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Need some support re: 4 kids JAWM


UmMusa
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What does it say when I turn to the Hive for support regarding a life issue (as opposed to someone in my family or friends).  :)

I do love this group, and at the same time I am disappointed in myself that I don't have the people in my circle to give me this support I need.

 

Basically, I've found myself in the middle of a very demanding lacrosse season with four kids having practices and games each day, overlapping, and in all corners of the state.  I have 2 teens, a 12yr old, and an 8yr old.  I mentally prepared myself for the rigors of the season, put on my good attitude about the chaos, and so far am doing ok juggling it all.  I knew we wouldn't be having family dinners or even eating as much home cooked goodies as usual... that's ok for a couple of months.  

 

It just hit me yesterday that I don't know other families with 4 kids in a similar situation.  Some who do have 4 kids are a few years behind me and still have young kids.  They still haven't reached the emotional drama that teens bring (struggling with one of my teens right now).  They aren't juggling family issues that are specific to the ages that I'm going through. And most people don't homeschool either... so... I'm needing a little HIVE support here.  I know we signed up all 4 kids for the same sports season.  I know it will be a little over the top in time commitment.  I don't need that dad-of-two-kids to say "I don't support that" when I was sharing how our weekly schedule is.  Yes, it IS too busy, but you don't understand.  (and by the way, you have your kids signed up in 2 or 3 activities after school, too, so your wife is also driving your kids all over town)

My lacrosse family has been supportive, and we share rides when possible.  Mentally keeping everything straight takes energy, as does keeping up with regular family work, so even with carpooling it's still a lot to keep track of. 

 

Anyhow...needing to hear that moms of 4 or more kids feel pushed to the limits too. Any tips of super busy sports schedules are welcome.  

(yes, I use crock pot or instant pot when i can) (and I've tried a few recipes from here recently too) (picky eaters)

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Par for the course, eh. I had two, not four, but the biggest challenge was the public school refusing to transport the athletes home from practice and to/from invitationals. So, we had to be a part of the booster clubs too, or the kids would have so few league meets it would be silly to participate.

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I imagine that it doesn't matter too much if the team members homeschool or not, they still have to get their kids to practices and games. Find families you can carpool with. Or buy 2 vehicles and have multiple drivers to get your kids where they need to go. Or don't sign all your kids up for such a demanding schedule. I can understand being put-off by a non-supportive comment, but there is some truth to intentionally constructing you life to be busy, then expecting complete support and understanding from others. Sometimes doing everything at the same time is great, and sometimes it's not sustainable.

 

This is why I don't put all my dc into the same sport with multiple practices and games. it just doesn't work logistically or financially for us. I feel your pain, though. I know other families with 4 and 5 kids who play hockey and have one parent and one vehicle. They carpool.

 

We have a ton of activities going on with our 4, and we've been fortunate enough to be able to group 2 or 3 dc together, carpool, or have the dc walk to an activity. The odd time we borrow mil's car, but that doesn't happen very often.

 

I also feel your pain with the driving costs and food preparation stress.  I thought that the high school years would be easier than the toddler ones. How wrong I was! ;)

Edited by wintermom
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I only have three kids, but there are a few days of the week where i feel like I'm driving in circle after circle after circle. Drop this one off, drop off the second, wait with number the in the car, then pick up number one, etc., etc.

 

It isn't that we are over committed, just trying to support the (extra-curricular) needs of my three people. We carpool where we can, and I've started asking dh to do some ad hoc driving on occasion, but it is tedious and time consuming and necessary at this time in my life.

 

I feel for you - and recognize that you are juggling four! How long is the season?

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

 

I don't have 4 kids in sports, but if they really wanted to play  (and we could afford it) I would do my best, like you are, to make it happen.

 

Last year ds16 played baseball for two different teams.  Practices were often on the same day -- 45 minutes apart.  It definitely put a crimp in the schedule.

 

Sandwiches can make good dinners, especially if it's only for a few months.

 

Also, one thing that helps with the housework is setting a timer for 15 minutes and having everyone work on something for that amount of time.  15 minutes x 5 or 6 people actually gets a lot of work done.

 

I would also try to find some good audiobooks for all of the time spent in the car.

