Monday, April 16, 2012

Voluntary Commitment

It seems that life has a way of rushing in and swooping me along the swift path of productivity, and I often don't notice it until I find a little lull and have a minute to appreciate just how busy I've been. At the beginning of this school year, because it was such a rough school year last year, I tried to keep our after-school commitments to an absolute minimum.

This Spring, seeking some additional physical outlets for him, I decided it was high time we tried swimming lessons again. Our prior sessions resulted in H acting like a little spinner dolphin on the side of the pool while he was supposed to be sitting patiently awaiting his turn, or listening raptly to the instructor. Needless to say, it was counter-productive. This time, I asked that he not be given flotation devices and wouldn't you know, the realization that you may drown if you don't do as instructed has had the desired effect. Swimming, to me, is one of those life-skills that are not an 'extra'. Our trip to Aruba in December confirmed that my kiddos need to be confident and competent swimmers before our next water trip, because it will just be more enjoyable for everyone.

This session went really well, so I signed him up for the next as well. At the same time, I signed Charlie up for his very same lesson and was shocked when the child who had clung to me like a frightened spider monkey anytime we approached any form of water aside from the bath-tub, leapt into the arms of his teacher without hesitation on the very first try. Go figure.

Lessons proceeding swimmingly (aren't I so witty?!), I read an article in the Union-Bulletin about an imagination yoga class offered through parks and rec. Designed to help kids aged 4-12 control their bodies, quiet their minds and gain greater attention spans, I did not hesitate to sign up both of my bouncing baby boys for the April session.

Oh, and did I tell you that I had also promised H he could sign up for T-Ball? Right...when I started entering the games and practices into my calendar, I realized that there will be several nights when we go from swim to T-Ball, or Swim to Yoga, and I started to panic. Wouldn't you know, H had one of his best weeks ever in school when we were committed to the gills? Not that I'm advocating over-committing your kids, or that it will work for us each time, but with a little overlap of activities, I'm glad I didn't sacrifice one for the other. Also, while my calendar looks really full, the actual time commitment is not huge. A half-hour lesson twice weekly for swim, 45 minutes once a week for yoga and T-Ball practice three times  a week (one of those days being Saturday morning or early afternoon) for about an hour; taken piecemeal, it's not so overwhelming.

I've tried to do this with any other requests that come in for my time; can it be done in the evening after my kids are in bed? Is it something I can do on my own, without having to coordinate schedules with someone else? If I stay on task, how much time will it really take? If I think about it that way, and I feel like it's something I can truly manage, I'll take it on. If it interferes with the sanity-saving time I've laid aside for my own needs (read: time that Charlie is in pre-school), I say no. I felt a crushing wave of guilt when I declined coaching H's team for T-ball, but the realities are these: I would be a really shitty coach, since I don't know very much about baseball. I really want to be H's cheerleader, not his instructor, because it's just a better combination. Finally, I have darling Charlie to drag along with me as it is and he's, how do you say, attention-starved since the revelation of baby #3 on board.

After the initial guilt passed, I'm so happy with my decision. With Junior Club (my town's version of Junior League), exercise and other 'self-care', the activities that the kids are in, a burgeoning belly and an already full schedule, I feel like I have a full plate. But, it's delightfully balanced with leafy greens, carbs, protein and a little bit of dessert at the end.

How have you managed to stay balanced with a busy life?

2 comments:

That Girl said...

I completely agree that the activities are key. little j needs soccer, horses, girl scouts and piano -- they help keep her focused. As long as she has time to wind down in the evening she's good to go. But if she doesn't have the activities she's a bear.

mqnphotographyblog.com said...

You know my philosphy (sp) on activities for kids! I think kids are like labs, a tired lab is a good lab and busy kids stay out of trouble! :-) Its all the same.....