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Families cutting back and simplifying


Soror
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Despite our intentions otherwise I've found us way too busy the last couple of years. Since summer we've cut way back on activities (we started the cutting back at the request of my dd's). I've no doubt it is the right choice but we are surrounded by such busyness. It is ubiquitous with American life. The problem is that there is just so much pressure to do more and more and there are so many opportunities. 

 

I finally put Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library after so many rave reviews. I was thinking I don't need this I know how to do it then I realized some support would be good right now. 

 

Anybody else in the same boat, trying to keep life from getting too busy or trying to cut back? 

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It seems like a constant battle here as well. I have 5 kids, none can drive, so even one activity a week per kid makes things super busy.

 

We do try to limit to much more.low key things right now with one night a week commitment but it is hard. Next year will be worse as one will want to play 7th grade sports.

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Despite our intentions otherwise I've found us way too busy the last couple of years. Since summer we've cut way back on activities (we started the cutting back at the request of my dd's). I've no doubt it is the right choice but we are surrounded by such busyness. It is ubiquitous with American life. The problem is that there is just so much pressure to do more and more and there are so many opportunities.

 

I finally put Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library after so many rave reviews. I was thinking I don't need this I know how to do it then I realized some support would be good right now.

 

Anybody else in the same boat, trying to keep life from getting too busy or trying to cut back?

Yes. We have two teen boys. The younger goes to see his mom every other weekend. Older has dinner with his dad every other Wednesday.

 

I love the advice on here for the many issues I post about but I notice someone always suggests getting the boys involved in some sport. I am not against sports.....but I have no idea how that would fit into our life.

 

Dh and I are working toward a 5 year plan to be in town with a smaller place and less upkeep. We are 10 miles out from our small town. Another 25-40 to the city.

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We had to cut way back last year.  My oldest started CC (doesn't drive) and my middle went to a charter (LOTS of driving and traffic) so we just couldn't do it all.

 

This year I have gone back to work full time.  Younger two start school Monday, both are going to the local school where they can do all the after school activities they wish!  It is close enough to pick them up and so we have given our full blessing to be involved in whatever, as long as I don't have to drive far or take them!

 

Youngest left our scout troop that was 35 min. away and lasted until 10pm almost every week, to transfer to a local troop (4 miles away at most) where they get out at 8:30pm sharp.    They are also not a "family" troop.  Men and boys, a woman or two volunteers for bookkeeping, etc....but it isn't as family oriented, meaning, I don't go anymore!  AND we can drop off if needed without any problem.   (Older two boys got Eagle last year and are DONE.)

 

So, YES, simplifying!  

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4 kids here, but one is only 3. Luckily our major activity is all one night, all but the 3 yo participate (Scouts and AHG- same building). Ds dropped his sport he lost interest and I didn't see the point of continuing the time and money sink w/out his interest. One daughter is doing tumbling one night for an hr. but it is thankfully early. She does enjoy it but I wonder now if I should have kept everybody to just Scouts. We also do some stuff w/ other hs'ers, maybe a couple of times a month. 

 

Dawn, our Scout Troop isn't that close but the closest we have to where we live at about 15 min away. It gets out around 8, which is a bit late to me but I guess it could be worse. I just need to make sure we eat before otherwise it is 9 pm supper!

 

Scarlett, we'd like to move forward w/ some financial goals too and part of that is cutting back on everything. We need to sit down and brainstorm about all of that. 

 

So part of it is financial for sure but a bigger motivator is reducing stress, the levels are just way too high. Right now I'm trying to figure out if I should step in and lead dd1's AHG group. The one leader wants to step down. I've been a leader in some group or another every year I think. On one hand I like that age group, on the other it is something I weekly have to do and honestly I don't need more responsibilities. I guess I'm going to wait and pray someone steps up.

Edited by soror
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Simplifying life is good. After several season of football and soccer we asked The boys if they wanted sports or camping and motorcycle riding on weekends they gave up the sports we've been enjoying more family time and not so much running around during the week for practices and have every weekend taken up by games. Life became a lot less stressful when had our weekends back and not running to practices several days a week. It was the best decision we've made as a family.

