Organized Sports & Simple Living: Let’s Discuss {and a giveaway}

tsh 02

I’m not the world’s most intentional mom, but one of the few things I can say I’m super aware of…that I go out of my way to cultivate, is a home environment that encourages free play and creativity.

I’m not the mom you will find at play dates, mom and me classes, or even at MOPS.  I’ve tried library story time and probably won’t be going back.

It’s not that I’m against these things, or think they are bad (they aren’t), it’s just that they cut into our day of basically not having to be anywhere.  (Also that I’m an introvert and the idea of small talk on the sidelines makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a chopstick.)  I don’t have schedules to keep, places to be, or an agenda to maintain.  Much of my children’s lives are based on the idea of having an innocent simplicity to them.  Sure, we have a routine, and this isn’t to suggest we are a loosey-goosey family where anything goes.  Not at all.  In fact, in many ways, I think Andy and I are pretty strict and have high expectations of our kids.

But, I guess the best way to describe it is this:

My hope would be that when my kids look back on their childhood, they remember a sort of idyllic, lazy days of summer feel.  Filled with family time and a healthy mix of productivity and fun.  A time when they get their responsibilities done (whether that be schoolwork or chores), but the bulk of their day is spent exploring, riding, imagining, and experimenting.  Jumping through sprinklers, digging holes, climbing trees, impromptu bike races with the neighbor kids, searching for roly polys under rocks, and pick up baseball games in the street.  If we lived in the country, I dream they would strip down to their underwear and jump in creeks and catch fireflies in mason jars.  It’s all very Huckleberry Finn-ish, except we live in a California suburb and make do the best we can.

I’ll often find Lucy sitting on the neighbor’s stoop scratching the little black and white shitzu’s tummy and chatting with Miss Sylvia, the dog’s owner.  Henry spends time with Mr. Billy, the retired professional body builder, fiddling with sprinkler heads and lawn mowers.  Miss Nicole often distributes miniature water bottles and healthy snacks to my crew in the late afternoon (but only after they’ve run in breathlessly asking permission to accept the treats).  Neighbor kids congregate and form a rag tag gang of scooters that would be scarier if it weren’t for the fact they are all under 12.  When they aren’t outside terrorizing the neighborhood, you’ll find them crafting something or another at the desk.

We guard weekends ferociously.  You won’t find us parked in front of the television, though.  For us, Gibson Style Family Time looks like yard work, tinkering in the garage, and mom inevitably spray painting something.  In many ways, our days are busy and full.  We don’t often sit down, and we’re always doing something…but in our own space, and on our own time.  Clocks rarely looked at.

I like our life.  I like that it’s messy and fun and productive.  I like that we enjoy each other’s company.  Andy and I sneak out on our own sometimes, but honestly, we really like hanging out with our kids.  They’re a cool bunch with fun personalities.

EXCEPT.

Except that we’re entering the age of organized sports.

Sure, we do skateboarding for Henry.  But let me be clear: while skateboarding is a sport, it is anything but organized.  Less the occasional lesson, we can go as often as we want, or as little as we want.  There are no times we have to be there, and we can stay for 20 minutes, or 2 hours.  If the baby is having a rough day, we simply don’t go.  And it’s indoor, so no weather issues.

But I know that at some point, I’m going to have to find a way to carve out the time and space for more traditional sports.  Henry is asking, not too often, but it comes up from time to time.  I cringe at the very thought of shoving a double stroller across a grassy field, just as the temperatures start to dip, and find a way to wrangle a rambunctious toddler and a child with special needs.  Honestly, the very thought of Owen and Jill together, going in opposite directions, and flipping out if left strapped in the stroller, makes me want to burst into tears.  (Hey look!  I have twins!  Again.)

Chatting with the mom of one of Henry’s classmates, she asked if he was doing soccer this year.  I said no.  Obviously.

She went on to lament that she was dreading it this season…after all, last year the kids had practice twice a week, plus a weekend game.  And practices were always right smack during dinner time.

“Wait.  Did you just say practice twice a week?  Last year?  As in, these were KINDERGARTNERS?!  Do Kindergartners need that much practice?!”

“Yup.  Twice a week.  And then games mostly ate up our Saturdays.  By the time you got the kids ready, to the game, and the decompressing after the game/changing clothes/etc. it was afternoon.”

“Is this a competitive league?  Club or something?”

“No.  Just the basic thing through the City.”

Y’all.  This slays me.