 

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I hear you. My four are currently 18, 16, 14, and 8. We had a few years of those kinds that of schedules. And one cannot understand how taxing teenagers can be mentally and emotionally unless you have been there. No doubt that adds to the load.

 

We actually are not busy like that anymore. My oldest is playing in college and the younger ones have gotten into less taxing activities. My 16 drives and tends to most of his own needs.

 

I have no advice for you but I do understand.

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Well I might qualify as a single mom to two very busy kids.  :)  Both 5th graders, getting those hormones ramped up, some learning issues, no local family, and the friends I do have are more likely to say "drop/skip some of the activities" than "I'll help you out" or "gosh, that does sound hard."  Add a boss who thinks whatever I do for my kids takes away from my contribution at work.

 

What can I say, other than "hang in there."  :)

 

I did resort to paying people to drive my kids at times.  Is that a possibility for you?

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I remember days of having three in three different concurrent sports. So hard! So, hugs and virtual vitamins, for the extra energy you need for this season of life.

 

Things that helped -

 

SLEEP! Early bedtimes all around, as much as is possible. I am the sort that needs to make sure everyone is turned in for the night before I settle in myself, but learned that just knowing they were all under the roof was good enough. I had to sleep to keep the necessary mental corridors functioning.

 

COMMUNICATE! The hardest thing for me was actually knowing that I could not be a spectator to everything, due to overlapping games. I would discuss this with my kids, letting them know how much I would love to be everywhere at once, and let them help me plan and decide about which ones were important for me to be at. My dh travels but we tag teamed as much as possible. The kids learned that there is an opportunity cost to every choice we make in life, that I hope will help them to make their own wise decisions in the future. The biggest challenge for me was to communicate in a positive way when I was feeling frustrated and tired.

 

CASH! There's a tradeoff in how you're going to feed everyone. Acknowledge it (which you've done) and budget for it. Facing and accepting the fact that you will need to seasonally up the grocery budget will relieve stress.

 

DRIVERS! We were very proactive in early driver education towards the goal of having ready, reliable additional drivers available. This may or may not work with your own feelings or geography, but it was very helpful to be able to hand over keys and let first one, then the others, of the kids in the sports. If your teens aren't yet ready for this, try to figure out how to cultivate some other chauffeurs.

 

Before you know it, the season will be over. You can make it!!!

Edited by Seasider
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:grouphug:

 

I was the mean mom that said, "You're all swimming and that's that. Don't even ask about other sports." I knew I didn't have the fortitude that you do. So we swam because even if I was at the pool for 4 hours every evening and all weekend, at least I was only at one pool.  :tongue_smilie:

 

We ate a lot of burritos and one pot meals during those years.

 

Again, hugs.  Remember that it's just a season. You can do it!

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My oldest played travel baseball for ten years. Early on we were at a tournament. Walking from the parking lot we saw another family in a minivan unload four kids. My ds, about 9 yo, said "Look! There is another family. I've never seen anyone else with a whole family here."

 

Of course, other people did have more than one child but the vast majority of travel ball kids were only children or had just one younger sibling that wasn't into anything intense yet. Also, most people did rely on backup from grandparents at times.

 

It is just not feasible for many people to do it with multiple kids. If it is VERY important to you, hang in there! If it is not VERY important maybe you could look for other activities.

 

But with 4 kids even recreational activities just end up all overlapping sometimes. It will pass!

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When I had six in sports at once, we ate dinner in the afternoon (around two) and then sandwiches in the evening. Another soccer mom suggested that and it literally saved my sanity. We also carpooled a lot!

Yes, I know several families who do their big together meal as breakfast or lunch and then it's fend for yourselves time in the evening, to accommodate all the crazy. Seems brilliant to me as well! What's the difficulty in putting on the crockpot the night before, right?

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:grouphug:

 

I was the mean mom that said, "You're all swimming and that's that. Don't even ask about other sports." I knew I didn't have the fortitude that you do. So we swam because even if I was at the pool for 4 hours every evening and all weekend, at least I was only at one pool. :tongue_smilie:

 

We ate a lot of burritos and one pot meals during those years.

 

Again, hugs. Remember that it's just a season. You can do it!