Edited by lynn
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I've always been simplified because it makes me crazy not to be. This year is actually the opposite and I'm having some worries. We have dance (15 minutes away) Mondays evenings. American Heritage Girls Tuesday evenings (thankfully this is drop off...I plan to take a laptop and work at a restaurant around the corner those nights, and it's only about 10 minutes away), and Church (required classes) on Wednesday nights about 20 minutes away (thinking maybe I'll go to the gym during this..it's nearby).  Plus once a week getting together with another homeschool family. Plus driving my oldest back and forth to the community college Mondays and Wednesdays (25 minutes away). 

 

And..I have a meeting with the Priest at my church next week about starting up a Catholic homeschool group for our area. Yikes. Kind of wishing I hadn't set that ball in motion, honestly. 

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4 kids here, but one is only 3. Luckily our major activity is all one night, all but the 3 yo participate (Scouts and AHG- same building). Ds dropped his sport he lost interest and I didn't see the point of continuing the time and money sink w/out his interest. One daughter is doing tumbling one night for an hr. but it is thankfully early. She does enjoy it but I wonder now if I should have kept everybody to just Scouts. We also do some stuff w/ other hs'ers, maybe a couple of times a month. 

 

Dawn, our Scout Troop isn't that close but the closest we have to where we live at about 15 min away. It gets out around 8, which is a bit late to me but I guess it could be worse. I just need to make sure we eat before otherwise it is 9 pm supper!

 

Scarlett, we'd like to move forward w/ some financial goals too and part of that is cutting back on everything. We need to sit down and brainstorm about all of that. 

 

So part of it is financial for sure but a bigger motivator is reducing stress, the levels are just way too high. Right now I'm trying to figure out if I should step in and lead dd1's AHG group. The one leader wants to step down. I've been a leader in some group or another every year I think. On one hand I like that age group, on the other it is something I weekly have to do and honestly I don't need more responsibilities. I guess I'm going to wait and pray someone steps up.

 

 

Wow.  What time does it start?  Ours goes from 7:00-8:30.   Our previous troop (we were there for 10 years) started at 7:00 and got out around 9:30-10:30.  They were HS only and just loosy goosy with times!    It was fine when we were purely homeschooling and the boys loved having time with their friends, but it was LATE!  There would be no way to do that now.  I have to leave for work at 6am!

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I found that it helped if I could drive and stay vs driving back and forth. I had a tote bag, and I'd read, do curriculum research or planning, or art. It's a bit hard on the youngest sibling who gets hauled around to everything that the older is doing, but that can't be helped sometimes. 

 

It also helped to have a day in-between the busy ones so that I didn't have to drive everyday. My extrovert dc disliked the day off, but the introvert child really liked it. 

 

ETA Once the older ones start driving, it gets easier. 

 

 

We had no choice.  We lived at least 30 min. away from all of our activities.  I would stay.  I would have to.

 

I had to drive back and forth for son's charter school last year.  Oy!  If I had known how bad things would get, I wouldn't have even let him go there.  We had carpool issues, and then he wanted to do after school stuff, and I often was in the car 4-5 HOURS per day with his school AND all the other kids' stuff.

 

We let him finish the year for several reasons.  If I had known then what I know now, he would have never gone to that school, but hindsight and all that.......

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Wow.  What time does it start?  Ours goes from 7:00-8:30.   Our previous troop (we were there for 10 years) started at 7:00 and got out around 9:30-10:30.  They were HS only and just loosy goosy with times!    It was fine when we were purely homeschooling and the boys loved having time with their friends, but it was LATE!  There would be no way to do that now.  I have to leave for work at 6am!

Ours starts at 6:30, so about the same time as your current Troop we just start earlier.

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We have started this over the last year. I used to have a rule of only 1 EC per child. But then, with home schooling, it got too easy to do multiple things, all in the name of education. 