Look, I get the benefits of sports for children.  Camaraderie, confidence, skills, and it keeps them out of trouble as they get older.  I get it.  Really.

But I don’t wanna.  I just don’t wanna.

I realize I’m complaining, but seriously.  How do you deal with dinnertime?  Do you eat crazy early?  Do you give kids snacks and eat late?  Do you cook and then re-heat?  Fast food twice a week? What about toddlers?  Do you feed them separately altogether?  What do you do with littler kids (who don’t do iPads yet) during all this practice time?

And if I keep holding out: will he be so far behind the other kids who have been playing since 2 that he’ll never play a game?  What’s the point then?  (P.S. I’m not interested in my children being the best.  But if I’ve gotta do all this running around, it might as well include playing time.)

Gah.  It stresses me out just thinking about it.

You see, the way we’ve established our family life is that we say no to things.  Cut a corner here.  Snip there.  Find margin wherever we can.  A self-employed husband who often travels means that life can get hectic, and so I go out of my way to find ways to keep things simple.  And by simple, I don’t mean easy.  We live in the suburbs of California, but I try to incorporate ways that remind my family that it’s not always about convenience, but about the process.  I bake bread, I make my own laundry detergent, and we shop Farmer’s Markets.  I also drive a gas-guzzling Suburban.  It’s give and take.

tsh 01

Cultivating a simpler life doesn’t mean you lay around in a hammock all day gazing at your navel.  But it does mean swimming against the current of society.

We don’t do it perfectly, but we do try.  It’s a jumbled mess of an imperfect life, but it’s the one we love dearly.

This is all why I loved Tsh’s new book, Notes from a Blue Bike.  Tsh and her family have lived an extraordinary life in a high-rise in Turkey, but now find themselves in a mostly traditional American life in Oregon.  Tsh’s book explores the differences between life in slower paced cultures that value community and Time to Be, and the tension of moving back to the g0-go-go lifestyle that personifies America.

The book is filled with plenty of practical tips for slowing things down, but my favorite part is how she writes it all out for us.  No shame.  Tsh isn’t here to make you feel guilty for doing things the way you do or to bad mouth Americans.  It’s not about selling all your possessions,  buying a pair of Birkenstocks, and moving to a compound in the woods.  It’s about simple ways she learned living abroad that can be adapted to life here.

It’s perfect timing for me as the kids get older and more vies for our attention and time.  And our dinner.

I loved the book, and I love that I get to give away 5 copies!  Just follow the Rafflecopter prompts  below and I’ll choose 5 winners on Saturday, February 15.

But mostly, I want to know how your family handles sports and the impact it has on your lifestyle.

(Also, I admit that it doesn’t help that sports as a whole is not my cup of tea.  I truly am uninterested.  I don’t care how cute my kid looks in his uniform.)

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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jeannett
I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.
jeannett

Comments

  1. 1

    Once Kindergarten started, we allowed one sport per child per season, but it does start to add up quickly when you have more than one kid. This year is even harder because my daughter is in gymnastics which practices from 4-6:30 twice a week. That means she doesn’t get to eat dinner with the family, which is a big deal in our house. I have found that not participating when they’re young doesn’t affect their skills when they’re older, up to a point.
    Natalie´s last blog post ..Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

  2. 2

    You are making memories, Jeannett, and that is a treasure.
    Robbin Mote´s last blog post ..SUNDAY HOPE

  3. 3

    I am totally with you on dreading this point of life… as a kid, I took piano once a week and then moved into sports in jr. high and high school. I don’t feel like I missed out on much and am glad that I wasn’t stressed by team sports as a kid. But now as a parent to a very athletic little boy, I feel guilty for thinking of keeping team sports from him for so long. :/ Good question and I am looking forward to more answers!

  4. 4

    We haven’t gotten there yet either, but I know my sister is just now beginning to consider it. And her oldest will be 9 soon. So, you can always wait until it fits your family better!
    Jenny´s last blog post ..evening sunshine

  5. 5

    My oldest is 4 so we don’t have to deal with it yet. We are doing a gymnastic camp through the city during spring break week and we will see how we feel about things after that. I figure we will have an idea of how much she likes it before we sign up for the whole shebang.

  6. 6

    We don’t have kids yet, but reading about the amount of time required for young children scares me! I’m with you that I want my future children to have the time to explore, to dream, to have adventures … and the schedule you described does not look like it would align with that. When I was growing up, my parents had the rule of one activity per kid, so I had to give up ballet for Girl Scouts in 2nd grade. It taught me 1) I can’t do everything I want to, and 2) learning how to prioritize is a lifelong skill!