We already do that to some extent. You're all in dance, you're all in piano, you're all in swimming, etc. As they are getting older I am allowing for some differentiation on activities but within limits. I can't do it all and deal with half a dozen people getting to their places, plus the increasing emotional drama of the girls who are edging toward puberty. Nopers.

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We already do that to some extent. You're all in dance, you're all in piano, you're all in swimming, etc. As they are getting older I am allowing for some differentiation on activities but within limits. I can't do it all and deal with half a dozen people getting to their places, plus the increasing emotional drama of the girls who are edging toward puberty. Nopers.

 

We are down to one "favorite activity" per person, not including scouts and school sports.  It's still complicated at times.  :P  Well *my* thing has been pushed aside for the past 6 months, so ....

 

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I had three and one year had all three in soccer plus scouts for all three.  My dh that year was almost every week working a hundred miles away from Sun night to Fri night.  He would come home and take youngest to her soccer where he was the coach.  Since she was 4, I think, her practice came before the game so all on Saturday.  Then I had to sometimes choose to go to one game or the other of my other two kids if there games were at the same time as the youngest.  I let my oldest hang around the park earlier and took my middle to the game.  I also utilized things like gymnasium nights out and base nights out too just so I could get a break.  

 

It is tough but the season will pass.

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(((((Support)))))

 

I have 4--almost  age 8-16 (a junior).  What's keeping me going is that the oldest will be in college in 15 months (God willing!)

 

It is hard.  Mine are not all in one sport with multiple meetings, but we do have multiple activities.  My youngest could probably qualify for a travel soccer team, but I just can't.  Dh works on Sunday.  He's in charge of a lot of the driving, but it is still a lot.  (And culturally I am not used to it as I grew up in a city and didn't see my Mom do that--we could walk to everything). 

 

I give myself lots of positive messages.  I can do it. It's a season.  It won't last forever.

 

Since  I am overresponsible, I also make sure I keep perspective. If dh is sick and can't help then second grade soccer and music can be dropped without guilt, but 14 year old should get to acting b/c her skit partner is depending on her or 16 year old needs to go to NYLT b/c he is on staff and it's the one activity that truly brings him joy.  11 year old can be late to FLL b/c he's made it to all meetings. That's the kind of thing I do mentally to take the edge off.

 

Food, I have no solution to b/c dh has a severe allergy and I have blood sugar issues.  I try to freeze extra portions and have "easy" meals in the house that I can throw together fast.

 

Mostly, you are not alone and you will make it!  Make sure you take care of yourself, though--sleep, food, exercise. Ask dh for help and don't try to be the martyr

 

And, no, it isn't the same as for parents of 2.  They could cut back w/o sacrificing one child.  Just 1 or 2 activities per child can make an insane schedule and to cut one leaves one child with nothing and that is hard when you are the parent.  But they also won't understand the level of insane (on top of schooling, housework for a large family, cooking for so many, etc, etc).  That's okay.  It's okay to say--yes, this is insane.  I am working harder.  That's why it feels so hard.  And then figure out how you want to cope with it and get through.  (And before you parents of 2 jump on me--think about it hard.  Yes, you work hard, but my work load is bigger and, yet, it is smaller than my friend who has 9--by a lot).

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Well, I only have 2 left at home, but I remember those days. Carpooling, crock pot dinners, and a big, color coded (by person) calendar helps. Something I do now before I go to bed is to write each day's activities on a blackboard that I pass every morning. In the morning I set alarms on my phone for when my children need to get ready (put on specific clothing, do hair, fill water bottles or whatever), when I need to leave the house to take them, and when I need to leave to pick them up. Setting alarms has helped me stop constantly checking the clock or worrying that I'll forget a practice or leave a child behind.

 

 

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I've been in that place. It can be crazy making. Ride sharing helps so good for you. My tips are boring but I keep/kept lots of healthy, finger good in the house and a bag I drug everywhere. Meals didn't happen but cut veggies, fruits, cheese, nuts and nut butters, hummus, boiled eggs, whole grain crackers and water. We snacked. I was a little hardcore on bedtime so they and I didn get too grumpy. I tried not to he jealous of those with extended family and a dh available to help. Hugs

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

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I'm currently parenting 4 & homeschooling.