 

Our whole house has been revamped. Still a little ways to go, but there is a big difference. We have way less clutter. 

 

With much of the clutter out of the way, I have been and want to work even more on our overall lives. Son 12 had a bunch of activities, and they were far away. Now, he is just doing the ballet, and we found a place close. Son 14 is doing karate and then the history class only. The only activity we had all summer was swim lessons and dance intensives. I am now requiring that everything be close by.

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I don't know how to do "simple" in term of activities.  I don't know how to tell them to pick between swimming or chess or music or co-op or gymnastics.  I feel like each activity gives them something unique.

 

My youngest only does swimming.

DS 2 does chess and swimming and wants to do violin and gymnastics

DS 3 does all of the above and wants to do art.

 

I am wiped out!  And that's even before I start fainting from the expense of it all :(

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I've really tried to simplify activities this year, with the extra motivation of having a baby in October.  So, I will have pretty limited abilities to take kids places.

 

I've really been trying to put significant effort into things that are really close, not least because my kids will eventually be able to get to them without being driven around.  Last year I started my ten year old walking to her violin lesson which is 2x a week, and it was just such a burden lifted, even though it is a very short drive.  She wants to do chess club at the library this year, it is too far to walk, but I am going to have her take the bus I think - it is an easy door to door ride that we've done as a family, and it means she will be able to hang out and do other activities there if she wants.  It also is a first step to being able to use the bus and ferry for other things.

 

I've got my sons dance lessons in walking distance - he is too small now to go alone but in the future if he continues, he will, and I next year if my dd8 takes up guitar lessons again, I know where we can get ones she can walk to.

 

But even so, it is really a constant struggle not to take on too much. 

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Yes, I know that I need to cut back.  Deciding what to cut is hard though.

 

I want both of my kids to do something physical every day.  I also insist on all 3 of us continuing with TKD at least until we have our black belts.  I insist on swimming, but if necessary we can do it informally when it fits in vs. joining a class.  (Though I prefer the swim team class from a fitness perspective.)

 

My eldest's "thing" is gymnastics, which is located a half hour (one way) drive from home.  There is nothing closer.  She goes there 2x per week generally.  There will be shows and stuff later in the year.  Unfortunately my youngest is not a big fan of gymnastics so she needs to do something else.

 

My youngest's "thing" is horse riding.  $55/lesson.  Need I say more?  The barn is nearby and I love this activity for them, but let's get real.

 

They also want to do school sports this year, which I wholeheartedly support.  They also do band, and I'd love them to join chess club.  Outside of school, they are in a monthly book club and will start attending a weekly math class.  Oh, and how could I forget scouts?  And our new volunteering gig ....

 

So ... what to cut?  I don't see cutting any of the above at this point.

 

It will be interesting to see how much homework they get in 5th grade and how that impacts the rest of it.  And we need some time for household responsibilities.  And eating - that becomes an afterthought at times, which doesn't quite seem right.

 

My eldest has started complaining that she wants more free time (aka screen time).  I think that is fair.  She works hard and deserves a break.  How to make it work ....

 

ETA on the positive side, my kids' teachers have promised no weekend homework and at least a week's notice before a test.  So that should help with planning.

Edited by SKL
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I don't know how to do "simple" in term of activities.  I don't know how to tell them to pick between swimming or chess or music or co-op or gymnastics.  I feel like each activity gives them something unique.

 

My youngest only does swimming.

DS 2 does chess and swimming and wants to do violin and gymnastics

DS 3 does all of the above and wants to do art.

 

I am wiped out!  And that's even before I start fainting from the expense of it all :(

 

There was an interesting conversation we had at my cousin's cottage this summer - it was my cousin and his mum, and my sister and I and our mum.

 

We got talking about kids activities, because I was complaining that after this year my son's ballet school required at least two lessons a week, and that might not be possible, and also that my dd who wanted to do fun lessons could not go there. 

