Scheduling Conflicts Of Motherhood

I often wonder how people with more than three kids do it. How do they keep up with activities and school as a taxi without demanding wrinkles in time on a daily basis? Technically, I only have two kids requiring my taxi services and I run into conflicts daily. It’s a good think LilZ will be driving before AndyZ starts with extracurricular activities, or someone would just have to be okay with walking home from soccer practice. It’s only about 8 miles! No problem!

I’ve taken large effort to find ways to eliminate as many potential conflicts as possible. NikkiZ’s dance class actual happens while she’s at school. School gets out at noon. The only potential conflict with LilZ’s school and activities is with her new indoor soccer team. And it is a short season with only 10 games, minimizing conflict. Except that both games this week? Have conflicted with LilZ’s theater obligations or events.

Last night I ate dinner at LilZ’s school for a dinner theater event I had bought tickets to earlier. I wolfed down my plate of BBQ, jumped in the car, and headed to the Y for the soccer game. I watched about 25 minutes of her game before I had to jump back in the car for the performance at the high school that was supposed to start after dinner. Essentially both kids got half of me – and I’m not sure if that’s better than giving one ALL of me or not.

There are a few other parents in LilZ’s group who periodically help with the taxing to and from rehearsals, but they all work. As the sole Stay At Home Mom in the group, it more often ends up on my plate. But I wonder, if I hadn’t gotten laid off…what would we do? Or, if I was a single Mom (which I was for awhile during LilZ’s childhood) what would I do? Or, if I had at least one extra kid requiring my participation…what would I do?

So – you tell me! How do you manage it all? Between carpool after school (which on any given day can pile up to four teenagers in my van) to hobbies (which sometimes require hours of audience time as well) to scheduling the daily routine (baths, dinner, chores) around it all. I know I couldn’t do it if I were still working and I wonder, should I find myself working full-time again, how will I mange? Do you limit hobbies? Do you depend on other friends and family? Or better…have you learned control over the space/time continuum? Because that would be awesome.

This photo is one of my faves from an outing NikkiZ and I went on yesterday. Just wanted to share.

25 thoughts on “Scheduling Conflicts Of Motherhood”

  1. I have no idea how you do it. I can barely get my husband and I around. Having another driver will be an unbelievable help.

    Love that photo – she looks like a little model!

  2. NO idea how people do it. My two kids are 10 years apart so actually the older one often pitched in to help with playing chauffeur.

    I just wanted to say that is one of the cutest pictures of NikkiZ! She looks like quite the little fashion maven! That could easily be a catalog ad for childrens clothes!

  3. What an adorable picture!

    ‘m a long-time lurker, but I just had to comment on this.

    Our kids are 5 and 1, so we’re just at the beginning of the craziness. We’re hoping that one of our big lifestyle choices pays off – two years ago, we moved to a highly walkable community. My kids go to schools just three blocks from our house, which is just a block from my office. Our church is in between. We can get all of the basic necessities of life (drug store, newsstand, post office, garage, parks, library) on foot, and many of the extras (coffee shop, restaurant, toy store), too. My husband takes the train to work. We’ve also arranged to have milk, eggs & cheese delivered to our home by a dairy.

    Things could change – the school could close/redistrict, etc., I might end up in a different job, a meteorite could hit the Earth tomorrow … And it isn’t perfect. My ‘hood is walkable, but it isn’t perfectly safe – we have muggings and the like just as in any urban(ish) area. And my job often involves weekend and evening hours, which I could do without.

    But not having to play taxi has really taken the edge off even the most hectic days, and I value the time I spend with my kids while we’re hoofin’ it.

    So … it’s not a perfect solution, and it wouldn’t work for everyone. But the benefits, for us, have been extraordinary.

  4. Does LilZ’s school not have a bus system? I am surprised you have to carpool high schoolers, but I guess that’s just because where I grew up, pretty much everyone took the school bus. We even had an evening run for the kids in sports and extracurricular activities. I realize that wouldn’t help for actual events you’d want to attend, but I assume you don’t watch the rehearsals.