2 very very busy teens who don't drive yet & have all sorts of both day & evening activities. Every single day :(

 

Plus 2 littles who have no activties but get dragged around a lot, lot, lot & don't like it.

 

I feel for ya, I get it.

 

No tips, we're barely keeping our heads above water here.

 

We seriously need to cut back on fast food though! Working on that.

The worst thing?- both teen's activities are all year, not just one season, ugh.

Edited by Hilltopmom
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Well, I only have 2 left at home, but I remember those days. Carpooling, crock pot dinners, and a big, color coded (by person) calendar helps. Something I do now before I go to bed is to write each day's activities on a blackboard that I pass every morning. In the morning I set alarms on my phone for when my children need to get ready (put on specific clothing, do hair, fill water bottles or whatever), when I need to leave the house to take them, and when I need to leave to pick them up. Setting alarms has helped me stop constantly checking the clock or worrying that I'll forget a practice or leave a child behind.

Yes!  I forgot about this.

 

I have a dry erase calendar that I fill out each week. This helps me review the week and also lets me say to the child who asks what we are doing--check the schedule.  I *love* the color coding idea.

 

And I absolutely depend on my alarms.  I am also coaching my teens to do that (ie--you have Spanish today, do you think you should set an alarm for that or will you remember).  And absolutely my alarms have reminded me of things I've forgotten.

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Suggestions: Can the teens pitch in on the driving?  Can they pitch in in other ways?

 

We just finished our mock season.  It is competitive and the kids pour, absolutely pour, time into it and we live about 30 minutes from the homeschool building.  Last year was incredibly, incredibly hard for us.  i was driving DS to dual enroll CC classes and to mock.  This year he has his license.  He drives himself and brings DD home one night a week. You would think one night isn't a HUGE help but it really IS.  One night=big help

 

We have also chosen to tell our 10yo, "Not yet," on things she would like to do.  We haven't encouraged the middle schoolers to do the same things, even though we love what our older kids have chosen.  Would it be possible for the 8yo to chill for a couple years?  Then you would have another graduated?  It is hard for me to say no to GOOD  things.  But saying no allows me to still love those things later and I remind my younger ones, their time IS coming when they will do things that are special to them.  

 

If yours are not driving, I would encourage by telling you that age old, horrible, dreadful mantra, "It is for a season, even if a long season."  Ask yourself - is all the sacrifice worth it?  If the answer is yes, then let other stuff go as much as can be sanctioned by the Dept. of Health, like the house, like healthy home cooking, etc.  I love mock season.  I love everything about it.  It is a sacrifice and I deem it worthy which is why I will slaughter our home and our sanity next year to chaffeur because DS will be gone away at school.  But, because of perspective and past experience, I know it will be next year only and then she will have her license, kwim?  

 

I know this was JAWM but then you asked for advice so I wasn't sure whether to respond or not.  I hope this is helpful and encouraging.

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I'm there with you. I am another mean mom who limits their activities to what it convenient for me. It's worked to keep some of the crazy down. They all take martial arts which is nice because they can all be in the same class. It's beautiful. But, now that they are older, I am trying to be more supportive and kind. So all the kids can have 1 more non sport activity- music lessons, dance, science, etc. Why?? Why do I do that to myself? I think it's worth it in the end, but it makes for some crazy weeks- especially when we have doctor appointments all the time to schedule in.

 

I have a 15yr old, 2 12yrolds, and a 9yr old. With a baby on the way...I look forward to the day when DS can get his license. DH is very much against encouraging DS to drive. He sees no benefit to it. I look at him and think, it must be nice to not be the designated driver all day long. Must be nice to not realize an extra driver would be nice.

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"I don't support that" ?? Are you kidding me? Dude, did my friend UmMusa ask for your support? No? Go bother your poor wife.

This is the perfect response!  :hurray:

 

When we had four in soccer league, and I had a full time music studio, it was nuts. Good nuts. But nuts.

 

So during that season not only did I not cook, everyone ate a lot of sandwiches, salads, fresh veggies and fruit, cashews and almonds, granola with milk for breakfast, etc., but we made a little time each evening for just dh and I. Everyone else go watch a movie. Your mom and dad are having time off from you.