 

We ended up talking about the different things my sisters and I had done as kids, and my mom said she tried to follow our interests.  She asked my aunt what her son, my cousin, had had as "his thing" as a kid, and the conclusion they came to was, he really didn't have a thing at all.  Mostly he just played around with other kids, in high school he was on the school basketball team.  THat's it.

 

What's interesting to me is that now that we are adults, there is no discernable difference that our childhood activities had on the kids in my family and my cousin.  Not tha we didn't enjoy them, or learn anything, but we didn't enjoy ourselves more than he did without paid activities, and the extent to which we do more hobbies as adults isn't markedly different, or anything else really.

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That's the best thing about living half an hour from everything -- we only do the absolute most important things. One EC per kid, and at this point, they all do the same one, so three of them go to the same class one morning a week, and I take the big two a second time in the evening. If they decide to differentiate at some point, we will deal with that then, but too much running around wears everyone out.

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us

There was an interesting conversation we had at my cousin's cottage this summer - it was my cousin and his mum, and my sister and I and our mum.

 

We got talking about kids activities, because I was complaining that after this year my son's ballet school required at least two lessons a week, and that might not be possible, and also that my dd who wanted to do fun lessons could not go there. 

 

We ended up talking about the different things my sisters and I had done as kids, and my mom said she tried to follow our interests.  She asked my aunt what her son, my cousin, had had as "his thing" as a kid, and the conclusion they came to was, he really didn't have a thing at all.  Mostly he just played around with other kids, in high school he was on the school basketball team.  THat's it.

 

What's interesting to me is that now that we are adults, there is no discernable difference that our childhood activities had on the kids in my family and my cousin.  Not tha we didn't enjoy them, or learn anything, but we didn't enjoy ourselves more than he did without paid activities, and the extent to which we do more hobbies as adults isn't markedly different, or anything else really.

 

There is definitely something to it.  But  I also think it depends on the activity and the home life.

 

I was very excited for my kids to take chess last year bc  I don't play and I think it's a great game to learn.  This year, I don't think my oldest really needs it.  His teacher is getting him ready for tournaments this year, though.  I think it would be much better for him to just play with kids in some sort of club on a more social basis.   So, I signed him up for 7wk session, but will most likely take him out after that.

 

I will take my kids to swimming until they can swim like a fish.  I think it's an excellent skill to have and they will always have it.  If we had a pool, I would most likely be much more relaxed about it.

 

Music.  I did music for 7 yrs and still remember some things so I would like them to do it. 

 

My oldest didn't want to do ANYTHING when he was younger, so when he wanted to do things last year I got so excited, I went way overboard.  I am trying to be much more selective this year, but with 3 of them I still feel like it's too much.

 

Or may be it's just I am so tired all the time that it seems too much?  I don't know.....but this is not the part of our lives that I consider simple :(

 

 

Edited by SereneHome
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I really struggle with this. Really struggle. Dd13 does CAP. (2 hours/week + outside work) The four older kids and Dh do TKD and Jiu Jitsu a total of 8-10 hours per week, although Dd6 is in different classes from the others during that time that require some extra driving. The older three do piano lessons. Dd13 has a guitar lesson. I teach a Spanish class out of the home. Ds10 has band at the school 3x/week. He will also be starting tumbling in September if I can find the phone number. Dd6 wants to do AWANAS again. I like to take the baby to story time at the library or the children's museum sometimes. The girls will do homeschool choir from September to November.

So, our fall lineup of activities will have some combination of us out of the house for 24 hours/week at a minimum.

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us

 

There is definitely something to it.  But  I also think it depends on the activity and the home life.

 

I was very excited for my kids to take chess last year bc  I don't play and I think it's a great game to learn.  This year, I don't think my oldest really needs it.  His teacher is getting him ready for tournaments this year, though.  I think it would be much better for him to just play with kids in some sort of club on a more social basis.   So, I signed him up for 7wk session, but will most likely take him out after that.

 

I will take my kids to swimming until they can swim like a fish.  I think it's an excellent skill to have and they will always have it.  If we had a pool, I would most likely be much more relaxed about it.

