LISA’S MONTHLY RANT: Happy Chaos Can Make Me Crazy!

I only have myself to blame… After all, I’m the parent, right. I should be the one who’s in control of the family schedule. And I hope you won’t think I’m shallow that I’m ranting about what I normally call the “happy chaos” that fills my life. However, sometimes the frenetic pace of making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be exhausts me. (Not to mention that I carry anxiety over missing an event, practice, or bringing the wrong boy to the right field at the wrong time – or other such mix-up).

If the kids’ team coaches and managers could give me schedule at the beginning of each season for practices and games, life would be easy. I could set up car pools with ease, schedule other family time and events around those activities.

But, for some reason, many of the extracurricular activities my children chose are managed by the scattershot approach. Little League baseball, Rec-league lacrosse, and even High School Baseball coaches seem to schedule practices on an ad hoc basis, making it next to impossible to arrange carpools, plan a week’s activities in advance, or know whether my child is available to attend a birthday party two weeks away.

The notion that the life of the “soccer Mom” (translated to include Dad’s, grandparents, or anyone who carts kids around to activities including but not limited to soccer) is a breeze is pure and utter crap. Any adult who acts as activities director for a child or children is likely to come away from the experience with skills to rival any Five Star General in charge of military logistics.

I understand that fields and practice space are at a premium, and sometimes weather gets in the way. However, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why these sports leagues cannot set a schedule in advance. Why must the coaches text or email the time and place of the next practice on a weekly or even daily basis. For goodness sake! Even if they just looked at last year’s schedule and modeled a new one after it. This would make the activities so much more family-friendly. (I’m begging my readers not to volunteer me for the job of making said-schedule. I do appreciate the volunteers who take on this task, I just wish they did it differently).

My kids love these activities and love to stay busy. Every time I mention how we are over-scheduled, the reaction from my boys is, “No, Mom! We like it!” They don’t seem to mind that they run from All County Chorus to a baseball practice, or from band or play practice to Lacrosse, from Religious school directly to a tennis lesson.

They have come to understand that if three boys with two parents wish to participate in all of these different activities, that sometimes a Mom or Dad will not be in the stands cheering them on – because instead, we’ll be with the other brothers.

I’m ranting, I know. But that’s all part of this monthly feature. Chime in! Fellow time-strapped parents unite!

Remind me that in the not-too-distant future, when my kids are in college, I won’t know what to do when I’m managing only my own activities and they’re in charge of their own. In the meantime, I’d love some tips for managing and improving my attitude over happy chaos.

Best to you,

Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Author of Smart Women’s Fiction

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