  7. 7

    Clarifying:
    • time required for organized sports
    :)

  8. 8

    We started soccer for my daughter this past fall…she is 5. They had practice once a week at 5:30, and then games Saturday morning. I am not going to lie, my fall felt completely full and overwhelming, and my son (who is going to be 4) wants to play as well – yes they have a 3/4 year old soccer league in my town. We are very much home bodies though, so I figure it is good to get them out of the house and around other kids once in a while. We had basketball this winter for my girl, and that was a lot easier, one practice Sunday afternoon – no games. And we are already gearing up for T-ball in the spring. I am much more the play the piano and guitar kind of gal, so this is all pretty new to me. But, she is enjoying herself, so I figure I should keep pushing through. But, we do only do one activity at a time, not soccer and dance and piano lessons – that might kill me :-)
    Heather´s last blog post ..a day in the life

  9. 9

    Only have a one year old…right now I like organized activities because it is
    Mommy and me…as she gets older and has siblings?? We will see…

  10. 10

    I’m not there yet, but I’m more of a proponent of one activity per child per season. Not music and dance and soccer but music or dance or soccer. If they want to try them all, that’s great, but they’re not going to try them all at one time.

  11. 11

    I totally get your issues with organized sports….we let our 3rd grader play football last fall……3 or 4 nights a week he practiced for 2 hours. Then Saturday mornings he had games. It was a LOT of work. Then both boys played basketball….practice 2 nights a week and a couple games on Saturday.

    But, for all the work – it was worth it. We are taking a break now, which I think is important. But they learned how to play on a team, they learned how to win, to lose, to work hard at something. They got to see mom and dad cheer them on and encourage them when things didn’t go so well. They built different kinds of friendships and mentoring relationships with some great coaches. I think these and a list of other skills can only be learned and experienced through organized sports.

    So, like so many things in life, we will participate…..in moderation. :)

    • 12

      Oh, we will do it too. At some point. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading it. I know there are invaluable lessons that can come only from organized sports, and that’s part of why we will do it, I guess I just have a hard time with the concept that even from a very early age (as in, too early to ride with a friend or simply be dropped off) teams are practicing twice a week AND have games on the weekends. It just seems excessive and makes dinnertime particularly for the littlest a stressful paradigm shift.

      • 13

        Oh, believe me. I kicked and screamed a bit when I found out how much work it was and realized how disruptive it would be to our routine…..3rd graders need 6 hours of football practice a week? What the heck!? But we worked it out with some of the other parents…..and it became more manageable. And truth be told….I actually enjoyed it. :) Good luck!

      • 14

        Oh, and as for logistics….there are no secrets. Sometimes we ate early, sometimes I packed snacks and we ate late. Sometimes I put food in the crockpot and sometimes we stopped for fast food. And I also toted along a 2 year younger brother (who doesn’t like to watch) and a newborn. Luckily the other parents were helpful and some of them had siblings that could watch/keep the youngers entertained. Again, best of luck. Momma Power!

      • 15

        I keep hearing this “invaluable lessons that come from organized sports” mantra as I push back against all the stuff. I was not an athlete. Did lots of organized music stuff. Some academic stuff. Some church stuff. None of it hardcore. I don’t think I am missing any valuable social skills (although you’ve hung out with me and might beg to differ). I will fight this thing until my last breath. My elementary school kids need to play. Not be in practice all the live long day.
        Jill´s last blog post ..What I’m Reading

        • 16

          Jill,
          I was not an athlete either. But I’m a non-athletic girl. And my sons are athletic boys. So I felt the right thing to do was to go with what THEY wanted to do in their spare time. I was not dragging them to endless practices that they hated. I was participating in doing what they wanted to do, If your kids are not interested in sports, then don’t register them to play. If they are, well, you’ll have to figure out what to do.

  12. 17
    Piper Blotter Biery says:

    I think this is a hard one. Most of my memories growing up are like the ones that you described, chasing rolly polies, throwing rotten tomatoes at sibling, racing bikes up and down the streets, and digging holes to China. My mom was trying to cultivate relationships between her kids so they would be friends as they got older, and it worked. However, I’m a bit more extroverted then the other members of my family. As I make plans for things I want to do with my kiddos they include a lot of organized activities and trips. My siblings and I all competed, at least until we got to high school, and many of us even then. My parents ensured we were all there to cheer each other, and that was some great memory making too. Then again, we lived in a small community where we could “take ourselves” read: walk, to our practices, or carpool with neighbor kids. Things change when a practice involves the whole family and a commute.