 

Music.  I did music for 7 yrs and still remember some things so I would like them to do it. 

 

My oldest didn't want to do ANYTHING when he was younger, so when he wanted to do things last year I got so excited, I went way overboard.  I am trying to be much more selective this year, but with 3 of them I still feel like it's too much.

 

Or may be it's just I am so tired all the time that it seems too much?  I don't know.....but this is not the part of our lives that I consider simple :(

 

One thing I've found helpful to remember is that they don't have to do everything at once.  So, we don't try to do swimming lessons in the school year, we do them in the summer when they also have time to do lots of swimming.  Bonus free swimming lessons at public beaches that time of year.

 

Kind of like what you are doing with chess club - we have done skating and some team things the same way - enough to become competent to do it for fun, and then we leave it behind.  But it can be an effort not to get sucked in, and to remember if I see something that looks fun it likely can wait until another year, or just do a summer thing or workshop. 

 

Also, with stuff like swimming, scheduling kids all at once as much as possible so there is only one trip for all.

 

I think the real trick is to limit things that will be a longer term commitment.

 

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We have upped the activity level mostly because we can afford to. DD's activities are ones we planned so that she can get herself to them and home again. DS gets one outside activity since I have to drive him. But, both kids want to be on the go all the time, so that's where the push for more activity is--DH and I are homebodies and would as soon stay home often as not (him even more than me).

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We made some changes for this year which do simplfy some. We dropped organized sports and are working on getting out to walk, especially in local parks and nature areas. Something free, schedule is flexible, good exercise for the dog too and we are all together. We do have 3 nights out a week for scouts and church (Every other week it is only 2 b/c AHG is not every week.) Piano is on the same afternoon that we have church and in the same neighborhood. We have afternoons free this year and that is great. Makes our school days feel more relaxed.

My kids love to see people and be out and doing, Esp. Ds, who is big time extroverted. I don't want to eliminate their time with friends.

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We aren't cutting back but we are trying to make conscious choices that keep things simpler. I feel like we are very busy but I also realize that in comparison to most of the families we know we are much less busy than most people in our area. It also depends on the kid. I have one kid who prefers to do nothing organized. He values free time above everything. Another kid who would sign up for every activity she could and likes to be super busy. It's a balance trying to figure out what works for the family as a whole. 

 

My oldest son is a swimmer. For his age and ability the coaches would like him to swim a LOT more than he does. I started to get sucked in to that a bit last year. I felt like maybe we were holding him back by not doing enough or maybe we were ruining his chances for swimming at a higher level. But he very wisely said "I feel like I swim enough." That was eye-opening for me. He loves swimming and he's talented. But he feels like it's enough. So it's enough. In the past six months he has said a few things that suggest that he might want to swim more when he gets to high school and we'll have to reevaluate but for now it's good. Keeping him at less practices has meant that he can practice at a time that allows us to have most nights a week at home together as a family. I feel like that has been wonderful for us. 

 

My daughter dances. She's only seven but for awhile wanted to take three classes a week this coming year (all different kinds of dance). I said we would think about it but had some misgivings. But since she is a kid that is a huge extrovert and wants more activities I was leaning towards yes. The dance place is 5 minutes from our house so it doesn't cause as much stress on the family for her to take more classes. But then on her own she decided that was too much and decided to take two classes instead, which I think was the right decision. 

 

The past couple of years we have ended up not having any other spring or fall sports other than dance and swim. We don't do as many meets as some swimmers during the winter season so that has meant that is is fairly common for us to have weekends in the spring and fall that are completely free. We didn't necessarily plan that but it has been great. Our summers are busy with swimming and in the winter all three kids have played basketball just for fun. It has worked well to have a cycle of a super busy season and then a relatively laidback season. Especially since our less busy seasons are the times when it is the best weather for family hikes and bike rides and just enjoying being outside. 

 

I feel like it's a constant readjustment though and things may change as they get older. Sometimes being busy is good, sometimes it's not. I think though that it's always good to aim to make conscious decisions about activities and commitments. We have found it easy sometimes to sign up for something somewhat mindlessly and then later realize that it would have been better to not do that thing. 

