Spring is here at last. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming… and our family calendar is in full bloom and then some!
Weeknights are challenging with the juggle of practices, games, homework and dinner but the real trick is the weekend. Gone are the mornings when we’d hang out in our pajamas, indulgently contemplating whether we should go to the zoo or a local park; they’ve been replaced by a dash out the door amidst a cacophony of “Where are my cleats?” “That’s my hat!” “I need a water bottle” “Didn’t you wash my uniform?” and my favorite, “Ma, have you seen my cup?”
Last Saturday, we had five commitments before 11:00 — and it wasn’t because we have five kids, it was just the way the schedule fell:
- 8:30 Triplets: Soccer
- 9:00 CC: Baseball
- 9:15 Triplets: T-ball
- 9:45 LML: Little League Baseball Parade
- 10:30 CC: Soccer
As I stood gripping my coffee, shivering on the sidelines and glancing at my watch to make sure we weren’t late for the next event, the chatter among my fellow sports fans (a.k.a. exhausted parents!) was the same. How will we survive the next six weeks of extreme spring sports scheduling? Since I’m a firm believer that in this day and age, spring shouldn’t be about survival but about enjoyment (we survived that nasty winter, after all!), here are a few tips to power you through the upcoming little league days:
- Get a jumpstart on the day. Get up and get out before your budding batters. Go to the gym, go for a walk or simply hide in a closet and read the paper. Do something for you before you dedicate the next 12 hours doing so much for them and you’re bound to have a better attitude all day long. (Note: this one works on weekdays too!)
- Pack snacks. And lots of ‘em. You know those compartments in the back of the minivan? Fill ‘em up. Ours are stocked with goldfish, granola bars, raisins, juice boxes, and water bottles…. well, they were before the weekend anyway. Now it’s time to restock so when the inevitable “I’m hungry!” erupts as you pull out of the driveway, you’ll be prepared.
- Switch up the standards. My kids recently told someone “we don’t eat lunch on weekends.” Now that’s not entirely true but I have to admit that sometimes lunch does fall through the cracks during the dash from church to soccer. So, you have two choices: 1. Convince the kids that granola bars in fact are lunch (see #2) OR 2. Toss in the towel and get them ice cream for lunch. Now everyone’s happy. (And no longer hungry!)
- Carpool. It would be impossible for me to be at every lacrosse, soccer, and baseball game in the weeks to come. I would need a clone for that. And frankly, if I could’ve had a clone, I would’ve used it during the days of breastfeeding triplets. But I digress. The point is, it’s ok – and in fact, advisable, if you ask me — to carpool to practice and even miss a game or two. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time and even if you’re not there to see the winning goal, it’s ok. You’ll all survive. Trust me, I know!
- Sunblock & socks. Random combination, right? Well, perhaps not as much as you think. The spring sun is strong enough to burn your skin… but not strong enough to warm your toes through the early morning dew or breezy late afternoons. Do yourself – and the kids – a favor and apply sunblock before leaving in the morning and save your cute flats and flip flops for the swim meet… after all, summer sports are right around the corner!