  13. 18

    I should add that when I was a child my Mom always tried to form carpools with the other Mom’s on the sports team practices and games when necessary. If there were enough people then each Mom only had to drop-off or pick-up once a week. This meant that my Mom had fewer days where her schedule was thrown off. I might have to reheat food when I got home, but the rest of the family ate at the normal time.

  14. 19

    I have so many thoughts about this… I wasn’t an athlete myself, but I married an athlete who coaches football and baseball. When he wanted to quit teaching and coaching to go into ministry, I was pretty excited. Except it was a sports ministry. But that was okay, because it was ministry.

    My kids grew up around college baseball players who loved on them and who were learning to love Jesus even more. During these ministry summers with the baseball teams my kids were babies, toddlers, preschoolers & gradeschoolers. I learned to give up a little bit of control of our schedule. We ate with the team at odd hours since that was how we were able to eat as a family with daddy. Our schedule was crazy, but for us it became our normal. I just had to learn to look at it differently.

    Now that my kids are in high school and middle school, we aren’t travelling with baseball teams anymore but my husband is still in sports ministry. My kids have their own crazy sports schedules and at the beginning of each new sports season, I have to mentally decide to adjust to this schedule as our new normal “for this season.” Late family dinners? It’s okay. Dinner doesn’t have to be at any certain time. Running the kids to practice? I grab a book to read. That’s 2 hours of reading I wouldn’t get otherwise. Little kids at older siblings’ practice? I find a park to bring her to. That’s 2 hours of playing with her that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    It is a lot of work, I guess. And I do my share of complaining about it. But there are a lot of parenting things that are a lot of work. If you decide to be involved in organized sports — especially as it gets more competitive — you have to believe it’s worth it. Obviously my husband feels stronger about that than I do. Even still we will disagree sometimes.

    One winter when none of my kids had a sport season, I made them have an art season. We did art projects every Monday night. They are good at art, but they LOVE their sports.

    My attitude has changed about their involvement in sports. Now that our kids are in organized sports and so obviously love them, I am happy for them. They have something that I never had. Automatic friends. Lessons from their failures. Confidence from their successes.

    I don’t think organized sports are bad, but they have become a monster of a machine. And its good if you can be aware of the monster parts before you get your family into it. I do think it is possible to not give in to the monster, and to actually get a lot of good out of organized sports….. that said, sport is not the only thing out there. Every family, every child is different. If our kids didn’t love their sports, I wouldn’t be so willing to be so flexible…….

    sorry….. I so rambled, I should have written a post about it… but you did ask after all…. and I’ve had a lot of years to think about being okay with it. Especially because I never ever EVER imagined myself being okay with it. // the end.
    Anne @ anne b. good´s last blog post ..my week in review: 1/28-2/6//2014

  15. 20

    When my kids were younger, we kept it very simple. We are all very happy homebodies. Now they have multiple things going and we are in every direction every night. I hate it. I make dinner during the day and we eat like we are senior citizens at 4pm!!! Hold onto the freedom as long as you can.

  16. 21

    Oh, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I have three boys and the oldest one does band and golf, middle one does soccer in fall and spring and the youngest one tried soccer but is all about baseball. They are 11,10 and 5. They all asked to play. I’ve never forced my kids to participate except that when you sign up, you finish. Personally, I’m not excited about sitting in 100degree plus heat waiting for my kids turn to bat/putt BUT I get excited because they like it. There was a study done; they asked college athletes and former athletes and basically all they ever wanted to hear from their parents was “I love to watch you play.” Kids don’t care how hard it was to get out of the house or the extra laundry or that it’s a crock pot roast AGAIN. They just want to have a good time at something THEY enjoy. Golf is something that my oldest son does that is JUST for him. My middle son doesn’t have to share soccer with anyone else in the house and the youngest triumphs are his alone. It’s their own moment to shine as individuals in their sport with their team. It’s shown the other two how to be spectators and encouragers and cheerleaders. And often, there’s usually a playground nearby.
    I never got to do organized sports as a kid. My mom worked full time and I do feel as though I missed out and by the time I would’ve played, I was far behind the other kids.
    To each their own. Just my honest opinion/perspective. :)