  5. that picture is SO great!!

    i think you can technically count my oldest as requiring your taxi service!! haha!

  6. I have one kid and can’t get my act together! GIRL, you are SUPERMOM! LOVELOVELOVE that pic of NikkiZ. she’s such a beautiful girl!

  7. I cannot speak to the time sharing because I don’t have kids, I have dogs… but you are doing what I wished my Mom would have done, and that is show equal love all around.

    As for this picture… OMG… she should be on the cover of Vera Bradley. This little girl is a beautiful model of pure beauty. I did a double take thinking NikkiZ hit it big with VB. Awesome picture and you captured her amazingly….

  8. Zoot, this is not directed at you because you seem to keep things limited and I am slightly off topic, but why do parents today think that their kids have to be involved in so many activities?
    They don’t have to be involved year round. If the schedules don’t coordinate then someone is going to have to wait. If one has a strong talent in a particular area perhaps that should take priority over another’s mild interest.
    I believe strongly that kids don’t need to be over scheduled. They don’t need to be getting home at 9 pm to have to complete assignments and study for test. I see too many parents putting activities before academics. It’s like a contest to see who’s kid can do more.
    I have two kids, both involved in minimal extra curricular activities, dance (Sept-June, 1 night per wk) and Golf and Track. Between my husband, myslef and grandparents we get manage.

  9. Is it wrong that I like NikkiZ’s outfit? Like, for myself, I mean. That’s a great picture.

    If I had kids and the scheduling got to a point where I just couldn’t manage it anymore, I think someone (probably the younger kid[s] since they wouldn’t miss it so much) would have to forgo some of those organized activities. Maybe you could spend special time with the littl’uns while waiting for LilZ to be done with his activities.

  10. I’m terrified at just the thought of having multiple small children to cart around! I have no idea how people do it.

    Also, NikkiZ’s hat [& entire outfit] – I need it. So cute!

  11. I have no idea! I have one child and keeping things on schedule and showing up where he’s supposed to be on any given day is about all I can manage.

  12. Thankfully, I have neighbors that help with carpool (ie sign your kids up with friends!) and a supportive husband.

    My 6 year old is in 5 activities at this point – piano, Girl Scouts, Y Princesses, Cheerleading, and dance. Yes, slightly crazy. Add my 3 year old in dance as well, and we have scheduling conflicts. That and my husband and I both work full time. Good fun!

  13. With active kids you will have plenty more conflicts to come. We split up often, with one parent with each kid, no choice really when one is the coach of one of the kids too. My mom would pitch in to transport if needed. Sometimes it comes down to the importance of the event or if one is a 1 time thing versus one of many to come. Also, I threw any regular schedule out the window- the activities were our schedule and everything else fit around that. I miss those hectic days now. Very quiet now with the 2 in college – although I do still get to watch my son play rugby. I don’t think my other son would appreciate me coming to watch his intramural teams, although I would like to.

  14. I constantly feel like a taxi driver! I have 4 kids under 6 (and another one due in Feb) Driving around all day carting people here and there is what I seem to do.
    We carpool for my school aged child, so the other 3 kids and I pick up the carpool every afternoon. Most days the kids don’t mind but on days they do its a struggle to get everyone in the car.
    As for extra activities we have to limit. My preschoolers are involved in 2 mornings a week classes at the local rec centre,(they love the program and I get quality time with the little one) and everyone has swimming lessons. We try to book programs and lessons at the same time so we only drive over once. That seems to help. The only problem is that they all have to agree on the extra activity. We’ve done soccer in the past and are thinking of skating over the winter. I tend to stay away from sports too much though as they require extra games and such that I think would just kill me. As they get older and have more input into their activity we might have to rethink that but for now it seems to minimize the insanity!
    I think that you are doing an amazing job! Having more than one child is always a balancing act, and dividing your time between them is always going to be hard. I guess the best advice I can give is to make sure that the time you do spend with them is quality time, and you are actually there with them instead of thinking about the next place you have to be, which I’m sure you already do! Good luck!
    The picture is amazing btw!!

