I have never been all that good at keeping my activity level manageable. I am what you would call a joiner. If you have a class or a club or a group of some sort, and you invite me, I am likely to attend and return and join and eventually start running the thing. I am just that sort of person. It hasn’t always worked to my advantage, as I tend to take on more than I can handle. But some part of me just likes belonging – or even better, leading – entirely too much to stop.
My propensity for signing up for every activity within a 10-mile-radius led to a bit of a situation last spring. You see, these days I have not only myself to sign up for stuff, but the children, too. In April Hannah was taking classes, Jacob was taking classes and I was taking classes. And children’s activities being what they are, I had to attend all of these classes myself, or at least be on the premises. It reached the point where every day I had some kind of activity on the go, children always in tow.
When the classes ended for the summer, I declared a self-imposed hiatus. I still belong to the groups that I most care about, but no one, and I mean no one, was going to sign up for any new classes or activities until the leaves started to turn. I wanted our days to be open and unscheduled and free of rushing hither and yon at all times. My plan worked. In fact, it worked better than I expected it to, because being out of the class loop meant that I wasn’t paying attention when fall class sign-up rolled around. We had a lovely six month long break from the various kid activities, and I’ve certainly enjoyed it.
Recently, though, I came across a program for a local arts centre that offers kid’s art classes and dance and parent and tot music lessons. Hannah has been asking to take swimming lessons again. I would like to take a class all by myself, maybe yoga on Saturday mornings. I am right back at square one, totally enamoured of joining. Because some part of me believes that all of these classes will hold the secret to fulfillment or help me meet people or maybe just give me a chance to prove that I am still a fabulous student. In fact, I’m not even entirely sure what they offer me, but I know that I want it.
Here is my conundrum. I think that a few activities here and there are fun, and can be really great for kids. Because, let’s face it, I am not going to teach my preschooler how to make pottery in my kitchen. But I seem completely incapable of setting reasonable limits. Once I start signing up I can’t stop myself, and before the dust settles we’re in every lesson I can track down.
So, I am calling on you for help. How do you keep the activity level sane? Do you have some sort of rules or limits you use to determine how many classes or activities are enough? Or, is this sort of running around and living in a car lifestyle just par for the course when you have a couple of kids? Please share and help a mama out!