Something began to happen just before April. Our home life, already busy, went into overdrive. I’d been begging for spring and summer, but, frankly, I started hoping to see January roll back in. I missed the month that keeps it chill, indoors and inactive.
Here’s how it started. One boy decided to play baseball. I have no idea what we were thinking because we let him. Next thing I know, even before the season begins, we are driving him to practices, or a bit of D-Bat for some one-on-one instruction. Soon, there was gear. I freaked out when I considered keeping the parts of an entire uniform together: two shirts, pants, belt, socks, cleats, cap, helmet, glove, belt. One evening, I saw parts of the uniform on the floor, my husband absent-mindedly reading to the boys before bedtime. I broke out in a sweat.
I stood in front of my puzzled husband, staring daggers: “What in the world are you doing? Do you see how easily these pieces could get lost?”
I can say that I fell head over heels in love with the app GameChanger: team notices, live feed and ability to share the schedule with friends and family with the push of a button. Tech is a great help, but it didn’t wash the uniform.
Another boy participated in the spring ice skating show, which happened to fall on the same night as a lot of our other kid’s baseball games. We had to divide and conquer between the rink and the field. We still had gear of which to keep track: ice skates, guards, jacket and costumes.
Sometime during the first of April, around April Fool’s, the boy who had been playing tennis said he wanted to go back to swimming.
“Are you sure? Let’s talk to Coach.”
Sadly, Coach looked very happy. We got a new swimsuit, goggles, flippers and a mesh bag. Thankfully, we already have towels. I gently said to my son, “You will never quit swim, right?”
Music lessons continued, and the end-of-year concert series kicked in. There were community events galore, a birthday, Mother’s Day and preparations for my niece’s wedding. We were preparing our home for the rehearsal dinner. I would be officiating the actual service. In the midst of the present realities, we also planned for summer: camps, vacation, my husband’s family’s visit and some possible interior painting in our house.
If what I’ve described sounds like overdrive, it is. I haven’t specifically mentioned that both of us work full time, so there’s that. Since I’m a pastor, weekends are not truly time off. That means our family has even more planning to do if we are to rest and relax together, as well as support one another in our interests.
I wrote a book last year. In it, I included a chapter titled, “Selfie.” In that chapter, I talk about how important self care is for parents. Many of us have been told that “grit” is the primary way we soldier through. I think grit is a great quality, but when family life plunges into overdrive, we shouldn’t settle for merely hanging on. We must schedule time alone, time to rest, time for togetherness, time for extra help and time for nothing.
Sometimes, we need intentionally to park it.
This blog post was originally published in Betsy's column, "Parent-ish" in Little Rock Family Magazine.