Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Is there any human creature more adept at coordinating schedules than a mother? I mean, seriously, this time of year, we're all organizing lessons, practices, and other extra-curricular activities with all the plotting and scheming of a general about to invade an oil-rich country.

Here in Jenworld, we're trying to figure out how many extra-curricular activities is an acceptable number for the girls this year. Two activities per child is fine, but will three for one or both push us over the edge?

Last year, both girls were in Girl Scouts and the schedule worked because I, as the troop leader, made it work for us. This year, I'm not the troop leader, so I have no idea what on what day the meetings will be. More specifically, I don't know what Elegant's schedule will be, as the troop leader will be planning Girl Scouts around her own daughters' soccer practices, and no one will know the soccer schedules for at least another week, possibly two. And, we don't even know if Graceful will even be in Girl Scouts this year because I've resigned as the troop leader and no one has stepped forward to take on the job, so it's possible that the troop will cease to exist.

And because I don't know Elegant's Girl Scout schedule, I can't sign her up for art classes yet. The one she's interested in is offered on Mondays and Tuesdays after school. We prefer Tuesdays, because we have a pretty strict rule of not planning anything on Mondays if we can help it. Both girls are exhausted on Mondays after school and Elegant in particular really needs to just come home and chill.

I mentioned soccer above. We're in the same boat of not knowing the schedule yet, which affects Graceful's riding lessons, because she'll have games on Saturdays. She's been riding ponies on Saturday mornings for a few years now, which means we'll have to either move her lessons to another time slot for two months or have her take a break from riding now. Knowing us, we'll try to make the first option work so that she gets her horse time.

Elegant will be taking gymnastics for the first time this year -- I know, what an amazing outlet for her energy -- and her lessons will be on Saturdays at 12:15.

We like having the girls' activities on Saturdays, because it means we can split up the schlepping of children hither and yon. A typical Saturday this fall will probably involve one or both of us taking Graceful to her soccer game in the morning and then one of us taking Elegant to gymnastics later on. Add in Graceful's riding lessons and we have the potential to be doing a lot of running around town.

The other fun element of our fall planning is children's birthdays -- both our girls' and their friends'. For whatever reason, September presents us with the perfect storm of events and we very often have birthday parties to plan or attend every single weekend of the month. Add to that all those other lessons and games, and we have a crazy month of Saturdays on our hands.

(I say "for whatever reason," but we all know what that reason is. The holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's + alcohol and good cheer = babies nine months later. Don't believe me? I have two children born in September. 'Nuff said.)

So, to recap, Elegant will have Brownies, art, and gymnastics this fall. Graceful will have soccer, riding, and possibly Brownies. Graceful wants to take karate or taekwondo this year, but we've told her she has to decide which activities are most important to you, and martial arts is on the back burner for now. She'd also like to take a pottery class, but that could just be the proverbial straw that breaks MY back instead of some stupid camel's. I've told her we'll have to wait and see what the schedule is.

It's not my goal to fill up the girls' every waking minute. Really, it's not. I like for them to have lots of down time after school. They need it, plus I like having the time with them -- whether we're baking, reading, or just sitting on the sofa and talking about their day. They also like to play with friends after school, so we try to fit in play dates a couple times a week.

Whew. I'm tired just thinking about all this. And school hasn't even started yet.


Josie said...

I'm trying to organize everything in my brain just reading it. Thankfully, its up to you, not me to get them everywhere.
I'm starting to stress about University applications, tours, scholarships, burasies (sp?) etc... I get hives just thinking about this upcoming year.
And yes, it is a mother thing - we figure it out and make it all flow.

Jen (not the Jen) said...

You make it work I guess, within reasonable boundaries. Because my son is so much younger than his sister, so far his life hasn't impacted on hers, it's all the other way round. Once we have two sets of afterschool activities, I may need to clamp down.

As we currently stand:
Sat: K tennis (9-10 so we still get the day)
Sun: K swimming (9.30-10)
Mon: both in afterschool 3.30-5 cos I work
Tues: ditto
Wed: K has gardening club but straight after school so just means I have to pick her up later. C will start pre-school swimming at noon, which splits the day and means we can't do much else, but I'm fine with that
Thur: the hardest day. School council 3.30-4.30, afterschool 4.30-5 cos I work, then Brownies from 6-7.15, which I go to as well as leader, meaning husband needs to be home for C.
Fri: nothing - and we want to keep it that way if we can. Monday is the day your kids are tired, Fri is definitely the day mine are.

Happy Working Mom said...

How absolutely exhausting! I dread the years ahead when our kids are running from activity to activity. I think I'm being selfish and purposely not signing her up for anything now because I know she'll be so busy when she gets older.

I hope you get everything figured out and their schedules work out!

Linda and her Surroundings said...

Please tell me you don't do paid full time work as well - if you do I shall have to ask you to wrte a book on how to DO IT ALL!!!!!! - by the way, is anyone doing lots for you? Linda

Jennifer said...

Linda: I work about 20 hours/week, plus I volunteer, although I've significantly scaled back on that. And, I do try to take care of me. I walk almost every day. I read and relax. I make a point to get enough sleep. You get the idea.