  15. I can’t comment on the schedule juggling (no experience to offer), but I have to echo the comments on the photo – she looks like a little model in a catalog. Such a cutie!

  16. I have 3 kids and work full time….and let me tell you it is HARD! I haven’t quite mastered it yet and I don’t think I EVER will!

  17. My three boys are really into baseball. Last season our oldest was playing city league and an all star team and the two younger ones were playing city league as well. We basically had baseball every day but Sunday. We got really creative on getting everyone where they needed to be. I requested that my youngest be put on the same team as my friends little boy so she could pitch in if needed. Every week I would sit down and look at any conflicts and figure out how to deal with them. My husband and I had to split up a lot. My parents helped. We even had to drop one off at practice at one ball field and then drive to another field to watch a game. Then one of us would leave to go get him when he was done. When his coach found out what we were doing he started dropping him off at the game for us. It was crazy, but the kids had a ton of fun. Because it’s so crazy we have limited their other activities now that baseball is over. I have to save up my sanity.

  18. Not sure what to tell you on the scheduling conflict–other than don’t worry—it will all work out fine.

    BUT I wanted to comment on the picture–I think this may be one of my all time favorites–but I’m not definitely committing…because there very possibly could be another all time favorite that I’ve forgotten about!!! HA.

  19. My parents relied heavily on that 3rd driver. I was in a car accident just after I got my license and was pretty content never to drive again. My parents coddled me for a while, but finally said “We didn’t give you a car for the heck of it, you need to start driving again because you and your brother and sister have places to be.”

    Hopefully that 3rd driver will lighten your load as well.

  20. My husband and I use the divide-and-conquer method. We try not to drop-and-run and we never leave Lil’bug (right now she’s only taking dance class once a week). We picked her dance school because it was so close to their school so we can drop him at basketball, take her to dance, and then go back for him. It surprises me when parents drop their 3-yo at dance and goes off for a cup of coffee. It never fails, whichever parent leaves that child will come out of class and need help in the bathroom, which leaves a stranger or the dance school receptionist to help the child…and making sure they go before leaving the house does not ensure they won’t have to go while in class. I won’t leave her because I have to expect the unexpected. Child gets hurt and I’m not there. Car trouble while I’m out and I can’t get back. Yes, it would be nice to be able to run to the supermarket and pick up the few things I need for dinner and not have to take the time on my way home after class, but I won’t take the chance. So we divide-and-conquer.

  21. It is so hard! I have three boys and they are all involved in sports. I have even had to hire a babysitter to watch my youngest son’s game when the other two have had games at the same time and day. I do not think it is fair to limit one from doing an after school activity over the other. Each day is one day at a time and somehow it works. Some days better than others and always with the help of friends and my husband.

  22. Ah, the dilemmas of motherhood! I have 3 very busy children. I like to have the kids in one activity, each, at a time. However, even if I took one kid to their game, and their Dad took another to their game, that still leaves us not making it to the 3rd game. I’ve let it get hectic a few times with Volleyball, TBall, and Soccer at the same time. Inevitably all 3 games overlapped each other. Thankfully I have family with kids the same ages. So, I make sure to sign my kids up for something that one of their cousins will also be in. My family is awesome at taking them to not just games but to practices as well. So my advice if you don’t have extra family would be to carpool with friends! I am a HUGE sports fan! I never went a season without playing on 1-4 different sports teams as well as being completely involved in school with things like band and student council. I don’t know how my Mom did it! I have decided with my own kids that we will take breaks. We will have them all do something for a season (or 2), making it super chaotic, and then we will all take a break for a season. I decided that the family time is just too important to give up all the time. The kids really need down time to do “nothing”, too! I am in the middle of my first season of no activities…and I am loving it. I thought I would miss the activities and that the kids would be upset. But they are not. We’ve never played as many board games, snuggled during as many movies, or read as many books as during this off season! I will continue to have an off season at least once a year, and I think I will continue to have it be during the Holidays. Sometimes too much really is just too much!


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