I wrote this the day school started (August 8th) and never got around to posting it. So here it is…
School started today and I have very mixed emotions. My kids are so excited to go, they got great teachers, and after a summer of so much unscheduled time I’m craving a little structure. But another part of me is pushing so hard against the whole routine thing again. I’m just not quite ready to have outside factors boss me and my family around again. I like to be in control. I’m not quite ready for carpools and lessons and homework and so much busy-ness. But I guess all good things have to end and I’ve got to get on top of so many things that were left by the wayside over the summer…maybe that’s what I’m dreading…having to do all the little household things that have been neglected. I’m excited for the kids though. They hopped on that bus with all their friends gleaming with excitement. I’m excited to see how things go.

My dilemma for the week is trying to balance what I want for my kids and what they really care about. Here’s an example: Grace got in a class with a teacher I requested, who is supposed to be great. At “Meet the Teacher Night” Grace was so excited to meet her and see where her desk is with her big nametag attached to the top. All was well until I walked around to see the other desks and couldn’t find a single other desk with a name tag that I recognized. My first instinct was to panic and go talk to the principal and switch her over to the class where all her friends are. But I noticed that Gracie could not have cared less that she didn’t know anyone. She was just excited. So the dilemma is, as a mother, I know all that goes into being in a class with not a single friend. She may be lonely and sad when it all starts and the excitement wears off. What if she feels left out from her little group of great friends since they’re all in another class together?, etc. Grace and I were on a little date yesterday to get school supplies and in our discussion I realized that truly, the furthest thing from Grace’s mind was worry about friends. She’s so friendly and outgoing she’ll have no problem making new friends and playing with current friends at recess, etc. So why do I worry so much?

And what about Claire? We’re doing Joy School this year and my friends have been looking into signing their daughters up for dance class. I really don’t want to do that again and get so over scheduled like I did last year. A year of taking Claire and Lucy to the library for story time and being relaxed and enjoying time together sounds so appealing to me. I don’t want to do all the extra stuff this year…my kids are going to all be gone before I know it. BUT what if Claire misses out on some great coordination she could gain from a class? What if she could compensate for any lack of rhythm she may have inherited from me if I put her in dance or gymnastics? What if she’s behind her friends because I didn’t sign her up for these things?? I know this sounds so dumb…even as I write it it sounds ridiculous to me. But as their mother I want so much what’s best for them, and sometimes it’s so tough to figure out what the “best thing” is. The world is chock full of things you can sign your kids up for and the balance is so tough to figure out.

So now it’s a few days later and I had the above conversation with Dave the other night. I’m so thankful for him and how level-headed he is. With one look from him about how silly this all sounds I realized I was way over analyzing. Gracie is doing amazing in her new class full of “strangers” where it turns out she actually knew a few kids from last year, and I’m so far holding strong on the cut of extracurricular activities, at least for Claire. My older kids are already set since last year for tennis, piano, music, activity days, scouts, etc. Life is busy no matter which way you look at it. But at least I can keep Claire a little longer. By January maybe I’ll change my mind, but for now, I’m keeping her in my apron strings.

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  1. shawni–this is maryclaire brown (parker…dianne poelman parker’s daughter). i found your blog through kara’s, and i’ve had so much fun looking at it and reading it. your kids are adorable, and your photography is amazing.

    i have no doubt that when my life gets to this point with older kids, etc., i will be having a very similar conversation with myself…and i’m sure my husband will calm me down about it all in much the same way. that’s why there are moms and dads!

    you can check out my blog and our small but growing family at http://maryclairebrown.blogspot.com

    you guys are so cute!

  2. I think you made just the right decisions for your kids… Just think of all the classes you didn’t have (I’m sure there were at least a couple!) and you turned out just fine 🙂 Knowing your mom loves you and enjoys being with you is a lot more important than one more class in the long run in my opinion…

  3. It’s such a balancing act. We are going through the same thing. I hate it when we get so busy and overshceduled, but then I want them to be involved in so many of those great extra activites. So I just try to do what works without making us all crazy.

  4. I ditto everything you are analyzing. This is one of my biggest struggles in parenting. How much is too much and how little is too little. I am tired of “owning” their motivation. I do believe you try and introduce them to things, but sooner or later the desire has to come from them. You will never make them what they aren’t. I’m in the same funk and have opted for very little extra curricular options and have loved it. I am a much better mom, more patient and more enjoyment is had. I agree with syd. Knowing your mom loves you and wants to be with you overrides any class you can take. You are amazing. Love you Heather

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