January 25, 2024

And it’s not even over yet!

Actually nothing catastrophic happened. Just a lot of minor drama and driving around (history fair during the school day! away basketball game! dr appt! soccer! dance!). (Though I am not driving for soccer tonight because it overlaps with dance.) Everyone is good.

C (#14) didn’t get much playing time today but the minutes he was in, he hustled. PS, that’s my favorite number!

I ran into a mom the other night at soccer who had to go pick her other child up at tennis (at 6:30), then come back for soccer pickup (7:00), then get another slightly older kid at volleyball (after 8:00). She said she has just accepted that driving around in the evenings is her life right now. I am not in the thick of it QUITE to that extent but we are not far from that level and with the ages of my kids . . . well, I can see where things could be going.

That said, I think I’m okay with it too. It’s temporary and there ARE some breaks (summer, spring break, space between seasons). The kids are learning and having fun. If they start to get overtired that’s one thing, but for now it seems okay. I recognize the immense amount of privilege behind this lifestyle, especially with multiple kids. And it’s 100% a choice to continue to reconsider periodically. But here we are and I didn’t expect it and also . . .it’s okay.

(Did your parents drive you around a lot? Mine did! I had:

  • violin lessons
  • piano lessons
  • various after school and/or before school music things (though sometimes I walked home . . . the only annoying part was carrying my ($*#&$ violin case)
  • community orchestra for a couple of years
  • cheerleading (which was throughout the whole year for many years, tryouts were actually in May the year prior and the season lasted a full 12 months) – I often had practices 6p-9p and my parents did all that driving for years, plus I had to go to a ton of basketball and football games.

THX PARENTS. I guess what goes around comes around.)


  • Reply coco January 25, 2024 at 5:57 pm

    I’m deeply grateful my husband to do the driving, 4 times a week to swimming with the girls. We could have had a driver but he prefers to drive so I get to chill out at home with the other girl and even few hours by myself. I fully agree the realization that this is temporary (we got to “enjoy” them) and privileged.

    I had zero after school activities when growing up, both in china and argentina because we simply couldn’t afford it. I started working around 13-14 years old after school, that was my after school activity. I didn’t blame my parents at all because that was the norm at that time, they were working hard to build a life in a new country, make a living. This experience makes me realize even ore how privileged we are to provide these experiences to our girls.

  • Reply Alexander Hart January 25, 2024 at 6:10 pm

    You’re welcome! Happy to have done it for both you and your sister (though I kinda wish you still played the violin) 😀

    • Reply Noemi January 26, 2024 at 8:37 am

      Ha! I can relate to this comment, since my mother also has said the same to me over the years. I stopped playing violin when I graduated high school, and instead focused on studying in college and other extracurriculars. I was in French club and studied mathematics, did various volunteering gigs, and worked part time throughout college. Then I jumped into grad school, had a child, picked up running, continued volunteering and working part-time. Next, I started working full-time after grad school, used my French language skills while working overseas in various Francophone countries, had another child, kept volunteering, reading, cooking, baking, cleaning, taking care of the family. When did I finally find time to pick the violin back up? After my divorce enforced 50/50 parenting time and I finally was able to carve out time for lessons, practicing, and performing in a community orchestra. So, to all parents wishing their children kept up X activity from their youth… Be Careful What You Wish For!

  • Reply Adrienne January 25, 2024 at 7:21 pm

    I am really not looking forward to running around like that – it sounds so tiring!
    In middle and high school, I had choir/music and youth groups at church and that was really it besides school. In elementary school, it was mostly just school, church, and playing outside. It was partly financial, but also growing up in a poorer part of inner city NYC, activities on this level was just not a thing
    Now we are able to get my little in this stuff (she’s only four) and in this region it is very much the norm, but I like our free weekends and I’m so tired after work. We do kid stuff on weekends – kids programs at library, nature center, trampoline parks, playgrounds, etc – but I feel resistant to having activities we HAVE to get to if we’re just in the mood to be together at home. I’m very curious how much she’ll decide to get into things as she gets older and has more opinions, wants to be with friends, and stuff. Seasons changes and all that

    • Reply Kersti January 26, 2024 at 11:41 am

      I had a similar upbringing. I did a few small extracurriculars at the school in elementary and junior high. I was busy in high school but mostly with my schoolwork and less so with extracurriculars. I ended up with a full scholarship to college and am now a partner at a law firm, so I like to think it didn’t hold me back. That being said, I wish I had built more life skills as a child. I’m learning to dance as an adult, for example. But on the other hand I was a sensitive homebody as a child and still am…I need a lot of downtime and hope my kid will not want to be too involved in major extracurriculars!

  • Reply Coree January 26, 2024 at 3:31 am

    We have an only and live in a town which is walkable – so it makes it easier. We drive to swim lessons a few towns over because the waitlist is too long locally, but otherwise we walk to Scouts (my husband is on the leadership committee so he works at the scouts hall while T is in Beavers), typically cycle to music as that’s a bit further. Sports seem more lowkey in the UK though because there’s not a sense of scholarships riding on things, etc. Some friends have a kid in competitive diving which requires loads of driving though, and seems a pain.

    T would really like to go back to judo but we’re waiting til he’s able to get there himself (they’ll let kids leave on their own from 8 or 9) and will see if he’s still interested.

    • Reply Jen January 26, 2024 at 8:49 am

      I was about to ask… where is walkable in the US? I need to ,I’ve there. Then I read on to see you’re in my home country 🙂 I miss walking everywhere as I lived in Cambridge and London for 10 years before emigrating to America.