    • 22

      Honestly, I think the bulk of my hesitation comes from the sheer thought of Jill and Owen…a double stroller…non-verbal, yet very opinionated…outside for hours. Jill is sort of in an awkward middle ground of being disabled…she’s not fully abled like her siblings, yet she’s not so disabled that she’s confined to a wheelchair. So she wants to crawl off or wander away with her walker…and protests loudly if forced to sit in a stroller too long. Then there’s O who just wants to run around like a chicken with his head cut offf…and the good Lord knows they’re not going in the same direction. Maybe I’ll be less of a jerk about sports when at least Owen is 5 or so and can run off an play in the playground while I watch from afar. Right now, both kids very much need me hands on at all times. Problem is, by the time Owen is 5, Henry will be 11. :(

  17. 23

    No kids for me yet – but we came from a busy busy sporting family – cheerleading, soccer, football, softball, hockey, you name it, we played it. And I have to say, I will be raising my kids the same way….at least until I have kids and then I change my mind hah. because what do I know?
    Leah Powell´s last blog post ..Snowpocalyps 2014: Portland, OR Style

  18. 24

    I didn’t do organized sports when I was little and I don’t feel I missed out on anything. There is always time when they get a little older to start those things.

  19. 25

    I think I could really benefit from this book, right as we’re about to embark on our first extra curricular activity for our 3-year-old – a tumbling class – and possible pre-school.

    I could cry again at the thought of sending my baby to school.
    Stacey B.´s last blog post ..How Much is That Birdie in the Window?

  20. 26

    Hmmm I’m not sure what we’ll do when we get to that stage. I LOVE what you wrote and so get that. But my husband and I played sports all growing up and loved it too. I guess we’ll wait and see!

  21. 27

    We say no a lot too. 5 kids, ages 1 to 12, homeschool, a military dad, animals, 10 acres. Love it though!

  22. 28

    Honestly, we have not crossed that bridge yet. My 4 year old has a friend who does gymnastics and dance and everytime she hangs out with her, she comes back feeling upset that she is not doing what her friend does but I think her friend is kind of a punk anyways and makes her feel bad about it. Whenever it comes up we usually just tell her that right now we cannot afford it and that her special thing is that she gets to go to preschool. I’m not even sure how I would approach it. I am fiercely protective of not filling up our schedules with junk that doesn’t really matter to us. I hope that I’ll be more flexible if it is something that she loves but I just don’t know. Luckily he will probably enjoy more artistic activities and those seem to be less time demanding.

  23. 29

    Perfect timing for me to read this! We’ve been trying to decide whether or not to let our 2nd grader be involved in an extra activity.
    Lisa´s last blog post ..We’re Excited for the Olympics!

  24. 30

    We have four kids ranging from the age of 10-18. They all have their own activities. Yes it’s crazy, yes I whine about it sometimes. But, it’s what we do. It wasn’t always crazy. When they were young we limited them to one activity each at a time. We were intentional on the leagues and teams we chose, as we did not want to do excessive practices or tournament or travel. But, as they got older, we allowed them to become more involved. Dinner has always been a struggle for me. We hardly ever get to eat altogether. Sometimes we eat late so that we can eat altogether. It’s a challenge for sure. I was not able to participate in extra-curricular activities when I was growing up – we couldn’t afford it. So, I am thankful we are able to give our kids these opportunities. Enter prayerfully and tread lightly. They aren’t training for the olympics yet :).
    Denise´s last blog post ..Refreshing Body and Soul {Let’s Get Moving}

  25. 31

    ohmygosh….2 practices and 1 game a week at kindergarten?! that’s overboard, imo. my kids all did league soccer, but even in kindy, it was practice the hour before the game. and that was all. period.

    anyway…it really does get stressful. i remember 8 yrs ago when we were visiting my in laws in CA and how everything revolved around my nephews baseball travel schedules. it was ridiculous. i vowed never to live like that.

    we’ve worked up to where we are now. my kids are only allowed 1 activity at a time, but that kinda gets complicated, because 2 of them are in a year-round activity. so i guess i should say that norah is allowed a second sport during her “off” season. dinners are complicated. tuesdays are the only night during the week that all 5 of us are around the table, and that’s if chris is not traveling. otherwise its just the kids and i. but i still make dinner and we eat in shifts. aidan’s in middle school, so his sports are right after school. no big thing. but the twins eat a big snack before their activity (like eggs, a half sandwich, a smoothie, quesadilla) and then eat dinner afterwards. for norah, that means 8pm. i guess its just our normal. and they know that at any time, they can stop. but they also know that if we go on a trip or whatever, we don’t work around sports schedules. we have no issues missing events. because ….life.
    Karri´s last blog post ..Hello love

  26. 32

    Our 6-year-old twins get to do 1 thing. So far, they’ve tried a couple different lessons, and not found one thing that is all-consuming, which is fine with me. We also have a 2-year-old and I just think if we don’t keep it slightly limited, we’d become nothing but chauffers.