 

I am also the mom with one high school junior soon to be a senior left in the house. We are taking some of his senior photos while we are in Huntsville this week with the rocket team. (Leaving tomorrow, so excited, and ya...another crazy as we've put in about 225 hours so far on rocket team, and now will have six 24/7 days with the six teens too.) I have one more year. Just one. That's it. 10 years ago I would have told you I didn't see this end in sight, and would have wondered if the crazy was worth it. But now? So worth it. All those 4H meetings, projects, the rocket team, MTU science camps that required two 18 hr. round trip drives in a week, the science fairs, the ski trips. Worth every moment. They have been such great experiences for my kids! I am so very glad I was able to do these things for them. I see the contribution it has made to who they have become.

 

Next year though? Come graduation time? I might consider sleeping for a month, LOL or at least not driving anywhere!!! The groceries better sprout in the kitchen all by themselves because I might do "mom becomes catatonic after ferrying last child to last 4H meeting ever; Details at 11."

 

Or maybe I'll go nuts, sell the mini van and buy myself a jaguar! Ya...that's the ticket!  :D  :driving:

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We aren't involved in sports but my kids are in a different competitive event.  Due to the age breakouts, we have basically two different in state events every month,  We also travel out of state multiple times in a season.  Of course those out of state tournaments often overlap instate tournaments for the other age group.  Still doable until you throw in that my husband coaches, I sometimes coach.  So if both parents are coaching, 4 kids are competing and then what do I do with the 4 year old (oldest child doesn't compete but is often coaching or judging as well)?  We also have multiple fundraising events that overlap these tournaments (and they are controlled by an outside group so we can't change the dates), so if the kids aren'y competing and we aren't coaching, we are fundraising.  The person over our group is always leaning heavily on us to provide man power because we have so many people but trying to get everyone in there correct place each weekend when the kids don't drive and still making sure the 4 year old is being taken care of is exhausting.

 

If a person doesn't have lots of kids, they just aren't going to get it and I've learned not to try to even waste my breath.  When  parent of 2 kids says "you just need to do XXXX and then your life will run so much smoother",, you just nod and pass the bean dip.  I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but 2 kids is a piece of cake, if I only had 2 we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

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Four of mine are in Little League, which is just starting up now.  Two teens, a 10yo, and a 6yo.  This is the very first year that my teens will be on the same team, so it will be better than most years!  :w00t:  We've juggled 3-4 teams for the past 5 years now.  (2 in the two years before that, and just 1 for the two years before *that.)

 

Last year, one dd was able to get a lot of rides from her coach (who we know outside of softball.)  There were times when one kid would have to miss practice or someone would have to arrive late or leave early. That's just the way it was.

 

What works best for us is to eat dinner early and then have a snack when we get home. Most of the other players don't eat until they get home at 8 or 9pm (or later!), and I just can't get on board with that.  Bodies need fuel for sports!!!

 

I also keep my trunk stocked with drinks, snacks, things to keep non-playing kids busy, blankets, sweatshirts, a full first aid kit (the teams' always seem to fall short) and my own bag full of stuff to keep myself busy and/or productive during boring practices.

 

It's most definitely chaotic, and there are many nights that I hate it.  Overall, it's my favorite time of year, and I'm so glad we'll have these memories!!!

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Yep! I hear you. More than 4 here and running all the time. I have 18, 16, 15 , 12, and 8 playing at the moment.

 

I have 4 playing the same sport, but thankfully it is pretty close. Dh coaches one of those teams. Playoffs take us hours away. They often are at the same location during regular season.

 

But we have practice, games and competition nearly everyday of the week.

 

I have one doing another sport that is rather demanding and far away! I happen to coach that one. Practice is more than an hour away. We travel an average of 4-6 hours for games/competitions! We travel to other states. Playoffs take us to half way across the country.

 

It is hard!

I do my best to work out a schedule that prioritizes the things that are most important. I try to balance who misses what and who has to leave early or be late. It is crazy! It usually works out okay.

 

I also keep the car packed. I have a bag for each sport with necessary things - umbrellas, blankets, first aid, sun screen etc. I keep chairs in the car all season long. I stock up on snacks and do as many quick meals as I can.

