LB: I got a call from a Mom last week, and she said, “I would love to write something for you.”
“What are you thinking?” I asked.
“Well this may sound totally silly, but it’s INVITES! I’m over-saturated,” she said. “I’ve got three kids — a million things going on, and not to be mean, but I truly wish that all of the invites would just stop, so I can catch up, so I can have time with my own family…It may not be popular, but I’ve decided this summer to take a stand.”
Anonymous, Mom of three kids 13 and under
As I review my calendar and To-Do list for the week, it occurs to me that I, like every other mother I know, am completely booked. Getting the kids to and from school, doctors appointments, orthodontic appointments, baseball games, music lessons, school activities, camping trips, grocery stops, and birthday parties have filled my time for the week. I know, we’ve all read 100 articles and heard just as many psychology experts tell us that we’re doing it all to ourselves by over-scheduling our children. I know I do it to myself, but you know what I just figured out? We’re all doing it to each other, too.
I just received one of those super fun and organized Evites for little Janie’s birthday party that everyone in her class is invited to. My daughter will not want to miss the party that EVERY other kid is going to — even though another party just like it will be next weekend – so on the calendar it goes.
I sigh as I also think of finding time to get the perfect gift for Janie that none of the other 25 kids will think of. And I’ll be a contributor to the madness when I invite every child to my own daughter’s birthday party – in the dead of winter right during the holidays. You’re welcome.
Apart from the things we’re invited to, there’s a whole series of ‘unwritten expectations’ from family and friends as well. When did it become EXPECTED that I also schedule in the baseball games and dance recitals of my nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids?
I don’t even get to all my own kids’ events – in fact, I’m that mom who drops one kid off, picks up another, tries to make it for the last inning, and asks what I missed when I do the final pick-up. So how can I possibly make it to another variety show that I will surely feel guilty about if I should miss it? Don’t get me wrong; I would love to hear all about that show and see the pictures at our next scheduled barbecue, but Please Don’t Make Me Go To It. And even if I’m not directly asked to go, there are times when it’s clearly implied. I was recently enjoying a morning baseball game for my eldest when my brother, niece, and nephew surprised us and came to the game. Instead of being happy to see them, all I could muster was an inner sneer at the thought of trying to find time to get to their games as well.
Summer months have been our busiest, even though school is out and we tend to think of summer days as Lazy Days. That lazy notion is clearly from a different generation, but I vow to bring it back to our house in a big way this summer. Please don’t be offended if we can’t make it to birthday parties, soccer games, or theater productions. However, we’d love to be at anything that isn’t particularly scheduled and doesn’t require an RSVP.
I do realize I’m fortunate to have family, friends, and countless events to fill my calendar — Just please don’t invite me to anything.
LB: One friend to whom I just told this story says she has the OPPOSITE problem. Her family NEVER comes to anything … and she feels bad for her kids. What are your thoughts?< back