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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really enjoyed the post where people talked about their crazy days. It made me feel like I wasn't the only one going through this. Although I didn't post this time, I've posted before that my days are similar. These days I'm not really worried about how the days feel to me, but I am very aware that they are way too long for DS who is 8. I thought I'd come here for some suggestions on how to make them more manageable for my child.

To give you a sense: Here's his schedule for next week:

Monday
7:00 Wake up
7:15 Leave home
7:30 -- 3:15 beforecare/school
3:15 -- 5:30 friend's house
5:30 -- 6:30 soccer practice
6:30 -- 8:00 back to friend's house for dinner (I have a committee meeting at his school, which is why I'm so late)
8:15 arrive home, 45 minutes to do homework, read, shower, practice guitar, have downtime.
9:00 in bed, listening to me read

Tuesday
7:00 Wake up
7:15 Leave home
7:30 -- 4:20 beforecare/school/aftercare
4:20 Picked up by my mom
4:40 -- 5:30 Tae Kwon Do
5:30 -- 8:00 At my mom's house, doing homework, playing and dinner. I'll get home around 7:00 and join them for dinner.
8:30 Arrive home, 30 minutes to shower, practice guitar and have downtime
9:00 in bed, listening to me read

Wednesday
7:00 Wake up
7:15 Leave home
7:30 -- 5:00 beforecare/school/aftercare
5:00 picked up by friend's mom (different friend from Monday)
5:30 Tae Kwon Do (with friend)
6:20 I pick up both kids, take them back to my house for dinner, homework, reading and playing together
8:30 Friend is picked up -- 30 minutes to shower, practice guitar and have downtime
9:00 in bed, listening to me read

Thursday
7:00 Wake up
7:15 Leave home
7:30 -- 3:15 before care/school/aftercare
3:15 -- go home with friend (yes friend #3), play, have dinner
7:00 -- dropped off at Starbucks -- do homework, read there with me (note the reason for the Starbucks is to save us the 30 minute walk from home to guitar lessons, and to allow us to get some homework done)
7:30 -- 8:00 guitar lesson
8:30 arrive home -- 30 minutes to shower, have downtime
9:00 in bed, listening to me read

Friday
7:00 Wake up
7:15 Leave home
7:30 -- 6:30 beforecare/school/aftercare
6:30 I pick up DS and his friend (same friend as Monday)
7:15 drop off friend, continue home
7:30 Nice evening with no homework, just dinner, shower and time to relax, go to bed late.

By the end of the week he's exhausted (because that 9 p.m. bedtime gets pushed back) and cranky, and I can't blame him. However, I'm not sure how to fix it. Dropping soccer and Tae Kwon Do wouldn't help that much because they'd get replaced with aftercare. He really likes the sports better than the chaos of aftercare, and because they're near my house, we actually get home earlier on a regular soccer day (not one when I have a meeting) than if I picked him up at school at 6:30. Dropping guitar would help, but he loves it and gets upset at the thought of dropping it. I do have a lead on a teacher who would come to his aftercare and pick him up there, which would free up Thursday evenings (usually Thursdays he's at aftercare until 6:30, does his homework there, and then we stop for a quick dinner on the way to 7:30 guitar lessons, dinner at 8:30 -- this week is different because of the playdate).

Any suggestions on how to make this work for him? Last year I had a college student pick him up and bring him home and to activities so at least he was in familiar surroundings, but my financial situation won't really allow that this year.

Weekends are pretty much our time except for soccer game and errands, so that's good, but the weeks are still too long. Any ideas? Anyone in the same boat so at least I don't feel so alone?
 

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Ideas....

I'd see if he can do some homework and practice guitar at friends' houses in the evenings. I'd reduce showers to a few nights a week. I'd consider eliminating one or two of his three extracurricular activites. I'd get myself off of any committees or other committments that keep me away outside of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good ideas -- here are some thoughts:

1) Reducing showers -- not an option, he's heading into that preteen age where if he doesn't shower every day he stinks (trust me I'm not exaggerating). If he was a quiet, sit still inside kind of child it might work, but he's not, he's a run around playing tag at recess, and again at aftercare, and get all sweaty kind of child.

2) Doing homework at friend's houses doesn't seem to work. As parents we talk about it, but it never "materializes". Doing homework at aftercare does work for the most part, so on the days he goes there that helps (usually that's Thurs), as does doing homework at my mom's. Practicing the guitar doesn't really work because it's an electric guitar and so lugging the guitar, and the amp from place to place isn't really an option. To be honest he practices maybe 10 minutes a day and I don't push it. It's important to him to keep playing, but I leave it up to him how much he practices.

3) Dropping activities -- I think about this a lot, and I have mixed feelings about each one.

