This past Sunday my oldest daughter had a soccer tournament. So we got up at 6:00 a.m., and left at 6:45 a.m. without eating breakfast, so we could drive 45 minutes to the soccer fields and unpack our chairs, cooler, soccer gear, diaper bag and stroller in time for a four-game tournament in 90+ degree weather. En route, after a minor stress bicker about running late (shocker!), we all rejoiced and called out in unison a realization that greatly improved our collective mood . . .
"There's a Starbucks!"
I'm normally not a coffee drinker, but I was facing six hours of soccer on five hours of sleep. And since none of us had time to eat breakfast, this $25 coffee stop wasn't a luxury, but a necessity! Four cinnamon twists and four frappacinos later, we were good to go. Yes, even my ten-year-old and seven-year-old daughters got a frappacino, but what theirs lacked in caffeine they made up for in chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
As I baked on the sidelines with just the slightest bit of shade I shamelessly created with my daughter's Dora the Explorer umbrella (that she refuses to use anymore), I had the same conversation I've had with dozens of parents: our children's extracurricular activities take up all of our free time!
We have soccer six days a week because two of our daughters are on travel soccer, and that doesn't count the soccer tournaments! But I know this type of time commitment isn't unique to soccer. Friends of ours with kids who play baseball, participate in theater productions, or on the swim team, all can relate to inhaling dinner, eating in the car, or eating at 8:00 at night to accommodate the multiple practices/rehearsals our kids have during the week.
After surviving the near boiling temperatures with scads of sunscreen and bottles of beverages, I asked my hubby, somewhat rhetorically, as we drove the 45 minutes home,
"What would we do with all the time we'd have if our kids didn't play travel soccer?"
He just laughed. I thought he'd say mow the lawn, but that's a sore subject!
So why do I enable such an imbalance when I'm a believer in balance?
- We love watching our kids excel athletically.
- We think it's important that our kids exercise regularly.
- We want to instill in them the value of working together as a team.
- We know firsthand the joy of bonding with teammates.
- We get to socialize on the sidelines and lament with other parents living the same crazy life!