How Busy is Too Busy?

“Come on, Madeline. We’ve got to go. Grab your water bottle and your bag and let’s get in the car.”

I’ve been home for all of five minutes. Just long enough to switch from work mom clothes to t-ball mom clothes and sneakers. We are on our way back out the door and headed to practice. It’s Wednesday. That means we’ve made it halfway through the week and halfway through our crazy schedule of activities. As I buckle her in to her carseat… oh yes, did I mention she’s still only four (almost five), I realize how tired I am. I’m running through a checklist in my head: glove, bat, jacket, helmet, water bottle. We have everything. OK, a quick kiss on her forehead, and we are good to go.

This is what most nights look like for us. We are always rushing. Either to dance classes, tumbling, t-ball, soccer, or some school event. Weekends are for game days, dance competitions, and trying to find time to grocery shop – God bless Instacart.

I often wonder how busy is too busy? How detrimental to her wellbeing (and my sanity) is it that we don’t get home most nights until 8 p.m? Have I completely overscheduled my preschooler or am I just creating a well-rounded and outgoing individual? These would be the questions that keep me up at night until 3 a.m. wondering if I’m an awful mother.

Honestly, I think everything that we are doing is good. She loves to play t-ball and soccer, and she absolutely LOVES to dance. So much so that the two nights a week that we are there this year don’t feel like enough and I’m looking at adding another class next year that will make it three nights a week, because hey why not add to the madness.

But still I worry. She hasn’t even started kindergarten. You add in church activities and elementary school events, and what if she wants to play an instrument? Then there are music lessons and concerts and practice schedules. At what point do I stop and say no, we are just too busy?

As a mom who works full-time outside the home, I enjoy being able to spend time with my daughter taking her to her various activities and watching her learning new skills each week. I proudly cheer her on from the stands and peek in the doorway of her dance class as she taps and twirls. I also find that it makes it hard to find that balance of finding time to just let her play at the park or in the backyard since we are almost always rushing off to practice of one kind or another and then rushing back home for dinner and bedtime.

As with everything in life and motherhood, I’m learning that it is all about that balance though. I’m trying my best to make sure that while we are busy, we aren’t “too busy.” I’m discovering that it is important to keep checking in with her and with myself to make sure that we are both still doing OK with the busyness of our schedules. 

Photo by Victoria Denney

Five Signs Your Child May Be Too Busy

  1. They begin struggling in school. Are grades slipping? Is homework not getting done? School should be a top priority. If late night practices and early mornings are keeping them away from studying or making it difficult to get up in the mornings, it might be time to cut back on activities.
  2. You can’t remember the last time your kiddo had nothing to do. When was the last time your kid had a day to just play in the backyard, read a book, or just ride their bike? While learning new skills and practicing for game day is important. It is also important to have down time to just relax enjoy their all-too-short childhood.
  3. Your child is withdrawn, distant, or anxious. If your little one starts worrying about not being the best, stops hanging out with friends they used to love to be around, or withdraws from things they used to love, it’s important to make sure that what they are doing is still what is best for them.
  4. Family time is non-existent. Can’t remember the last time the family all sat down for a meal together. What about the last time everyone had a family movie night or game night? Quality time together as a family is important.
  5. You are stressed. If you are constantly worried about practice schedules, game times, snack duty, and making sure their uniforms are clean, you might need to reevaluate. Your mental health is important, too. We all want our kids to be happy, but we have to make sure we are checking in on ourselves, too.
Victoria is a wife and mom of two. Her firstborn, Joshua passed away shortly after birth in 2013. Her rainbow daughter, Madeline just started kindergarten. Victoria and her husband, Patrick, were both born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and love spending time exploring the city with their daughter. Victoria is a full-time working mom, dance mom, soccer mom, t-ball mom, PTA mom, slightly over-scheduled mom. Victoria has a passion for creating and spends way too much time pinning new crafts, recipes, and party ideas on Pinterest. She sometimes blogs over at Life with Madeline - www.lifewithmadeline.com