Craving The Off Season

Monday – Dance, Swim (2), Football

Tuesday – Football

Wednesday – Dance, Swim (2)

Thursday – Youth Group & Football

Friday – nothing (Hallelujah, but let’s be real… Fridays don’t stay empty for long)

Saturday – Game Day

Sunday – Christmas Pageant Practice

There are certain aspects of being part of a big family that are just bananas.
The schedule is clearly one of those.

That brief overview didn’t include any of the nitty gritty like; share days, library days, work in the classroom(s) days, trash day, early release and late start day (naturally these are on the same day every week at different schools, thus doubling the drop offs and pick ups).
Point being… the high level schedule only includes the extras (or self-inflicted torture).

The rule in our house is one activity per kid per season. And that rule is basically gospel around here.
I had a season where I put my kids in all the things so they could be well-rounded, musically gifted, multiple language speaking, Jesus loving, natural athletes, and stellar brainiacs.

And well, it didn’t work out so hot.
As in, we had to quit it all.
Basically, we just took a big fat time out from life.

That time out was so good, so precious, and so life giving that now I try to be intentional about scheduling an off season. (Partially, to prevent another total breakdown/meltdown/shutdown like that of 2011.)

This usually happens naturally over summer.

I have such a love/hate relationship with summer.
The late bedtimes, the spontaneous adventures, the rest, and the boredom.
I love/hate it all.

For whatever reason (namely football and summer school) summer didn’t feel like much of an off season. I think we only had 2 weeks where the calendar wasn’t bossing us around.
It just wasn’t enough.

Fast forward to today.
It’s early November and we are weary. It is time for a break. It is time for an off season. Swim has already wrapped up, dance is close behind, and football… hopefully 2 more weeks? (Go Titans!)

This winter has officially been declared off season.

Don’t come at me with those sign up sheets, bro.
Not happening.

I have discovered that so much of the structure and commitments I impose on our kids lives is not only for their “well-rounding” or enjoyment but also to make my life easier. (hold on, hear me out)
Easier as in, it is seems easier to have a activity to run to a few evenings of the week instead of trying to referee the next WWE sibling wrestling match or be the judge of yet another debate.

It seems to be more controlled and predictable to bounce from one activity to the next than to allow my kids to follow their own inclinations at home. However, I have learned that kids need time that is truly their own… time to dream and create, time to play outside and get a little dirty, time to discover themselves and their own pleasures.

They really just need some time to call their own shots.

So for winter 2017, that is exactly what we are going to do.
We are going to slow down, keep it simple, be bored, and probably get on one another’s nerves.
But honestly, I can hardly wait!

What about you and your people?
Do you declare on off season?
What does it look like?

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