Soccer is the one activity he's been in for a long time. He loves it, and it's where he's made all his "neighborhood" friends (since he goes to school outside the neighborhood). Also, if he didn't go to soccer he couldn't really go on his Monday playdate with his best friend. He loves that playdate, and I think that the "downtime" he gets at their house is better than afercare for him (even though homework doesn't get done). Also on "regular" Monday nights we get home earlier from soccer than we would otherwise (work to soccer takes the same amount of time as work to aftercare, but soccer to home is 5 minutes, aftercare to home is close to an hour). Soccer will end in a month of so anyway, giving us a break.

Tae Kwon Do -- I could drop this. Again he LOVES it and talks about it a lot, but it is a little inconvenient. On Tuesdays he goes with Grandma, if he didn't go he'd get more "downtime" at her apartment which would be nice, although what I think he's craving is time with me. One Wed., again like soccer TKD means he gets home earlier (TKD is maybe 10 minutes from my home, so we're saving a significant part of the commute), but it also means that we have the extra child for an hour afterwards. If we didn't have TKD we'd get home at 7:30 with homework done, just the 2 of us, With TKD we get home at 6:45, but with a 2nd child and homework to do.

Guitar -- Like I said, I know I have to change this. If I can set it up so he takes lessons at aftercare Thursdays will get much easier -- we'll be home at 7:30 (having done homework but not had dinner) rather than 8:30 (having had dinner and done homework). If we drop something it will most likely be this, but again, I'm on the fence because it's something he loves and asks for.

3) Committees -- I'd really like to stay involved in his school, but I know that those extra meetings 2 nights a month (two different committees that meet once a month each) are a pain.

4) You didn't suggest it, but another option is to pull him out of his charter school and put him in PS a block from my house. Once again he loves his school and when we tried the PS before it was a disaster, but it was also much easier. I've heard that the upper grades are better.
 

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I think looking at schooling options is a great idea.

And one can practice electric guitar without the amp.


I think I'd drop TKD and guitar, but let him continue self-motivated guitar lessons using videos, books, and websites at home for as long as he is interested, perhaps looking into a music camp or more lessons next summer.
 

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you might run into less resistance if you let him pick what activities he drops. Mine are allowed 1 sport each, even if we can afford more. They have to decide what they want to be in each session. Sometimes they stick with the same thing for quite a while, but sometimes they choose to try something else when I think they're having a great time in the one their in already too. When there's a choice to be made I usually lay down the boundaries and leave it up to the child it effects...speaking of which- have you discussed this issue w your ds yet? He may have some insights and ideas, and really his ideas should hold a lot more weight than ours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I want to start out by saying, that the activity thing is a new problem for us. Previously we did one activity that was one day a week each season. Then last year when his soccer team (which he'd been on for 3 seasons already -- it was his fall/spring activity) added practice he went to two days a week. Then suddenly, last spring he expressed a desire to do TKD, which he started and loved, and then in the summer he asked for guitar.

My hesitation about dropping the activities, is that I'm not sure it would actually help. He attends the activities at times when otherwise he'd be in some kind of childcare -- except for the Thursday afternoon guitar lesson (which we're changing to someone who can see him during aftercare), and the Saturday morning soccer game he'd have to go to aftercare instead. A couple of days a week he even gets home earlier because of the activities simply because they're in my neighborhood (his school is almost an hour from my home by public transportation, and right now I don't have a car -- another "fix" I'm working on but since I don't have a lisence either it will take some time). So instead of leaving work at 6:15, getting to his school at 6:30 and getting home at 7:30, I leave work at 6:15 get to an activity at 6:30 and get home at 6:45.

The second reason is that he loves the activities. This is a kid who doesn't really like school (although that's a big improvement because he hated our local public school, which is why I'm hesitant to send him back there), and I'm hesitant to end the things that he does like and that give him self esteem.

The third reason is that this is a kid who struggles with his weight, and so I'd rather have him running around on the soccer field, than sitting down at Grandma's (small apartment) or aftercare. His aftercare goes outside every day from 3:30 to 4:15, and he's there most days for that, but then they go inside and it's very sedentary -- art activities, legos, homework, videos etc . . .

What do people think -- would more aftercare/Grandma time, and less activities make this feel better, even if it didn't solve the problem of time with mom/at home?

I should add that I know the long term solutions to this problem:

1) a car
2) a new job (new new job, I just started this one a few months ago) without the 50 hour work week
3) possibly moving into a neighborhood where things are more affordable so I can have a nanny again, and where he could attend the local public school.

However, none of those are possible until I a) get a driver's lisence, 2) finish the school year (I'm a special educator and I know that if I left they wouldn't be able to replace me which would be a disaster for my kids) and 3) reach the end of my lease, and probably the end of the school year since I think it makes sense to combine 2 and 3.
 

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I hear you on the public transport issues. I am in the exact same spot. Are there any assignments he can do while you ride around or at before care?

I agree w/pp about dropping the committee meetings- not worth it until other changes loosen up your schedule. I might be an ogre, but I would also nix any non-activity related play dates, just for the consistency during the week.

Also, can your mom take him to your house instead of hers? Maybe you could have a crockpot meal ready for all three of you and save your guy the travel time of going to Grandma's and then riding home.

You are doing a great job mama!
 
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