 

I rely a lot of friends and family. We are blessed to have a tight knit group with the one kid's team. I have relied heavily on back up from other parents. Unfortunately, this year I have to be at everything because of a change is coaching staff. Sometimes I rely on the 18 and 15 yr old to keep an eye on the 12 and 8 yr old at practice.

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Snort--he doesn't support that.  Well la di da.  

 

There was a time when my FIL talked about how it was important to send people cards--birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc. I don't feel that way.  I don't like sending cards and I don't like receiving them.  

 

He went on about it for a bit, getting increasingly smug about sending cards and I said, "Yes, but do YOU send people cards?  Do YOU go to the store and pick them out and mail them?  Or does your WIFE do it?"   He just stared at me.  Because I don't think he's personally sent someone a card in his 52 years of marriage.  His wife does, sure, but he doesn't.  He's been riding on the coattails of her good manners---not his own. (It was one of the precious few times I've ever been assertive with the in-laws.)

 

The guy doesn't support it.  Yeah...I wonder what sort of hoops his wife is jumping through to get their daily lives lived.  I don't take it well from men who tell women what those women should or shouldn't be doing with their families, when it turns out that the men are just standing by while the wife is doing the actual card sending/driving kids to games.

 

 

OP:  You do what you gotta do and ignore the people who don't know what they're talking about. 

Edited by Garga
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I have four busy children. We no longer homeschool, but the craziness has not diminished, because the four of them attend three different schools. DD15 actually has to get early release from her school each day (skips last period study hall), because there is no way that I can be at the schools at 3:05, 3:15, and 3:25 p.m. when each school is 15 to 20 minutes from the others.

 

And, yes, there are good reasons they attend the schools that they go to. Someone could easily say, "well, you chose those schools, so you created your own problem,"  but the reality is not nearly that simple.

 

So I am driving every day from 2 to 4 and sometimes until 5. That is just for picking them up from school. Then we have the evening and weekend activities, which are every day and every weekend. 6 to 7 days a week, all through the school year.

 

It's exhausting, and yes my calendar is color coded and carefully planned. One schedule change can throw everything into a mess (I was freaking out about this today, because DD's school schedule is different this week, and I didn't find out until today, after I spent 20 minutes waiting for her to appear).

 

When you have four children, even if you allow each of them to do just one activity, and if some of those activities meet multiple days per week, a crazy schedule is almost impossible to avoid.

 

We now live close enough to DH's work that he can help with some of the evening driving, but when he worked almost an hour from home, I was the only driver most of the time, and there were things we couldn't do, because I just couldn't make the transportation work. Carpooling does not always work, because my car is almost full with my own children.

 

DS12 dropped gymnastics this year, which took away a huge problematic time commitment. That has helped some, but we are still always running around.

 

So, yes, I get it. I don't like it. But I get it.

Edited by Storygirl
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I have been there with four kids doing sports at the same time, although only two in lax, the other two did other sports. Actually, we still have that now, but the lax kids are at college, so we don't have to be involved in getting them to/from practices/games.

 

Now that I'm down to just the two, I can't believe that I was able to manage all the logistics of four!

 

Freezer dinners, crock-pot meals got us through. Wish I had my Instant Pot back then!

 

Good luck during this season of your life. Enjoy it, as it will be over before you know it.

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I have three kids. They all play soccer in the same club and I still run around four days a week. They all have practice one night a week, but two of them are at one field and the other is 10 minutes away. Then one has practice on Tuesday and Wednesday while the other two have practice on Thursday. The youngest plays games on Saturday at the same field every week. The other two travel and their games are always in different places and at different times - sometimes divergently so, like an hour away from each other - and sometimes more than once a weekend. So...not sure how all three kids playing the same sport is supposed to help. :p

 

Of course, Girl Scouts is on Thursday nights so the girls usually miss it during soccer season, but if my youngest's season has not started yet, she has to miss Girl Scouts too because her sister has practice and dh is working and I have no kids old enough to drive.

 

Dh works shift work on a non-traditional schedule so sometimes just getting people to where they need to be requires creativity and extended family members which is tough to do when ds' game is an hour and a half or more away and I have to be at dd's because I'm her team's manager.