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We are way too busy this year. I think it's because I have a high schooler all the way down to k5. They are in different phases in life, exploring different things. My mind is spinning thinking about all we have to do.

I'm going to reevaluate in January, and cut back on activities if they are taking over our life.

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A little less than a year ago I started saying NO to everything.  No matter how big or how small, the answer was NO.  You want me to volunteer for something at church?  NO.  You want me to go to a party?  NO.  You want me to take pictures of your family (I've been a semi-professional photographer, until I started saying no)? NO.

 

I cut out the fun stuff.  I cut out the volunteer stuff.  I cut out the work (photography) stuff. 

 

We school.  We cook.  The boys do karate twice a week for an hour each time 5 minutes from home.  We watch tv together.  We go to church on Sunday.

 

And we're really, really happy this way.  Then again, we're all introverted.  If one of us was an extrovert, that one would be miserable. We spend most of our time at home doing quiet activities that have nothing to do with anyone else.  People learned after about 4 months of me saying NO that I wasn't going to agree to anything.  I almost never get asked to do anything anymore and that makes me HAPPY.

 

In seven years when I'm done homeschooling, I'll take 2 more years off and then I miiiiiight start volunteering.  Maybe.  Maybe.

Edited by Garga
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I have been trying to keep things simple while still having the kids in a few activities that they are excited about.

Only my oldest (almost 14) has an activity that is just for him right now. Otherwise, any activities we do have two or more children involved in the same time & place.

We have decided to focus on a few areas as a family. Scouts & AHG, Music (Band & Piano), and swimming for a competitive sport. Oldest DS does an extra science activity and DS#2 will add a history related extracurricular in the near future. But they are getting into the high school years so I feel it is appropriate for them to have one area that is "their own."

With Church responsibilities and regular homeschooling and making time for family fun like camping trips and field trips we don't have time for much more.

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Despite our intentions otherwise I've found us way too busy the last couple of years. Since summer we've cut way back on activities (we started the cutting back at the request of my dd's). I've no doubt it is the right choice but we are surrounded by such busyness. It is ubiquitous with American life. The problem is that there is just so much pressure to do more and more and there are so many opportunities. 

 

I finally put Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library after so many rave reviews. I was thinking I don't need this I know how to do it then I realized some support would be good right now. 

 

Anybody else in the same boat, trying to keep life from getting too busy or trying to cut back? 

 

Soror, 

Simplicity Parenting was life changing for me. While you probably know how to simplify, the book made me re-think my fundamental beliefs about childhood. It has also helped with my kiddos who both deal with anxiety. In any case, you've had great input in this thread, but the book might be worth a read. 

 

We've dialed back on outside commitments, but we've also tried to simplify our living situation (buying a smaller house), closed a family business that made DH and I crazy, and stopped entertaining at our house (just too stressful; kiddos tearing stuff apart). We also have made news much less accessible to both kids -- they were **SO** stressed/distressed about the election. While DH and I thought that it might be time to learn about the political process, this was just not the election to do it. In any case, we've found quite a bit of peace in working on our house, doing activities that the boys enjoy (swimming, fishing, and archery) as a family, and just being as peaceful as possible. 

 

I hope that the book is useful to you! 

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We've made a conscious choice to do less and keep life simple. I sometimes get caught up in wishing our kids had music lessons and sports and xyz but in reality, we need the down time. My extrovert child would love to do more, but I'm at my capacity for what I can manage between home, school, & four children.

This is me too. We keep our evenings free and our weekends free as much as possible too. With dh's work schedule, family/down time is sacred.

 

We have one day a week for music lessons (each child does the same) and excursions/friends. We have homeschool group once a fortnight.

I just can't come at paying for a sport, we much prefer unstructured time for them to run around our large property.

Eta- I didn't mean to sound so judgey! My kids are just not the sporty type so organised sport just never became a priority.

