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
By Cooper McKenzie
I’m not sure about all writers, but I can honestly say that I use bits of myself in every book I create. Some bits are bigger than others.
In my latest e-book, Love Bite, Vamping with Jayne Book 2, which is being released today (February 18th) from Red Rose Publishing, I used a job incident from my past when Jayne is fired before she can quit her job as a waitress.
Many, many, many years ago I was working for an optometrist, but as the mother of an under 2-year-old child, I wished I could be home. I was also not happy with the working environment or the way my boss wanted me to fill two roles, medical secretary and his clinical assistant.
I talked with my then-husband about quitting, though I had no idea what I would do next. I finally decided I would go in Monday morning and talk to the doctor and quit. The Friday before, instead of getting my paycheck with the other employees at noon, mine was held back. At the end of the day, Dr. M called me into his office and fired me, stating that I wasn’t working out because I was never able to keep up with what he wanted to do.
Funny thing was whatever I was doing, in his eyes I should be doing something else. If I was working in the office, I should be assisting him. If I was assisting him, then I should have been answering the phone or checking a patient out. He was crazy, but I was able to clean and organize his entire office during my six weeks of employment. I heard later that he ended up hiring two people to replace me.
Cooper McKenzie always thought she had been born a hundred years too late, but appreciates air conditioning, computers and other conveniences of modern day living. She enjoys the slower pace of New Bern, North Carolina as well as the history and small town community found there. In addition to dreaming up her next story, Cooper enjoys reading everything except scary books, singing in her church choir and needle-weaving. My website is www.coopermckenzie.webs.com
Love Bite’s blurb:
When Donovan Richards wants to talk, Jayne Peters isn’t sure if she should fear for her life or just her heart. Though she tries to distract him, he demands she quit her job so he can take care of her. As an independent woman, Jayne feels she must work for her living, just like any man does.
Unexpectedly Jayne finds herself unemployed with no money and a stack of bills to pay. Can she give up her 21st century independence and let Donovan take care of her?
I have been having so much fun on Facebook. One of my friends challenged me. I was supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about me. Here is the result. I thought I’d share it with my blog friends, too.
This was stream of consciousness, completely random order, here…
1. I am an eternal optimist. I’m happy more days than I am not.
2. I think it’s cool that I grew up in a house with only sisters and no brothers, and now I have only sons and no daughters. I can definitely relate to how outnumbered my Dad must feel.
3. I once bruised my husband’s ego (slightly) by answering the question on one of those forwarded emails: “If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be?” as “Alone on the beach with a book.” I want it on the record, what I MEANT to say was, “Alone on the beach with Phil . . . and a book.” LOL
4. I am surprised by my three sons’ athletic abilities. They didn’t get the hand-eye coordination from me!
5. I am amazed by my identical twin sons every day. It’s like having genetic experiment in the house. Ha ha. Seriously, they are amazing boys and they each have a built-in best friend for life.
6. If I ever decide to go back to my law practice, I would do something with more meaning, something completely different from telecommunications or corporate law, like help people adopt babies. If all else failed, I guess in the current market, bankruptcy law might be a good option…
7. I enjoy the “method acting” that is involved in writing fiction. I love to pretend to be someone else and write from a new point of view.
8. I have the uncanny ability to relate anything in life to a Seinfeld episode.
9. Our family named our dog, “Bosco. “ It was George’s ATM pass-code.
10. I love my husband’s passion for life, his self-confidence, and a lot of other things about him–but most of those are private.
11. I had Lasik surgery on my eyes ten years ago. For me, it was easier than getting a haircut and I am no longer blind!
12. I have the body-image opposite to an anorexia patient. No matter what the scale says, I think I look fine. It’s probably just as delusional as anorexia, but I’m happy in my skin. That can’t be bad!
13. After seeing the movie “The Bucket List” my husband, sons, and I put together a family bucket list of places we’d like to travel together as a family. We have less than five years until Grant goes to college. Common wishes: Grand Canyon and National Parks Tour, Hawaii, Israel, The Great Wall of China, Galapagos Islands, African Photographic Safari. I hope we can really make it to all of those places together.
14. I have volunteered my time to many charities over the years: Walkathons and 5 K runs, soup kitchens, canned food drives, organized book donations, helped organize supplies for disaster victims, served as President of PTA, taught art appreciation classes in the public schools, tutored math, canvassed neighborhoods for political candidates, organized fundraising, and more. The most meaningful volunteer experience I have had so far was participating in Pets on Wheels with my son and our dog. We visited a local nursing home with the dog every week for a year.