      • Reply Jen Kay January 26, 2024 at 8:50 am

        *move there

    • Reply Adrienne January 26, 2024 at 11:10 am

      Walkable sounds like a dream!

  • Reply Chelsea January 26, 2024 at 5:22 am

    Oof… that is a lot of chauffeuring. When I was in elementary school, I did dance and Girl Scouts (both close to home) during the school year, and softball during the summer. It was all very chill (and I feel like most kids activities/sports were back then) but I did have a friend whose brother did tournament baseball and, although they didn’t travel, I remember them going to (and tagging along to) a lot of baseball games. In middle and high school I just did music (lessons, band and orchestra).

    Right now, we are not in a lot of activities compared to others we know, but it feels like plenty to me! The younger two take music lessons once a week. The littlest is doing golf and chess once each a week, but that’s easy because he just stays an hour after school for both (activities at the school are the best thing EVER!). The middle one has started volleyball at the Y (2 nights a week and I think he enjoys it), and the oldest does game club after school. And we go to dinner at my parents’ house on Monday nights. Plus I have my own sports practices 5x a week 🙂

  • Reply Irene January 26, 2024 at 9:42 am

    Oh my. We are not at this level of busy yet and I hope we won’t ever be QUITE there. My youngest really seems to need some significant down time in the evenings and I hate dragging him around even though I know my oldest would do more activities if we let her. It’s so hard to balance.

    Do you guys not carpool much? My oldest is around C’s age now at a stage where carpooling works really well for some things. Honestly I think we would have had to drop Girl Scouts if we had to do all the driving. Plus the kids really enjoy the car time. I’m always happy to throw another kid in my car and so far others seem to feel the same. It doesn’t work as well for dance/gymnastics where we drive to a studio at a very specific time for her level but I’m REALLY hoping we can do more carpooling for sports that have bigger teams.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 26, 2024 at 11:31 am

      Sometimes we carpool but certain things there just hasn’t been interest! I did drive another kid to the away bball game yesterday!

  • Reply Erin January 26, 2024 at 10:07 am

    I relate to this deeply with just my 6yo and 9yo – the 9yo is super into basketball and is playing in two rec leagues plus AAU. He also does competitive spring/fall baseball. The 6yo is doing dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading. The 2yo is either home with one parent, or schlepped to watch games (blessedly he is chill and a great sport about it). For example, Saturdays involve gymnastics at 10:45 (although a good friend’s daughter is in the same class, so it’s social time), then immediately rushing her over to a 12:30 game to cheer (eating lunch in the car en route), then come home for maybe an hour if I’m lucky, then back to the same location as cheer for my son’s 2:30 or 3:30 basketball game (sadly, she never cheers for his games!). On either end my husband is often taking my son to a different basketball game in the morning with the 2yo in tow, then to AAU clinic after the second game concludes. We can carpool occasionally, but the involvement of both kids can make that tricky (e.g., they have overlapping practice times on Tuesday nights so it’s a little more involved than just bringing one extra kid home).

    It is A LOT but (a) my kids ask to do these activities and genuinely enjoy them, (b) we have friends on/in various teams/classes, so it’s social to varying degrees, (c) there is some level of downtime when I can read a book on Kindle, and (d) I was very involved in activities as a child/teen and I have super fond memories of them. I think with certain sports/activities, they often come in pairs or threes depending on skill level/interest – I too played on 2-3 basketball teams per season for many, many years growing up. The silver lining is that, due to the large age gap between my oldest and youngest, by the time the youngest is deep into activities, the oldest will be driving and/or will probably much prefer to get rides with friends to being seen with his parents! Truly, what goes around, comes around!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 26, 2024 at 11:31 am

      100% GET the activity driving math/tetris that happens with multiple kids going multiple places at different times . . .

      • Reply Erin January 26, 2024 at 12:50 pm

        Driving tetris is the perfect way to put it! Thankfully all of these activities are within a ~10-15 minute (max) radius of our house so distance isn’t really much of a variable.

  • Reply Lisa's Yarns January 26, 2024 at 10:59 am

    I was really limited in my extracurricular options since I lived in such a rural area, but even if more options were available, I think I would have been limited in what I was able to do because my parents just didn’t have the bandwidth to drive kids around to things. Like I would have loved to have done gymnastics but we would have had to drive 30 minutes to another town (which felt further since we were in a rural area – 30 min feels different in a metro area for some reason?). So I did gymnastics one summer but there was no way it was going to happen during a school year. Our kids are so young so it’s hard to see how it will play out for us, but I kind of doubt my oldest will be heavily involved in athletics. I think he’ll take after me and have more interest in things like music, etc. But time will tell!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 26, 2024 at 11:30 am

      I will say most of our activities are quite close!! Some sports are at school (YAY), soccer practices are a ~15 min drive, and gymnastics / dance are more like 10 min.

  • Reply RH January 26, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    We have an only child and still feel super busy! Two baseball teams (travel and rec), basketball and indoor climbing. Baseball in SoCal is year-round so no real break, haha And that also means we’re trying to fit in extra stuff like time at batting cages, work with hitting/pitching coaches, etc. I’d say we’re lucky in that all these activities are within 2-3 miles of our house so it’s very manageable. Traffic is too crazy for kid to be biking or walking (plus carrying equipment?). There’s also a large overlap with kids/families within these activities so, as mentioned above, there is a nice social component. Even I, an extreme introvert/shy person, enjoy chatting with my fellow baseball parents 🙂

    The crazy driving for us is summer camps. I love that we’re able to send him to some really fun camps but the driving for those almost kills me every year (and let’s not get started on the seemingly standard 9-3pm camp day that screws working parents!)

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