Monday, June 1, 2015

The Value of Free Time

I never quite seem to appreciate what we have when we have it. I'm not sure why that is, but it's the case regardless.  Every fall Mad Natter goes into hockey, and I whine and complain about being out of the house at the crack of dawn (literally) on Saturdays and Sundays from September to March. Then the summer comes, and I revel in the not-early mornings. This year, though, I let a few voices get to me.

This year, Mad Natter is enrolled in ALL the summer activities. He's in Taekwondo, he's in baseball, he's in LEGO Robotics. He's also running through some interesting activities with another pro on Fridays. For those keeping track, that means he's out of the house on T/Th, M/W, Su, and F.  Now, we'll add on that I'm coaching baseball. I don't want to be, but if it's coach-or-no-team, here I am.

I'm suddenly out of the house six days per week, two of them involving attempting to teach children a sport I can't play (I keep a mean scorebook, but I do not play), with minimal support from the league, as resources have been trickling in at best. We have schoolwork four days per week, and there are zero of our weekend days where I'm not involved in bringing Mad Natter somewhere for something.

Quite honestly, I miss our free time. More often than not we hear about how homeschooled children need more social opportunities. However, this is ridiculous. I'd be okay if I weren't coaching. But honestly, this is just too much. There are far too many activities, and I can't keep up with them all. We're running out the door half-prepared for things because we're not sure where we're going.

But what's really been missing is the downtime. The time I get to myself to regroup before attempting to be more "wife" and less "chauffeur."  And worse than that, Mad Natter's downtime is missing as well. He is now awake most nights well past midnight, and there is very little we have been able to do to correct this. Skeeve and I are *on* from the moment we get out of bed in the morning until the moment we crawl into it at night. It's exhausting!  People often would tell me that in order to get your child to sleep in the summer when it's still light well after bedtime, you run them around, get them good and wiped, then pour them into bed. In our house, this has turned into running Mad Natter around, getting Skeeve and I good and wiped, then trying to stuff an unwilling octopus into a plastic bag. It's a futile effort for everyone, and the only thing that ends up happening is the stuffers get cranky and the stuffee gets ink all over everything. No good.

Going forward, I'm going to be taking some advice I wish I had before - one sport/activity, one class, that's it. No more. None of this two sports, two classes, hope for the best stuff. It's borking up Mad Natter's sleep, Skeeve and I can't function appropriately, and we're all just a mess.  We NEED our free time!

This post is a part of Hoagies' Gifted Education's blog hop on The Gift of Free Time!  Please click on through to read some other perspectives!