ONE single activity for the year. And here’s another mean mommy saying, “If you start something you’re not allowed to quit when it becomes hard. You have to finish what you start.” If we take our children by the hand in compassion and not condemnation, we’re teaching them perseverance. Now, seriously, if there are real reasons for your kid to quit, of course, say yes. You know your child and that child is given to you and not to me for a reason. Your values and life skills are passed on to that wee one. Be there in their life not in a busy way, rather a fruitful, teachable way. One-on-one time snuggled in a blanket with a book creates memories you’ll cherish. Who looks back on their life and says, I wish I’d spent more time in chaos?
Here’s the why for just the one. More isn’t always better, it’s simply more. My PHD is in motherhood. The more you stack on your plate the quicker the stack is going to fall. Meltdowns become the norm instead of smiles. For just one moment think to yourself how quickly that toddler turns into a teenager? If you’re in the middle of diaper days, you barely have your head above water! But let this old woman tell you “this too shall pass.” (No pun intended)
I remember when my oldest was 14 and the youngest of four was just two-years old. I was chatting with my mom, “I’ve got to get off the phone and paddle some butts!” I sighed. “Awe,” she smiled through the phone, “just give them love and a hug.” Perspective changes with age. Wisdom is shown by our wrinkles. You’re not a bad mom to say no. We say no to more cookies, no to a sleepover, and no to piling it on. Just remember to sprinkle in some yeses.
Give yourself permission to be a mom. Moms are making future leaders of the world. World changers are created by diaper changers. We make the rules. Our children follow our lead. Create a school year you’ll be able to live with for the next 9 months. One and done has a new meaning. Choose wisely children, because this mom is wise. See the wrinkles! Your children need extra activities, but mostly they need you to simply teach them how to be a grown-up. Part of being a grown-up is the ability to say no. “No means no, it doesn’t mean argue to get your way.”– BabaDee (my grandmother name)
Ask yourself, are you preparing your children for that time in life where they’re achieving their PHD? Education is mandatory, perfection isn’t required. Let them try one thing at a time, piano, soccer, dance or whatever they want to experience. (We always chose dance with our little girls. I was even able to dance with them several times on stage!) The kicker is to make them finish the year. Learn as you go. Get your BS (you know what that stands for), MS (More of the Same), and then your PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper).