**post-edit note: Please read my response to the first question in the comments which helps clarify that I’m not promoting this craziness…just recording this crazy sports “season” we have found ourselves in!
Things have gotten a little haywire in the sports world for Claire over the last few months.
There was one Saturday a while back where we got up early and headed out for tennis lessons with the cousins, went straight from there to a soccer tournament clear on the far side of the other side of town, then waited for the next game, played it, then headed to her rec. team volleyball game, and got back in time enough to tuck Lucy in bed that night.
Phew. I was tired. And Claire might have been more tired. Ha!
But I thought we could chock that one up to a crazy Saturday and cross it off the list until I went through schedules and found that pretty much every coming up weekend was set to be pretty much just like that one.
And we’ve been going strong ever since except for a break right after Thanksgiving. This last weekend she had four soccer games (not kidding), a tennis lesson (that we ended up opting out of), and a double header in volleyball.
Yeah. We are nuts.
This is the deal though:
Claire adores soccer. She tried out that club team last year and fell head over heels in love. Then, if you remember, she was the only one who didn’t make it when she tried out for the team this year. She had a kind of cool experience deciding to still play on the other team they offered her and it’s been a pretty awesome experience for her (more about that back HERE). And club soccer takes a lot of time. Two practices a week and lots of weekend tournaments. (Someone asked a few posts ago how we do soccer Sundays and the answer is that we’re in a club that doesn’t do Sundays…it’s a pretty amazing new club here in the desert and is doing really well.)
Claire has also been drawn to tennis first of all because of her Grandfather 🙂 and also because of her parents 🙂 (A little about she and Grace’s tennis progression HERE.) But she has four cousins her age who are really into tennis and I tell you, it is awesome that they can all play together. We had a little mini doubles tournament-turned-mom-child-tennis time up in the mountains over Memorial Day back HERE to give you the idea of how great it is to have all those cousins who play.
She took lessons from a guy with Grace for a while, and also Saturday lessons with these kids when soccer didn’t conflict, but recently she loved that group cousin teacher (and was not in love with her other coach) so much she started taking with her twice a week and working with the cousins on Saturdays.
Yeah, lots of sports, right?
And to top it all off, I kept getting this nudging to let her try volleyball. She’s always been interested, and Elle has said a couple times she wished she had played because of her height. People here in the desert start their kids in sports so dang early so we’re really far behind girls who have already played for years (which is crazy to me…that’s a post for another day), but we found a low-key rec. team to let her just give it a try a few months ago.
Well, at first she didn’t love it, as most people would feel when they have no idea what in heaven’s name they are doing. But by the second game she was pretty thrilled with that sport. She liked it enough to try out the first “open gym” for club volleyball, and then the next one too. And then she had stars in her eyes about trying out.
SO, to make a long story a smidgen shorter, she made the “practice” team on the club volleyball team she wanted (which works for us since “practice” players don’t play in the tournaments and she’s committed to club soccer right now). So suddenly we were in tennis, club soccer, club AND rec. volleyball.
She loves it all.
And I have to admit all those sports weekends have given us quite a bit of quality mother/daughter time (Dave’s been in China or unavailable for many of the weekends, Grace has all kinds of student council things on Saturdays lately…more on that soon…and Lucy has no desire in the world to accompany us), so it’s just me and her.
You like the pink stuff they wear?? Funny…she looks a little clown-ish after smudging through one or two games!
So we’ve gone from tennis, to soccer to volleyball over and over and over again on repeat over the last few months.
It’s been so fun to watch this girl in action.
But boy howdy we sure celebrated after her last-before-the-holidays late-night soccer match on Saturday and again when we got a text that there’s no practice this week.
So grateful she gets to try her hand at all these things and that we can support her in that but all of us are sure as can be ready for a break!
Hopefully she can narrow these sports down to one of her favorites next year…not holding my breath but crossing fingers…
So can you give me some insight on family life/sport life balance? I had a friend growing up who did EVERYTHING and she said it felt very family oriented because she only had one sister and her mom and sister came to all of her stuff and she went to all of her sisters stuff. But I come from a family of nine and my parents scaled WAAAAY back on what we were involved in (not that most of us didn't do a sport or a choir or something) because we enjoyed family time on Saturday's. I also used to basically nanny for my oldest sister because she had so many kids in so many sports, that me, as the favorite aunt–got to run kids places that they didn't have enough cars to do on their own. BUT now as my own kids are getting old enough (my oldest just started kindergarten) I'd like to know what you think about that balance. We spend most of our Saturday's doing family activities–the park, the beach, an activity put on by the zoo or by a science center, etc. And my kids come home from school and practice piano, but then they get to play for a bit without any direction, which I also find so important. Do you fit that in? I know the teenager stage is so different–so how do you transition and how do you keep it simple?
This is a great question and one I really meant to get into in this post but I was in to much of a hurry to get out the door. But I really should go back and edit to clarify some things because I don't want it to sound like I'm advocating being crazy in sports. I'm totally not. Just trying to record life.
The most important thing to clarify is that I think there are lots of "seasons" in raising kids. And I think the sports thing waxes and wanes for different kids, different parents, different families. Down time is SO important. And so is music and family time. And a balance has to be found.
But you'll find as your kids grow that if you ever find that perfect balance it is not just found and kept. It is ever changing. Because new things come up all the time. New interests, lost interests, too much going on, too little going on, different needs for different kids, different worries, different challenges. We just have to roll with it and adjust as necessary.
Over and over and over again.
Right now our balance is for sure out of whack. But in discussing all this with Dave and Claire we decided together that this is something we're all willing to do to figure out how to go forward. Sometimes you have to be crazy to figure out the right balance and that's the phase we're in right now because it's time sensitive. And Claire can handle it.
But after the last couple months I'm not sure I can handle it. Ha! And I miss my other kids on Saturdays…and Dave too. So we're reassessing and singing hallelujah that soccer is over until January 🙂
It really is ever changing! All those boy scouts, football, volleyball and whatever that Max was involved with is now over. It really does go by so fast and then they are off in the world. This time of trying new activities and sports is only a blimp in the time to come. As Claire gets older and has different responsibilities she won't be juggling 3 sports. There is so much more that she will be doing and learning!
P.S. I asked about music because I know it's so important to your family and when you were growing up. I think that shows that Claire and the girls are well rounded in their extracurricular activities- although I hesitate to call music and arts extracurricular!!!!! :😊
I can so relate to your constant running to kids activities and sports! I know you will get backlash about having her involved in too much… when does she have down time or time to eat/sleep/study/be with friends/etc. It's what I hear too. But I am with you in that she is doing what she loves. She is with friends at these activities. And if her grades are fine and she gets her rest, that's just great. We say that once something suffers, be that sleep, grades, family, attitude, or if she just decides something is not for her (or our son), then we cut things out. You seem like you would have a similar philosophy.
If you could tell us about how you pack for the long filled days, that would be helpful! I find it so hard to pack for the multiple activities, include healthy snacks to avoid the drive-thru, and keep my phone charged enough to send updates to the hubby 🙂
Yes, you have to add and cut and add and cut to keep figuring out that balance for sure! I'm not a great packer for those days, if I have a book and a charger I can get a lot done on the sidelines, but this is not the life for me and I know it's just a short season. Some moms are cut out for this kind of thing and do an awesome job but not me!
Are your girls still pursuing their music lessons as well? Just curious. After raising three girls and now a late in life boy, I have always felt extracurricular activities are wonderful. My basis for what they could be involved in was is it something they can participate in their whole life or most of their life? I am a huge football fan, but thank goodness that is not an option for my son to play, plus it is not something you can play as much when you get older. Swimming, tennis, golf, soccer, volleyball, dance, baseball/softball are just a few sports you can play your entire life. I look at the expense as an investment for their future. As a caregiver I love to see the seniors swimming laps, playing tennis, golfing, etc. It keeps them stimulated and fit. Football, wrestling, and a few others you don't see adults doing later in life. Just my thoughts on the subject.
Yes they are all doing piano and we have found such a fabulous piano teacher! Claire came out of her lesson the other day just positively glowing and told me how much she's loving piano right now. Grace is sounding so great too and Lucy is beaming about it all the songs she has memorized. We are kind of sticklers for piano around here. My dream would be cello too, but maybe in another life:)
Too bad Claire can't drive. That's so much time and work for mom!
I know, it's dreamy when kids start to be able to drive themselves but I'll be honest, there's part of me that misses that car time together. Grace is taking a whole slew of tennis lessons right now and is so involved in student council and I love that she can get herself to all those things but I miss her being with her in the car…just us and all the things that come up in those situations. Of course, we still get that every now and again, and I try to cherish it more now.
You are completely crazy. Hard things. Yeah.
I know! We are!
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The blogs I enjoy the most tend to be ones where there is an ability to have open discourse in the comments. You don’t have to always agree with what a blogger posts- in fact, blogs where the comment sections are filled with fluffy, fawning agreement, feel disingenuous and unrealistic. That being said, I do think there’s a line. Constructive criticism, or opposing views to spark a conversation, are different from snarky or rude quips, meant only to be unkind. You seem to exclusively post the latter.