  27. 33
    Susan Briggs says:

    We let them do what they wanted but I have to say that now that they are older I don’t miss it & I did enjoy it at the time. Good luck! : ) I would love the read Tsh’s book. Thank you!

  28. 34

    No family for this girl yet, but I can imagine how crazy hectic stressful it might be!

  29. 35
    Kathy Davis says:

    I was a soccer mom for both of our kids, a girl and a boy. They loved it so I loved watching them. We didn’t start in kindergarten though! My son later played football in and has now coached football at both the high school and college level. My daughter later ran track and cross country and still loves to run. My theory… all things in moderation.

  30. 36
    Jamie Lincoln says:

    I’m also going to have 4 kids and I just don’t know how it would all be managed? Would we just never all be at home together? Seems crazy, but a tad inevitable with age. Wish I could give advice, but I’m not there yet :) I hope I win a copy of Blue Bike!! I’ve been wanting to read it.

  31. 37

    I was NOT a sports person, but I was blessed with 2 sons who loved sports. So away I went! Both boys played soccer from age 4 through Senior year of high school. One did Cub Scouts & Boy Scouts with soccer being secondary. The other is a total athlete and soccer was #1.

    Along the way they tried t-ball, baseball & basketball when they were young before settling on Scouts & soccer. Then in middle school they played flag football for school. And in Senior year my younger one played high school football as well.

    Honestly, it was wild. Sometimes dinner was late. Sometimes we did eat fast food on the way home. Many weekends were spent traveling to camp outs and tournaments. But we did it as a family and I really loved it.

    Just like you enjoy watching Henry skateboard (and yes, my boys both did that as well), I enjoyed watching my sons play sports and participating in scouting. I was a Scout leader and a Soccer Coach.

    When they weren’t playing organized sports we traveled around looking for skate spots & going to skate parks with their friends.

    I loved every minute of it~ being surrounded by my boys and their friends. Now that they’re both grown I really miss it… the practices, games, tournaments all the kids & parents we got to know.

    Overall, I would say it was a wonderful experience for all of us. My sons learned so much about teamwork and leadership and the importance of being on time and finishing what you start. It was crazy & hectic at times, and I spent lots of time managing uniforms (LOL!) but I don’t have any regrets. It was what they wanted to do and I felt the need to support their interests.

  32. 38
    Mary Foster says:

    I am not a big fan of kids’ sports for many of the reasons you state. I also totally get the value of team participation, I just think adults have completely lost all concept of “developmentally appropriate” when it comes to sports. We have a local football team of 10-12 year olds who practice SEVEN days a week. I think parents let this happen and cannot figure for the life of me how this benefits the child. Or how a family has any time together. My kids LOVE to come home and just play, read, hang out, etc. It works for us. And yes, I also worry I am creating socially deprived younguns. But we are happy and it just isn’t worth the stress to do things much differently. So I am with you and figure we can’t be the only two…

  33. 39

    Oldest is 5 and just did a our first season of soccer. One practice and one game a week, 6 weeks. That was the absolute most I could commit to. I love home and family time too much. But I know it’s only going to get tougher in years to come.

  34. 40

    No kids, but I always thought (especially if there was more than one child), that they would get to choose one activity to be involved in outside of the normal activities, and they had the option to change that thing from season to season.
    Dawn´s last blog post ..Life and death

  35. 41

    I have a 6 year old and an 8 month old. My oldest has been in swimming lessons for a year and a half straight, twice a week. He loves it. He excels in it, it’s totally his thing. We’ve done a sport through parks and rec for a good year and a half as well. He hated soccer. Baseball is so so. Loves gymnastics. We took January and February off from that because my husband works nights and I work days and we needed a break. I’ve come to love having my Saturdays back. Even though gymnastics is only an hour, it’s still time consuming and with my husband often working Saturdays it can be exhausting. But we do it because Zach enjoys it. Swimming lessons are at night, 530 – 6. We usually eat afterwards. Sometimes fast food. Sometimes sandwiches. Since the hubs isn’t home for dinner anyway, our dinner time is a disorganized mess. I have mixed feelings about sports. I want my kids to experience it. I want them to so what they love. I think the benefit is awesome. But it’s hard with littles and schedules and time for sure.

