Overschedulization of the Parents.

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Every newscaster, child-rearing expert and talk show host, it seems, has at one point or another lamented the overschedulization of America ’s children (and yes, I think I made that word up). You’ve heard the rant: little Billy goes to school all day, and then afterwards he takes karate, or he has baseball practice, or a math tutor, or flag football. And then on the weekends he’s got soccer, and guitar lessons, and the round of golf that he plays every weekend in the hopes of getting a golf scholarship to college someday, not to mention homework and a project for the science fair, leaving absolutely no time left over for family, friends, or God forbid, fun. This state of affairs has gotten so bad, it’s been denounced as a horrible, anxiety-creating, childhood-robbing problem, comparable to the factories of industrial-era England. With all of the outrage that’s gone on, it’s shocking that no one in Congress has thought to sponsor the After School Activity Childhood Protection Act.

 

 

But what about the parents who are overscheduled? Who, exactly, is taking note of the overschedulization of us?? And no, the companies that make those giant whiteboards that you can hang in your kitchen to keep track of it all do not count. They want you to be overscheduled. It’s how they make their money.

 

 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am scheduled to within an inch of my life. And it isn’t because my kids are so overscheduled, because I’ve listened to those newscasters and child-rearing experts, and I’ve made a point to limit their activities to two during the week. But still, if I want to do anything for me on a consistent basis – exercise, write, have sex with my husband – I have to schedule it or else it just doesn’t happen (sorry, honey). But the result is that I have no time that isn’t planned out down to the minute, and no room for spontaneity.

 

 

Last week, for example, a friend of mine who I haven’t seen for a while asked if we could have lunch, and the conversation went something like this.

 

 

Her: “Hey, when can we have lunch? I haven’t seen you in so long.”

 

 

Me: “Well, let’s see…I can’t do Mondays because I pick Davis up from school at noon and then he has a swim lesson at 1:30. Tuesdays and Thursdays I work, and I don’t have lunch out on those days because I barely get enough time to work as it is. Wednesdays I have to be in Burbank during lunch for the table read of the show, and Fridays I pick Davis up at noon and we go to a gym class after school.”

 

 

Her (slightly dumbfounded): “Okay. What about coffee? We could do a morning, or maybe in the afternoon, around three”

 

 

Me (starting to become embarrassed): “Can’t do three. I have to pick Harper up from the bus stop at 3:30. And mornings are tough because I drop Davis off at nine and then I either go straight to work or I go straight to the gym; the only time I get to work out is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from ten to eleven.”

 

 

caragarden
08.02.08

lunch? i had to wait until my son was in NY for a week with grandparents to do this. I guess every summer for one week i'll be able to go to lunch!

onlyten
12.19.07

So here I am working away (juggling life as usual) and a friend of mine highly suggests I visit this site to read the Tales from the Mommy Track that she loves reading. SO I vist and read and laugh and enjoy. Thank you!

MaryL
12.04.07

I could not agree more on how you feel Risa, but some how we should all try to manage to schedule coffee with friends it beats therapy later!

Ksenia
11.25.07

Ahh, it is so fantastic reading this - don't get me wrong - I just have to endure the same being a CEO of my start-up company and trying to juggle my son't preschool and my daughter's middle school - two completely different schedules, ages, and pretty much everything else. Thank you for posting!

kmp1216
10.31.07

Great article Risa. I have a 7 month old and a 2 year old and I still feel that we are overscheduled and we don't do anything. Nina if you are the Nina of MomAgenda I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I bought my first one earlier this year and I love being able to keep track of my husband's schedule, notes for daycare and my own work notes all in one place. And I have the mini so it fits in my bag! The Kitchen Folio is next! Ladies check out the momAgenda in the mommy trackd store!

crazymommyof3
10.30.07

So, Nina, how we we check out your organization tools??????????????

ninakmatza
10.30.07

Dear Risa,

I love reading your column and always relate so well to what you say.
I must admit that I am not as disciplined as you are in my scheduling techniques and-as a result-I don't even necessarily accomplish all that you do.

I felt compelled to comment on this particular article because I am the maker of a unique "organizer" specifically designed to help us jugglers keep all those balls in the air. And if there is one thing that I have learned in the process of creating and growing my business (in reality, I can't begin to count the things I have learned) it is that you are right that people who sell "organizing tools" and services for a living thrive on the over-scheduled, under-managed, frazzled lives we lead.

Our goal should be to help the overschedulized throngs juggle a little easier, manage a little calmer, maybe even free up a few milliseconds a day to grab a coffee with a friend. Speaking of which..

I just do it-those coffees with my girlfriends. They fuel my creativity, calm my anxieties and diffuse some of the loneliness that comes with sitting in front of the computer all day. I strongly suggest you pencil it in sometime.

Thanks,

NIna Korelitz Matza

SarahKimmel
10.29.07

See, but then you'll have sports events to attend and prom's to chaperone, and college applications to help fill out...