Tuesday, November 9, 2010


1. in what way or manner; by what means?
2. to what extent, degree, etc.?
3. in what state or condition?
4. for what reason; why?
5. to what effect; with what meaning?

A friend asked me yesterday how I manage to get three daughters to their assorted activities.  This friend also has three children, but they are younger than my children and only two of them are old enough to have activities, play dates, etc. She was on her way to an activity as we spoke and she seemed a bit torn between her own desire to work out and her child's desire for more time with friends.  Before I proceed to attempt to answer this question of how I do it, let me briefly outline a typical week of activities for our family:
Monday - Spanish Club for A from 3:30 to 4:30
Tuesday - Dance for A from 4:30 to 7:30
Wednesday - Dance for K from 4:00 to 5:00
Thursday - Dance for A from 5:30 to 7:30
Friday - Dance for K from 5:00 to 6:00
Saturday - Dance for A from 9:00 to 12:00
Sunday - Choir for B from 5:45 to 6:30
These are simply the standard weekly commitments.  In a given week or season, we may have an evening class at church, soccer practice and games, basketball practice and games, Vanderbilt football games, Vanderbilt basketball games, a community group gathering, etc.  If A were doing The Nutcracker this year, she would have those rehearsals on top of everything else listed above.  This often required Saturday afternoon dance sessions after three hours in the morning, or a rehearsal on a Wednesday or in place of her regular classes.  Looking at the above, I'm grateful for the decision we made weeks ago to not allow A to dance in the production this year.  It would have been too much.

I'm sure there are some of you who are thinking, "That would have been too much?  What you're already doing isn't too much?"  Others may have their own busy schedules and look at our schedule and think, "Well, at least there's not more than one activity on any given day."  We've been in seasons where B had soccer practice on a night when A had dance.  That requires two parents on deck to help with transportation - not to mention feeding us all when we finally straggle in.

But here's why I think this isn't too much, at least for right now:  my girls each delight in their activities.  It has been particularly encouraging to have finally found something that B loves doing.  Choir practice is the highlight of her week and she wishes it came around more than once weekly. In fact, she's hoping to join our church's advent children's choir since their rehearsals don't overlap with her current commitment and I would love to find a piano teacher for her.

So you've had a glimpse of what I do.  How do I do it? 
...imperfectly (in what way or manner). 
...the best I can (to what extent, degree). 
...tired, with headaches, with joy, with focus (in what state or condition). 
...to help my daughters find, then grow into, their gifts (for what reason). 
...because I love them, because I want them to know themselves and their capabilities, because I want to be a part of them changing from who they are now into who they are meant to be (to what effect; with what meaning).

I'm not saying you should let your children follow their every whim.  I'm not saying you should expend all of your energy on driving your children to and fro, with nothing left for you, your spouse, your God.  In fact, I'm not telling you what to do at all. I'm simply saying that this is a hard part of parenting for me.  I'm an introvert who dearly loves her time at home, with hot tea and a good book.  And yet.  And yet I love seeing these girls of mine spark to certain things.  I love nurturing those sparks, cupping them in my hands and giving breath and life to them.  And if our life looks a little crazy, that's because it is.  But it's very, very good, too.

K, A and B - the why behind the how


Anonymous said...

You are a better woman than I. That schedule would never fly in this slacker household, and I honestly don't feel badly about admitting that. -Christine

WordGirl said...

You shouldn't feel bad about admitting that. Every family is different - moms with different thresholds, children with different needs. This doesn't make me a better woman - just one who is more tired, perhaps. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you would use the word threshold. I didn't think of it as my mommy-threshold limit (which I admit is nowhere near yours). I guess if I had no choice I would do it, I was thinking more in terms of quality of life. To me, driving my children from place-to-place every single day would negatively impact my perception of my quality of life, even if I didn't have to work full-time. I would feel very put-upon. I think that's what I meant to convey in my reply. As for my childrens' needs; um...I hope they can limit their needs to once or twice a week!! LOL. -Christine

EJN said...

Love the post. Takes me back. Having one we were never that busy, but busy. She grew more quickly than I imagined and all too soon is now driving off complete with a calendar of her own, learning to face the world. I miss pick up/drop off/ sit and wait. It is definately the "good stuff" and I am down to one day a week. Thursdays with K. Makes me smile. =o]

Lauren said...

Thank you for that explanation of all things Truss family. It does help explain how you manage it all. The way you do it "imperfectly, but with joy" resonates with me. It's a weekly, seasonal and trust-filled journey. Thanks for shining even just a flashlight on the trail ahead for me :~)