  36. 42
    Christy Peeples DuBois says:

    My youngest daughter is a junior in high school and plays a sport year round. We go from soccer, basketball, tennis and cheerleading. It is a lot of work for her but she LOVES it. My mother and I
    Go to all of her games/events and some are 3 hrs one way and on a school night. I do not agree with all that it requires but to not let her participate in sports that she so lives for would make one unhappy young lady. I love her so much and my life revolves around her. It’s just part of our life.

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    It’s a huge give and take…one I struggle with daily! Even Sundays are being taken by activities! We are always trying to find a balance!

  38. 44

    We have 3 (10, 8, 4) kids in sports and also Girl/Cub Scouts. Between the 3 kids we have practice, games, meetings 5 days a week. Sometimes we eat early, sometimes we eat late, and sometimes we pack a picnic dinner and eat during practice. The two who are stuck at practice/games while they other is playing usually have books or games they bring to play. Plus there are usually other players siblings to play with also. We have been doing it now 5 years and so far it has been working. Although we did have to say no to any sports that had random game and practice schedules. Like baseball in our area games are all different nights of the week. But my son’s hockey team always has practice the same day each week and games the same day each week. That was our only requirement when the kids picked stuff out. The hardest part for me is keeping to our sports schedule during cookie selling season and popcorn selling season lol!

    • 45

      I mean , i would also like to mention that we always eat dinner together, we still go to church twice a week, and we still have lots of family time together. The kids still have time to get out there and play with the neighborhood kids and ride bikes and dig in the dirt. So far we have been able to make it all work out

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    I look back with fond memories of my childhood. Full of all those great “lazy” days of adventure and fun…outside and inside…playing and creating. Sure we had chores too…I specifically remember hating anything yard work related…but we had a lot more fun than work. (I miss that time).

    BTW: Notes from a Blue Bike sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity.

  40. 47

    As an extrovert, I love going out! I enjoy chatting to the other parents while my kids play. They don’t do organized sport….mainly because it is very expensive here. We do library storytime (we go to the library a lot anyway, so may as well make it part of a regular thing….the kids have fun and I avoid late fees!), and my oldest does one swimming class once a week. I think that learning to swim is a life skill that everyone needs, so half an hour out of my Sunday is no big deal. Takes ten minutes to get him dressed and head to the local pool. He’s also started school this year, just two and a half days a week, so I take the little one to playgroup once a week. A morning where I get to chat to other mums and he gets to play on a playground is great. It keeps him occupied as well, otherwise he misses his brother too much. I guess it’s just a personality difference, perhaps. I still feel like the majority of our time is spent in that lovely, carefree way you describe. My boys spend most of their time running around outside, or free play inside if the weather is bad. I wouldn’t do any extracurricular that cut into family time. The exception would be when they’re teenagers and if they are gifted at something in particular, and want to take it further. Then I will help them. But at ages 4 and almost 2? Ha! No way.

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    We are a family that says no too, all the time. We prefer life’s simple times opposed to all the events and shenanigans that are organized these days. That being said, my boys are 10 and 12 and have been playing soccer for about 6 years now. This is what we make time for. Why? Because they love it. They are good at it and it makes them feel good. It is their “thing”. We are a sit-down-every-night-together-for-dinner family but things shift a little during soccer season (Spring and Fall for us – we pass on Summer and Winter). During those times I feed the kids early and then either make wraps to-go or husband and I eat late. The only reason we do this though is because it is their passion. And keep in mind, we have chosen the most low key, least requiring league (practice 1x week, games on Saturday). We are getting to the point where my older son will have to decide if he’s moving to a more competitive league (read: much more requiring) and that will put an additional stress on us. He’s the one who would like to play professionally though so we would do it for him. Good luck with the decision!

