By Zerline Hughes
I just got through skimming this old New York Times article on the overbooked child and how some of the painstaking things that we parents are doing for our kids may not even work! What the heck! Do I really have no idea what I’m doing!!
Take a look at the article for yourself and tell me: shall I give up and go back to old-fashioned parenting- you know, attend the neighborhood school (though they closed ours last August …), rely on the education system to give the kids exactly what they need physically and mentally, then send the kids ‘cross the street to the park to get tired out till the streetlights come on – or do I continue to break my neck and fill up my gas tank twice a week to chauffeur, venture beyond our neighborhood limits, register, be wait listed, and set hourly reminders for the next activity shift change!!?!
That means the morning wake up, the evening commute, the rush to beat the clock, the added expense of aftercare programs(or the added trepidation of anxiously wondering,’is she gonna walk, take the bus, be safe?’; and then comes September, when the boy starts back up. Everything times two!!
Let’s see, so the schedule will need to be reconfigured from last year, but i’ll probably look a little something like this:
Monday: swimming (her) till 5:30, band (him) till 5:30
Tuesday: yoga till 4:30 (her), karate (him) till 8:30
Wednesday: Zumba (me) till 7:30, swimming (her) till 5:30, band (him) till 5:30
Thursday: violin (her) till 5, karate (him) till 8:30
Friday: swimming (her) till 5:30, band (him) till 5:30, Zumba (me) till 7
Saturday (yes, Saturday): Girl Scouts (her, of course), karate (him), Zumba (me)
Sunday: Catch our breaths and pack the car with swim gear, golf clubs, instruments, fresh exercise clothes, on-the-go snacks and water bottles. (There’s barely any room for the kids back there!)
But wait, there’s more: golf, family game night, guitar, oh yeah, and time on the schedule for homework and sleepovers.
Ack! Back to the drawing board … and my calendar.
Is it worth it? Though the Times says maybe not so much. For now, though, I say it is worth it. You know my spiel by now. It’s not necessarily about getting these two accepted to Harvard or trying to get them out of the inner city. I just don’t want these kids to have any time to slack off, get distracted, fall into the wrong hands and end up in the worst hands of all: the U.S. justice system. Not These Two.
So if I have to spend the last half of my work day waiting for the big hand to get to 12, and the small hand to get to four so I can make my daily mad dash to the bus, then to the car, then to her school, then to his school bus stop, then to extracurricular activities, then home, only to start it all over again at 6 am the next day, then so be it.
Foiled? Maybe not so much, now that I start thinking about it.BUT, one thing the column does state, definitely rings true as it relates to the financial burden of overscheduling:
” … if we do not cut back on all the intensive activity, we all may find ourselves seeking costly expertise in another area — the therapist’s office.”
Amen to that!