Forget The Over Scheduling Debate: How The Heck Do People Find The Time?

Whether a busy schedule for kids is good or bad, Leslie Kennedy can't fathom how parents fit it all in

My daughter takes dance during the school year, 45 minutes, once a week on Saturdays. My son takes baseball, 1 hour a week all summer long, Monday or Tuesday depending on the week. They both have swimming lessons, half an hour, once a week, right now, on Saturdays, after dance.

I work full time, 8.30 am to 5 pm, 45 minutes away from home. By the time I pick up my kids and get home, it’s 6 pm. It typically takes me half an hour to prep dinner, while the kids enjoy some down time watching TV, and then half an hour to eat dinner, another half hour of TV (Wheel of Fortune for the win!), followed by 30 minutes of upstairs play (read: no screen) time, followed by bed.

There is precious little time to rest and relax and let the brain and body rest. I feel like we barely manage to squeeze in the limited activities we do into our already harried schedule.

I sit in the waiting room at dance class and listen to the other moms talk about how they’ve already done hockey and swim (dance is at 10 am!) and they are running to soccer or gymnastics right after. Hockey is multiple times a week. Soccer too. Getting on the rep team is a dream to them. More hockey! More soccer! These moms work too. Their husbands as well. How do they find the time?!

A recent piece in the Washington Post, shared via the Toronto Star lobbied for over-scheduled children, arguing that busy time is a better alternative to what would otherwise be screen time, mindless time, wasted time.

“Of course, there is value in sitting in a corner reading, playing board games, climbing a tree or just daydreaming,” Andrea Orr wrote. “But the reality is that in most homes, screens of one sort or another compete fiercely with all those unstructured activities.”

That’s not untrue. In our house, we definitely default to screens, and on the weekend, when my kids aren’t being carted from swim to hockey to dance to soccer like those kids of the parents in my daughter’s dance class, they spend more time in front of the screen than they should, especially during the colder months.

But, my lack of desire to be over-structured aside, I can’t for the life of me figure out how these families, who also have two working parents, find the time to fit all of this stuff in on the weekdays.

I want, no, I NEED, time on the weekends to decompress; to not have a place I need to be all the time. My weekdays are crazy enough, getting the kids and I ready for our days, out the door with our shirts not on backward and inside out, lunches packed, stuff for the day prepared. It’s not that I judge people who have a million things going on and are structured up to their eyeballs. I just don’t get how they do it. The closest I’ve gotten to an answer is, ‘We just do.’

My daughter asked to do baseball this summer when I told her we had signed up my son. We were all over it at first, but then her game days overlapped with his. There was just no way. My husband gets home from his job at 7 pm. Games start at 6.30 pm. With an eight and a six-year-old, I would need to be in two places at once. Oh, that I had a clone!

Maybe that’s how they do it. Maybe they are fortunate enough to have both parents working close to home. Maybe they move heaven and earth to arrange their lives so that they can accommodate their children’s. Or, maybe they do have clones.

This exhausted mom can’t, for the life of me, figure out how else they do it. 

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