I really loved being a SAHM and doing things like play group and ballet lessons and at home birthday parties with a few kids when my DD was young. At some point, life got REALLY crazy.
We had a very crazy 2010, with lots of changes. Then my WH got some help for drugs and mental issues, and 2011 and 2012 were 'healing' years.
I guess its the past 2 years that have really gotten over scheduled and over busy.
Anyone else have this happen.... how did you cut back and take back your life. I always feel like "I just have to get thru this month... thru science fair, music recital, and this gymnastics expo... then we can rest and relax..." and the next month, we have 1000 things come up.
The big "friend" parties at slowly tapering off. My son just wants to do something with his best friend and one other kid from school, maybe see a movie if there's something good out during the summer. My daughter is still into the big parties, but we may look into something at build-a-bear for her.
I don't like to limit things for them, but they do need to understand that they can't do everything. It's almost impossible. So I had them chose their favorites.
I hope some of this rambling helps
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 7:36 AM, April 1st (Tuesday)]
At 5 I would look into doing an activity Bday party, a movie, or activity center where they have party rooms, and games and such like a ChuckieCheese. Then you don't have to clean your house and do all the food prep. typically less people come to those as well.
Between now and the end of the school year it is chaos, and that is one thing that hasn't improved since they are teens. There are activities nearly every day, between, band, choir, play, and wrapping up the school year. YIKES!!!!
One party was AWESOME! It was at an air museum. There was one attendant and before the guests arrived he played with my kids (they both share a birth month) while I set things up. Then once everyone was there he took the kids "behind the ropes" of some of the airplanes and they sat in the cockpits. We had the room for the entire day so there was no rush. The kids had a blast and I was able to enjoy the day, too.
Pool parties at a gym are always a hit.
[This message edited by simplydevastated at 8:37 AM, April 1st (Tuesday)]
One of my clients had 3 kids. They did away with the kid/friend birthday party and instead the child gets to choose one activity to do exclusively with the parents - no siblings allowed. I love this idea!
A big problem I have now is that I completely overscheduled April. My mom is coming for Easter, so I scheduled 3 medical appointments for me (dr, eye, dentist) and we have end of homeschool year stuff (science fair, music recital, etc)
then we have our normal playdates, gymnastics, scouts, and music lessons, sunday school, homeschool activities...
That, plus we have a new neighbor who has 2 young kids & likes to pop in everyday and ask to play
I am an introvert with 2 very extrovert kids. They love activities, play, etc and I just hit the wall this weekend. I need to cut some fat from life!
[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 8:51 AM, April 1st (Tuesday)]
As far as extra activities the kids know they are allowed one activity and swimming.
That was pretty much me and my kids! I worked full time, so by force, activities were limited. My daughter did dance and horseback riding at a friend's stables, my son played soccer, and they both swam and dove.
"I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance." Garth Brooks
My boys can do one sport and one music activity. They go with their grandpa to a bible study thing on Monday nights, which is fine with me. Homeschool activities at the library I'm willing to do almost as often as they have them, I figure if they were going to school I'd have to put work into it. It's part of the school day, it's during school hours.
I think to "fix" it you have to intentionally NOT schedule things. Make dr appointments all the same day when possible. I don't know how old your kids are, but, it's been nice now that my kids are older, when the neighbors want them to come play, I say "go, come home in a couple hours."
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end
Happily remarried to a wonderful man (Aussie). I think I found the right guy and the right finger this time.
So my niece is art and dance and my nephew is piano and whatever sport is in season. And they both have church youth group activities.
Everything's canceled when Aunt Purple comes to town!
For us, each child is only allowed to be in two activities at once. But over the course of the year, it adds up.
Also, I'm DS's den leader. We meet twice a month. And, actually, we are only meeting once in May to help reduce the amount of crazy end of the year stuff.
I don't know how often your girl scout troop meets, but it seems like around here, they only meet once a month. I know a mom who is a leader, and they often pair up a few families to lead a meeting.
We don't do playgroups/playdates. Maybe it's different for us, since we don't homeschool, and I was born in the 70s, where you either roamed the neighborhoods or learned to entertain yourself. My kids, on average do something with their friends once a month, excluding birthday parties.
For our family, I do two birthdays-one with family and one with friends. I do it for many reasons.
We do not have the money every year for birthday parties at places. This last year, I declared an "at home birthday party year." Due to finances. (Otherwise, between two kids, I was looking at dropping $400 just on birthday party expenses.) We've hosted grand parties at our house. Very simply ones..going to the park, coming back and having snacks, and then water ballon fights/water play. We've had kids that have cried/hidden at our house when it was time for them to go.
I protect our weekend time. Kid activities are done Monday-Friday as much as we can. My kids need down time, to stare at the clouds, etc.
So I have scaled back. Each kid essentially has two activities, and they have to overlap or benefit another. Once a week, they do an art class, at the school, after school for an hour. Easy for me, I just pick them up an hour later. The oldest is in choir at church, the church hosts a Mother's Day out for the kids not in choir - again, easy for me and benefits everyone. The younger two have gymnastics and soccer on Saturday mornings. That is the only time we may have a scenario of two kids in two different places at the very same time, and that only happens about a third of the time.
Instead of piling on more activities (there used to be scouts, drama class, etc) I have instead done Playdate Friday. All three are allowed to invite someone over after school on Friday and stay through dinner. Ideally someone they have not had over before. We don't have many kids on our street, and we don't live in a subdivision where you can roam for people to play with. With three kids, it is difficult to pick up and drop off additional children without a passenger van. So the kids bring home friends on the school bus, and the parents pick them up after dinner.
It has been fantastic. The kids get socialization, exercise, and their friends get to do stuff that people don't do at home as much any more (playdough, painting, make pizza from scratch, etc.) So I have decided to keep this up as long as it works for us instead of piling on more activites.
As for bday parties, they all had a venue party (like a Chuckie Cheese type place) for kindergarten birthdays. Smaller venue parties in 1st and 2nd, then as they get to 3rd grade and beyond we instead to a destination thing (day trip with a friend, or overnight trip with the family). Since the older kids bdays are in the dead of winter, they really like that way more than a home birthday party which many attendees would have conflicts with Thanksgiving and Xmas plans. I imagine sleepover parties with just a few friends will start up in middle school. The parties definitely scale down as they get older.