In the past week I have driven 850 miles, only 118 of them were for work. Why? Soccer. My oldest in on two different traveling soccer teams. Each week we drive hundreds of miles, spends hours in the car, hours in the cold and rain watching games, and eating various meals made either in the back of the car or bought at a drive through
because French fries. For the past two years, this has been our spring.
Our fall season is even more chaotic. Three kids going in three different directions because heaven forbid anyone was on the same soccer team. Winter slows down with only one playing basketball
although a second one is threatening to play next year and a ski/snowboarding program on Fridays. One would think that maybe summer would mean some sort of reprieve, but it doesn’t. Summer camps, family trips, holidays, and soon jobs.
As parents of school aged children, this is our job…our main objective. We juggle housework and alter work schedules to be able to get our kids to their various activities and school functions. When we can’t get them there, we beg family members and other parents to shuffle our kids around for us. There are late nights and early mornings, especially on the weekends. Long days with junk food for dinner because there wasn’t even enough time that morning to prepack anything. In short, our lives revolve around our kid’s schedules. We may be the adults, but their lives are dictating what we do.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an acquaintance about schedules and kids, and how they were upset about having to revolve their schedule around their children’s. At the time of the conversation I didn’t really address the comment in detail. Maybe it was because I was distracted, or maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting a comment like that. Either way, I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but the more I
drive my kids around when I could be home doing “things” think about it, the more I realize it bothers me.
I am 39 years old, arguably the prime of my life. There are so many concerts I could be going to, lady’s brunches I could be attending
totally not a brunch person, camping trips I could be on, bars i could be dancing on, and so much more. But you know what? I can’t do all those things I “could” be doing. Why? Because, as a parent, my world completely revolves around my children. Their sports schedules dictate my work hours. Their summer camps tell me when we can take a family vacation. Their school plays show me when I can stay late at work. Their sleepovers with friends as random as they can be make my date nights. Even my kid’s bedtimes tell me when I can watch “my” shows and go to bed. Every morning I have to get up earlier than I would of I weren’t a parent because I have to get myself and three other humans ready for the day before I leave for work.
Even with all this, I still find time to myself and quality time with my husband
even if the kids are convinced our dates consist of going to the animal feed store and shopping for power tools. I’m not a stranger to having a girl’s night out, enjoying date night, or even going to get a massage. To me, as a parent, it’s just something we do. We understand that our children’s schedules dictate everything we do. From the moment they are born and demand to be fed when they are hungry even when we are sound asleep at 2am, we automatically start to mold our lives around theirs. We may be the adults but they are in charge. And you know what? We do it without even thinking about it unless we really need a nap or want them to finally stop talking about Fortnite. We do it because we know that our time with them is so limited in the long run.
Before kids, 18 years seems like such a long time. Once you’re a parent of a 10 year old, you realize that 18 years is nothing. You start thinking about 8th grade and high school graduations. First girl/boyfriends, driver’s ed and licenses, first cars, college applications, and all the fights you’re going to have with your teenagers. TEENAGERS!!! Ypu just had a baby, and now you’re going to have a teenager!
I guess what I’m trying to say is, yes, your life HAS to revolve around your children. You really don’t have a choice in that now that you’ve actually had them and started raising them. In the moment, this revelation feels like such a burden. We catch ourselves daydreaming and begging for it to stop. All we want is a few minutes to ourselves!!! But you know what, we are going to get all the minutes we have ever desired when they are older. In fact, if we’ve raised them right, we will be surprised at just how many minutes we actually have once that they have flown the nest.