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    Wow. Just. Wow. This is my perpetual conflict and I feel so alone on the issue…until now. Most of it is internal, but I’m really starting to feel the pressure from others. I, too, have 4 children who are 6 and under, the youngest being 21 month old twins. I work full time and haven’t a clue how I could possibly carve out another moment for organized sports. We’re looking to make some big lifestyle changes soon, including me staying home, but the thought of booking up all my time once I finally get home to my babies is just deflating. I’m so glad to know there are other parents like me who believe our kids can have a great life without all the structured hustle and bustle. I am interesting in reading the book, whether I win a copy or not!

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    As a kid I did few organized sports and sometimes wish I’d done more. The one year I did softball we had the worst coach who favored her daughter over every other player. I think it was mostly spring and summer so there was more free time but back then there was a lot less school work and home work to be had.

    I don’t have kids myself so take this with a grain of salt…. isn’t the play around the neighborhood sportlike? Sure there may not be umpires and rules and parents screaming but that’s what makes sports miserable for a lot of kids. Look at what organized sports will give your kids (teamwork, cooperation, discipline) and ask if they need that at 6 yo or need that from sports.

  44. 51

    No kids = no sports. It’s glorious. But in all seriousness, it’s something my husband and I have already talked about some. We’re both sports fanatics and want our future kids to do things they enjoy, but our number one priority after God is family. Family time is so important, and if sports and extracurriculars take away from that too much…they get nixed. We’ve also discussed that our children shall not play soccer…because ew. I’m still scarred from having to go to all of my sister’s soccer games and tournaments.
    Rachel´s last blog post ..InstaFriday + Miscellany

  45. 52

    My oldest is about to turn five, and this is something we are starting to attempt to figure out. I’d love my daughter to have an outlet, and something she loves, but….she’s still so young! I don’t want it to affect the rest of the family either, esp. with a newborn around. Ideally, I think we will do something for her, but that’s preferably only once a week and allows freedom most days. I agree that I want my kids childhood to be relaxed and fun and lazy. Not something that makes mom into a crazy lady that is always stressed out by the added pressure.. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  46. 53

    we choose one sport/activity per season. busy, but worth it…

  47. 54

    Hmm, how do we handle organized sports? Well, my husband signs them up for things because he loved doing it as a kid, doesn’t ask me ahead of time, and then expects me to have all four of them at practice and games with uniforms washed on time. So, I guess you could say we are not handling it very well. I want the simple life you describe. He doesn’t understand that. Sorry, this is a sore spot for me right now, as they were signed up for soccer on Wednesday. All except the two year old, who will get to attend all of those practices and games, locked down in a stroller. Yeah, exciting!

  48. 55

    I swear you have a wire tap on my home!! The hubs and I were just talking about this tonight. He also travels extensively and I’m a new stay at home mom of three. Your words spoke right to me. Soccer sign is begin this week. My husband thinks that we should sign our 3 year old up!! What?!!! I’m not ready for the schedule, the running, the feeding… I feel like if I don’t break down and sign them up, that they won’t fit in with other kids at some point. I clearly need to give this book a read. Thanks for the great post!

  49. 56

    My boys are 16 and 13, so I have this side of the age range to talk about. My oldest started baseball at 4. I was a stay at home mom, but my husband worked in the city, so I was stressed a lot of the time trying to do everything. As time passed, my youngest started playing, I went back to teaching and my husband started working ftom home. I was still stressed about doing everything. I would skip games to grocery shop, do laundry and clean. As more time passed, my children’s travel ball schedules got more hectic, but my oldest started driving himself to practice. I got breast cancer and was forced to miss an entire season of both of their games. I have two points: my boys are healthy, athletic, honor roll students who LOVE baseball. I love my boys more than life. I viewed sports an an interloper that was getting in my way, in fact my expectations of dinner being served every night at 6 and clean clothes folded every night were getting in my way. I still get everything done but it’s still a leisurely pace, and I am enjoying their sports more than ever. Time has flown, although cliched, it’s true. Enjoy that laid back childhood time, but don’t look at organized sports as a villain to family time. Enjoy your children. Before you know it, your oldest will be driving to practice and you’ll actually miss that car time with him.

    • 57

      This is oh so TRUE~ My boys are 22 & 27 and I can’t tell you how much I miss that time spent with them, driving to practices and games and across the states to tournaments. It was a wonderful time in our lives and I would re-live it in a heartbeat! Sports can mean more family time, not less… especially as your kids get older. You may not realize it now, but they won’t always be hanging out in your house. Someday they’ll be off with friends, and those sports you dread will give you a way to stay involved & connected with their lives.