15. I think snow is a nuisance unless it’s on a mountain where I can ski on it.
16. The neighborhood I live in is as close to my “ideal” as I could find. I love living in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The area attracts intelligent people from all over the world. At our neighborhood public school, my children attend classes with children of diplomats from all over the world. It is so cool!
17. There are only two things missing that would make my neighborhood absolutely perfect: 1. I have no family close enough to come over for dinner or just stop by; and 2. I live too far from the ocean to go to the beach for the day. (There used to be a third thing: decent pizza, but Church Street Pizza is great!)
18. When I was a little girl, I used to think that if I concentrated hard enough I could do magic like Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie. I still have a bottle my sister gave me that looks like the one Barbara Eden had in the show. Alas, there is no sofa inside of it.
19. I wish I were more organized. My “pile management” gets me into trouble sometimes.
20. My least favorite chore in the world is sorting socks.
21. My favorite parts of Judaism are the traditions I celebrate in my home – and the food, of course the food.
22. I did not get the shopping gene from my mother. I hate going to the mall (but not as much as I hate sorting socks).
23. For the past eight years, my family has taken me out for Dim Sum on Mother’s Day. It’s my favorite!
24. When I was in college at GWU, I was walking by the Kennedy Center and ran into Tom Cruise who was on his way to get ready for a premiere of “Top Gun.” We had a great conversation! I asked, “Can I have your autograph?” He answered, “I’m sorry, I don’t have a pen.” Not much of a brush with stardom, but I picked one out of a hat. If I had 50 random items instead of 25, I might come up with a few more – like the time I gave Jan Hooks pointers about what to talk about when she was on Letterman, or the time I spent a week in Provincetown with author Julia Glass – not what you think! I was at a writing workshop!
25. The Nationals coming to Washington DC saved my marriage. Just kidding, it wasn’t that dire. But my “interfaith” marriage Red Sox/Yankee has been the toughest difference for my husband and me to work out. It is fun to have a team to follow together instead of always being rivals.
I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season. I’ll be giving 2008 a great send off on the slopes!
Wow! All of the stuff I have to pack for a ski vacation for a family of five sure takes up a lot of space in the car. The beach is easy. Just throw a bathing suit in a bag and go. Skiing requires more and bulkier paraphernalia than the beach. I’m not even talking about the skis, boots, and poles. There are ski pants, sweaters, long underwear, gloves, hats, neck gators, goggles, heavy socks, turtlenecks, and more. Multiply that by five people for five days and you have a ton of stuff! Oh! I forgot to mention the groceries for breakfasts, snacks, hot cocoa, and the all important wine and libations. It will all be worth it when we get there. But for now, I’m just hoping I’ll be able to fit in the car.
Tell me what is your favorite holiday and why? Share something special you do. Remember to challenge me! Anything you share with me, I have to incorporate into a short story I will write and post on the blog.
I just got to celebrate my own favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
In the United States, it was Thanksgiving Holiday this week. For me, that means family, food, and more food. Oh… and did I mention, food? Actually, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is the only one all year that I get to spend with my sisters, nieces, nephews, and parents. I live too far from my parents and three sisters to just visit for dinner. Any trip to see them is at least a weekend event. Our homes are spread out along the east coast of the U.S. from Maine to Virginia.
My sisters and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving. This year, we went to Amy’s on Cape Cod. One of the family traditions I cherish is the annual photo of all of my parents’ grandchildren on the steps. The kids sit two-by-two on the staircase and my Dad, the proud Grandpa stands at the bottom of the steps and snaps away.
Now it’s your turn. I told you mine…you tell me yours…
My thirteen year old son became a Bar Mitzvah a couple of months ago. After years of study, he was ready to read from the torah and lead the congregation in prayer.
Family and friends traveled from all over the country to share the joy with us—and we celebrated all weekend long. There are some who think throwing an elaborate party detracts from the religious significance of this life cycle milestone, and others (like me) who cannot think of a better reason to bring friends and family together to have a great time.
On Friday night before the ceremony at our synagogue, we had about fifty out of town guests over for a casual supper at our home. After the last guest finally left, my son asked, “Mom, will you listen to me while I run through the service once?”
Of course, I agreed. He started to chant the Torah Service with confidence. He continued for a few moments and then stopped. “Do I have to review this part, too?”
I shrugged. “Why not? You should do the whole thing just like you will tomorrow morning.”
He pointed to the page. “Yeah, but this part is like breathing.”
He ended up reviewing it with me anyway. However, I was amazed at his confidence.
Is there anything in your life that you find as easy as “breathing”? It can be something that you have practiced or studied so much that it has become easy or something that has come naturally to you for as long as you can remember. Share your skills, your abilities. I can’t wait to hear about your greatest strengths!