Daycare drop-off, carpool, the PTA bake sale, soccer, t-ball, art class, swimming, tennis, and art camp. Whew! Your kid might be perfectly fine (or even awesomely energetic), but you’re exhausted. Between everything your child has to do, staying on top of your job, taking care of things at home, fitting in date night, making time for Sunday morning brunch with the girls, and everything else you do — you’re over-scheduled. Majorly over-scheduled. You hear an awful lot about kids and over-scheduling, but it seems like parents are left out when it comes to looking at why booking yourself to the max is just as bad for mamas as it is for their kiddos. Here are six things you miss out on when you book yourself 24/7.
1. “Me” Time: When you became a mom, you gave up something very precious — time for yourself. You got something even more precious (your child), but you don’t have to be into the all-kid, all-the-time life. With 24 hours in a day, surely there’s at least one for something that doesn’t involve changing diapers, washing sippy cups, or cleaning finger paint from the wall. No one is saying that you should ignore your family in favor of adults-only activities all of the time. But without at least some “me” time, you might start resenting your new mommy life.
2. Time to Decompress: One of the major criticisms of over-scheduling children is that they don’t have the free time they need to unwind. They’re all stressed out about school and have a stockpile of energy that they’ve been holding in. Well, the same goes for you. It’s not like your boss gives you three half-hour breaks a day to run around outside, play kickball, or jump rope. You also don’t get the chance to stop and just be for a moment. (Those 15 seconds you wait for your preschooler to come out of her classroom does not count.) When you’re booked every second of every day, you don’t get the chance to sit, de-stress, and let the day melt away.
3. Learning to Be Alone: In a life where you can’t even pee without your mini-me following you to the bathroom, you can’t imagine what it would be like to be alone. But someday your toddler will be a teenager, and then they’ll go off to college. Yes, audible gulp there. Being on the go all of the time with kid-related parenting activities sets you up for some loneliness later on. Instead of waiting, take a break so you can get used to being by yourself right now.
4. Your Own Creativity: 5:45am is wake-up time, every day. 7:15 is breakfast. 8:00 is school drop-off. And your schedule just goes on from there. Every day it’s the same thing — same time, same activity. There’s just no room for creativity in that packed schedule of yours. You totally want your kiddo to be creative: That’s why you signed them up for tot art class, ballet, and acting. But they’re not the only one who needs a schedule break to stretch their imagination. When you have some unplanned time, you’re forced to get creative and think outside of the box. At least, you’re forced to think about what you can actually do — right now.
5. Resting and Recharging: Your days are marathons. Actually, they’re a series of micro-sprints that are set up to make you jump over hurdles between running from here to there and then back here again. That’s probably why you tend to fall asleep while reading your toddler their bedtime story. (Or maybe it’s that their themed bed is completely comfortable and cozy.) In any case, over-scheduling yourself can run you ragged. You need a break, and if you don’t get one, you’re going to collapse. Maybe literally.
6. The Important Things in Life: What with answering work emails, texting the other homeroom parents about the teacher’s end-of-the-year gift, and coaching pee-wee soccer, you have zero free time — not just for yourself, but for your family as well. Over-scheduling takes away from QT with your loved ones. Sure, you spend time with your kids as-is: After all, there’s the five minutes in the car on the way to preschool and the 10 minutes you stood in line with your baby at the grocery store. But those aren’t really quality examples. Undo some of that over-scheduling, and pencil in downtime with your family!
What schedule-clogger would you love to ditch? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)