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01/31/2010

So Young, So Busy

J0439308 My husband came home the other night, having spent an hour and a half at a Scout meeting with our six year old son.  It was well past his bedtime (our son's, not my husband's) and he was overtired, cranky, and in need of some serious pillow time.

After getting him settled in for the night, my husband said to me, "I don't know if he's really enjoying this."

"Well, if he's not," I answered, "We can take it off the calendar."

Don't get me wrong; this post isn't about Boy Scouts as a program.  I happen to have two brothers who are Eagle Scouts and my dad volunteered with as a Scout Master for years and years.

But, as I pointed out to my husband, my brothers didn't start Boy Scouts until they were about nine, not six like our oldest son.

"Kids are just plain busier now than we ever were," I said.

Why? I wonder.

When did it become de rigueur in our society to spend the early years of our children's lives racing from Gymboree classes for infants to Mommy & Me classes in the pool, to preschool at two, and then to Candy Soccer leagues at three?  When did it become the new normal to have select leagues for soccer, dance, and cheer in first and second grade? To have every night of the week filled with not one but two or even three activities for our school-aged children?

I'm as guilty as anyone, despite our efforts to keep things simple.  Our oldest two are school-aged, third and first grade, and our rule is one thing at a time.  We bend this a bit for our oldest who participates in Girl Scouts year round and sports in-season.  Thankfully, she has never pressed to do more than this, making our rule an easy one to follow. 

While I think enrichment opportunities do have the great potential of adding to our children's lives, I try hard to keep things balanced for our family.  I still struggle with this; it's hard to do when I am bombarded with signups and tryouts and flyers and emails, all filled with great opportunities for your child!

I find myself wondering why parents of my generation have embraced the Culture of Busyness.  Why is it so attractive to us?  Are we all harboring hopes of uber-children?  Are we fearful of our little Johnny or Susie not keeping up with the little Joneses?  Have we been so bombarded with media that's available 24/7, 365 days a year that we've simply forgotten the simple pleasure of spending time alone or with our family?

I wonder, but not for too long. 

The morning is coming, and with it comes a brand new busy day.

When she's not trying her best to keep her family on an even keel, Marianne shares money saving tips and her love of Krogering at The New Frugal Mom and her thoughts about life and writing and Writer-Mommy.

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