Edited by LMD
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Hmph.i find it super easy actually. We are rural and I have to drive an hour for any sport / most activities. So if I don't drive, we are home all day. For exercise,we go for a run/walk.

This is not great IMO because these middle school kids have to do something, and most playgrounds, etc aren't exactly designed for them. Maybe if he had a sibling closer in age or neighbor kids, but we have neither (we're moving)

Edited by madteaparty
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I'm exhausted and stressed but trying to read everybody and hoping that I'm coherent(and I apologize if not). That said I get that there are plenty of people that want to do more. I've even BTDT but it aint' working now and I'm looking for support for those doing less by choice for various reasons. My main reason right now is my stress level is near the top right now without adding anything else and I want to focus on family time. I get that it works for others. I'm not about guilt tripping anyone or I'm not trying to but working this out in my head. B/c although stress is the biggest reason it isn't the only, I do remember my childhood fondly and different strokes for different folks and all that but I dislike this move towards being so busy as some sign of the ultimate childhood. It can be good for some but it isn't required and is certainly not good for all.

A little less than a year ago I started saying NO to everything.  No matter how big or how small, the answer was NO.  You want me to volunteer for something at church?  NO.  You want me to go to a party?  NO.  You want me to take pictures of your family (I've been a semi-professional photographer, until I started saying no)? NO.

 

I cut out the fun stuff.  I cut out the volunteer stuff.  I cut out the work (photography) stuff. 

 

We school.  We cook.  The boys do karate twice a week for an hour each time 5 minutes from home.  We watch tv together.  We go to church on Sunday.

 

And we're really, really happy this way.  Then again, we're all introverted.  If one of us was an extrovert, that one would be miserable. We spend most of our time at home doing quiet activities that have nothing to do with anyone else.  People learned after about 4 months of me saying NO that I wasn't going to agree to anything.  I almost never get asked to do anything anymore and that makes me HAPPY.

 

In seven years when I'm done homeschooling, I'll take 2 more years off and then I miiiiiight start volunteering.  Maybe.  Maybe.

I think it might be a the time for a season of no's here too. Well, not entirely. Some things we enjoy and are worth it, the list is just smaller right now.

Edited by soror
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Soror, 

Simplicity Parenting was life changing for me. While you probably know how to simplify, the book made me re-think my fundamental beliefs about childhood. It has also helped with my kiddos who both deal with anxiety. In any case, you've had great input in this thread, but the book might be worth a read. 

 

We've dialed back on outside commitments, but we've also tried to simplify our living situation (buying a smaller house), closed a family business that made DH and I crazy, and stopped entertaining at our house (just too stressful; kiddos tearing stuff apart). We also have made news much less accessible to both kids -- they were **SO** stressed/distressed about the election. While DH and I thought that it might be time to learn about the political process, this was just not the election to do it. In any case, we've found quite a bit of peace in working on our house, doing activities that the boys enjoy (swimming, fishing, and archery) as a family, and just being as peaceful as possible. 

 

I hope that the book is useful to you! 

You have me excited about reading it. It seems there is more to it than I originally thought and I could sure use some guidance about now as there is just too much other stuff going on with life.

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Despite our intentions otherwise I've found us way too busy the last couple of years. Since summer we've cut way back on activities (we started the cutting back at the request of my dd's). I've no doubt it is the right choice but we are surrounded by such busyness. It is ubiquitous with American life. The problem is that there is just so much pressure to do more and more and there are so many opportunities.

 

I finally put Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library after so many rave reviews. I was thinking I don't need this I know how to do it then I realized some support would be good right now.

 

Anybody else in the same boat, trying to keep life from getting too busy or trying to cut back?

I read your first few sentences and I thought, Sorror NEEDS to read Simplicity Parenting! Really. It's that good. But bad news, you need your own copy. Really. You do.

 

It's such a struggle. So much busyness!! Everywhere! I completely understand.

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I am beginning to see the wisdom of this as my kids get older.  When I was little it was basically one activity or lesson or whatever per week.