 

So, we eat dinner at 7pm because that means dh can likely make it home during his shift to eat with us and yes, then the kids go to bed later than other people's because that's how it ends up. I have zero forks to give for someone who "doesn't support that." Pffft, I bet his wife drives those kids everywhere.

 

My calendar is crazy spring and fall so I try to keep winter and summer emptier when at all possible so I get it. Hang in there. At least it's just for this season right now. One season at a time.

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At one point I was homeschooling five.

 

Some did swim team, some horseback riding, all showed dairy goats and helped with oldest home based business, one was doing piano competitions and also playing 3 other instruments in the homeschool orchestra. None of them could drive. It was just craziness.

 

But we survived and all of those extracurricular made have really enriched their lives.

 

I feel like I'm on vacation now that I am only homeschooling 2 and they both have swim practice at the same time.

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We just had a disaster of an afternoon running from homeschool with food to a last minute medical appointment and then a (too closely scheduled) ballet practice. Everyone seemed to think we were doing so well but I could weep from frustration and stress. The wheels just fell right off.

 

So don't take advice from me, because I suck. And even when it looks good from the outside the sheer effort to pull it off makes me want to crawl into bed and never come out again.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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We just had a disaster of an afternoon running from homeschool with food to a last minute medical appointment and then a (too closely scheduled) ballet practice. Everyone seemed to think we were doing so well but I could weep from frustration and stress. The wheels just fell right off.

 

So don't take advice from me, because I suck. And even when it looks good from the outside the sheer effort to pull it off makes me want to crawl into bed and never come out again.

Aw don't be so hard on yourself. Look at all you are doing with a new baby with medical needs to boot.

 

I once asked dh how all the other parents were doing all the juggling bc I felt like I sucked at it. He replied (from Boy Scout experience ) badly . We are all dropping balls, most of us have missed a pick up time . My Ds is is First Lego league and I kid you not over achiever me is the flakiest parent on the team and I never know what is going on bc I can't keep up with the email .

 

And it is ok. It really is. We are doing our best. We have been careful about our choices and what we can handle, but life throws curve balls . I'm trying to keep things in perspective.

 

You are an awesome Mom who had been through a lot lately. I wish I could help you out and buy you chocolate.

Edited by freesia
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I have 4 close to the same ages of yours. It is hard!  I handle it by letting the older 2 choose ONE activity.  The younger two get to choose ONE activity during a different time period.  I would not be able to shuttle all 4 to different places for sure.

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It is hard!  I have four dc - 15, 13, 11, and 8.  We decided that music was important to our family, so we require an instrument.  I don't feel like that can count as their one activity since we require it.  So they all also have a sport. In the fall we have two playing soccer and two swimming.  Last fall we had a weekend where one had to be in town for a soccer tournament, one had to be out of town for a swim meet, and one had to be at a different place for a concert.  I was very thankful for a good friend that could help. I don't have any advice that hasn't already been mentioned, but I wanted you to know that I support you.  

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:grouphug:

 

I have three. 21, 17, 15. One owns her own car, another drives. DH works an hour away. Some days, I STILL can't make it all fit. Some days DH has to go into work early to be able to leave early so a car will be home to get BabyBaby to class. Even if I wanted to drive in circles to get SweetChild and BabyBaby to their activities with one car, the timing and locations make it impossible. So a half our change in his work times saves me about three hours in driving.

 

Having all the kids in the same sport or activity has been mentioned. OP DOES have all her kids in the same sport. Some sports, like martial arts, can all have class 1-2 nights/week all ages, same time. But most sports will have different times due to age and gender, and 3+ practices plus games. There was a brief time when all of my girls danced, but after age 8 or so I could not imagine either forcing a child to do a hated activity for my convenience, or refusing to allow them to pursue and interest because she had to do what her sisters were doing. Which sister gets to pick?

 

My sanity savers are a giant wall calendar that I can write on with pencil, not the slick paper. I can erase and make changes, and any tentative or unusual plans are highlights or emphasized by post it notes. Sometimes stickers.

 

Biggest hugs to the OP and others who don't have people around who understand. That's so hard, even if coordinating crazy schedules wasn't an issue.

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