I have, on occasion, posted in a comment section about a topic I have a differing view about. In fact, I’ve done it before here, on Shawni’s blog. I don’t know Shawni, but I respect her, and enjoy her content. Which is why I continue to read here, and feel a connection with her and her family, as much as one internet stranger can. I guess I don’t understand why you continue to frequent here, when it clearly makes you so unhappy. It seems like an awful big waste of time and energy. Perhaps instead of reading a blog that bothers you so much, you could spend that time and energy doing something positive, and that makes you happy. Especially seeing as how it’s the holiday season, and a time (no matter your religious affiliations, or lack thereof) to focus on the goodness of the world, which is harder and harder in the recent political climate.
I want to wish you the happiest holidays. Sincerely.
(Also- Shawni, please feel free to delete this comment if it over steps. I’m always so blown away by the charity and kindness you extend to Tabby – and a few other unkind commenters- but I couldn’t help but comment on this one)
I completely agree. If you have something rude to say keep it to yourself and move on. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
Very nicely put RHrad.
As parents we are entrusted with helping our children maintain balance in an over-scheduled, spastic world. Help them narrow down their interests, encourage them to choose their favorites – not help them try to do everything…
Shawni has stated that they are willing to do all of these sports for Claire right now because it's time sensitive, this is not their new normal. I think it's important to expose our kids to lots of different sports and activities so they can choose what they would like to do. All of Claire's sports just so happen to be going on at the same time ha!
What does Lucy do all Saturday while you're driving/watching Claire and Grace is doing her leadership stuff?
And Dave is in China
My son is preschool age. But there are a few activities I would have a hard time supporting based on my experience as a youth and the youth in my ward. FFA! They encourage the kids to go into thousands of dollars of Debt to buy a cow. We don't believe in that…AND our FFA kids at church are so sressed out. They have to drive somewhere else to feed these animals EVERY DAY at the same time on top of everything else. Band- I did band boy I know how all consuming it can be, and I prefer a team sport for my kids. Hopefully our kid doesn't want to do band! Chior or piano would be a good opportunity to learn about music, but not so much time commitment.
I can relate. My daughter who is 12 is involved in so many things right now. NYS volleyball and Club volleyball (actually I saw you at club tryouts and wished I'd come over to say hi). She also is VP in student council in 6th grade, takes piano lessons, music club at school and mutual activites. In addition to my other 2 kids that are involved in other activities as well. I agree that kids here begin sports so early that I feel my kids are behind. Its such a battle of balance but as you said this is the season of life I am in now. They grow too fast and I don't want to regret anything.
I have so many feelings about all this sports business and my kids aren't even in Junior High yet! Here in California, soccer seems to rule the world. Comp sports seem to be especially crazy. I have so many friends with older kids as well as kids in our church that participate, I feel like all I hear about are sports. I get wanting to be with friends, being active, developing a skill, building self esteem, etc. All of those are good things, but what is the overall cost? Kids today seem busier then ever and having unstructured time is so rare now of days. Families are all over the place. It makes me dread that time when my kids are older, but I think I might be mean and say no. One of the biggest frustrations for me is that the sports don't just impact the child and parents. Siblings get pulled all over the place which doesn't seem fair to me. My niece competes in gymnastics and her brother is expected to sit in the car for hours each weekend as they drive to meets. He hates it. The biggest struggle I have is the impact these schedules have on others. People I serve with at church are never able to have meetings or never get things done they committed to because they are over committed with their work, life and kid's sports. Being able to have a meeting once ever 4 months at 9:30 at night doesn't seem appropriate. Cleaning the church on Saturday morning – two families out of 12 showed because the others had sport commitments. Furthermore, I get asked to babysit smaller children on a weekly basis in order to "support" friendships. However, several of these friends don't call or text or check in because they are always on the go. I only hear from them when they need something. I think sports are fine when done in moderation, but it seems that doesn't seem to be the trend these days. I have no desire for this to be my situation and I don't know what that will mean for my kids socially. It just seems priorities have gotten way out of line since I was a child. When I was a small girl, I begged my mom to let me take dance and she told me no. I persisted and she pointed out that the dance place was 45 minutes away and I was one of 5 children. It wasn't going to happen. Yes I was sad many times when I thought about it growing up, but I think I gained perspective outside of myself, spent time with my family, saved a lot of money and time and found other things to do that carried into my adult years. I survived and I think my kids will too.
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