 

Now DD11 is in a sport, a musical activity, wants to add another musical activity and another sport and etc.

 

It's almost (but not really) workable with one kid.  With 2 kids it will be harder.  once we have 3 kids at activity/sport age I don't see how we'd do 2-3 things per kid.

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I'd love to simplify but I'm not sure how that would work.  We only do sports now and we generally do the same sports at the same time.  But, when you've got five kids playing baseball on five different teams (because of age), it's just going to be a busy time.  Four kids play soccer on three different teams and you're automatically looking at six different practice times a week unless you get lucky and they over-lap.  Two kids playing basketball at the only school in the area that will let homeschoolers participate without taking classes or jumping through too many hoops and it takes 35 minutes one way to drive there.  Four practices a week and yes, it's going to be a season of busyness.  

 

In our family, even limiting each child to one activity really doesn't solve the problem.  We're outnumbered :)

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That kind of simplifying seemed impossible when we lived in a upper middle class suburb of a major city. There was just too much to choose from and too much "keeping up" or whatever you want to call it. Although, I do have a good friend who still lives in that area, and her kids don't do any organized activities outside of church. This is not because of a religious issue, but financial. They can't afford all the organized activities that are common, and church activities are low to no coast. She will take them to other free programs when something comes up, but they seem fine with they way things are for them.

 

To be honest, what worked for us was moving to an area with a completely different style of living to a very small town in a rural area. It wasn't the reason we moved, but an added benefit. When we started looking for a house, I insisted that we had to live in town where the kids could walk places. The opportunities for sports and extra curricular so are somewhat limited, and they are even more limited when you don't attend the local school. I do feel a bit of regret the my DS can't participate and the things he would like because it just isn't offered here, but I don't really feel guilty. What we gained by moving here is more important to me that what we gave up by moving.

 

Edited to fix some bad spelling/auto correct

Edited by City Mouse
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That kid is simplifying seemed impossible when we lived in a upper middle class suburb of a major city. There was just too much to choose from and too much "keeping up" or whatever you want to call it. Although, I do have a good friend who still lives in that area, and her kids don't do any organized activities outside of church. This is not because of a religious issue, but financial. They can't afford all the organized activities that are common, and church activities are low to no coast. She will take them to other free programs when something comes up, but they seem fine with they way things are for them.

 

To be honest, what worked for us was moving to an area with a completely different style of living to a very small town in a remark area. It wasn't the reason we moved, but an added benefit. When we started looking for a house, I insisted that we had to live in town where the kids could walk places. The opportunities for sports and extra curricular so are somewhat limited, and they are even more limited when you don't attend the local school. I do feel a bit of regret the my DS can't participate and the things he would like because it just isn't offered here, but I don't really feel guilty. What we gained by moving here is more important to me that what we gave up by moving.

Yes, that is the thing there are costs for every choice. Being busy or simplifying both have disadvantages and advantages.

 

I already live in a rural area,although not as rural as some. It is amazing how many opportunities there are even here. It does feel like there is so much pressure to keep up, even when trying to avoid it. There are guilt trips about not doing xyz with your kids that there never was before. 

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Just read this article on Simplicity Parenting and it is resonating...

 

Simplicity, for me, means taking the pressure off.  Claiming space for what I need.  What our family needs.  Listening and trusting that inner voice.  Allowing myself to be.  To be present.

 

Life and parenting can be hard at times, especially when we’re too stressed.  It can be hard to know what you need.  Hard to remember to trust your gut.  To hear what you already know to be true.

One of my saving graces has been to simplify (and know that reducing the pressure was not a sign of weakness but of strength).

We simplified out of necessity and with time we deepened our connection, sense of calm and courage.

Our pressure is probably something different than yours.  But pressure is pressure.

You know when you feel it and it’s not healthy.  Or rather maybe you aren’t aware of its impact.  Pay attention.  Listen and you will see.

And our kids feel this pressure too.  They feel it whether we know it or not.  A different source of pressure.  But pressure is pressure.

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