Kids, Their Activities, and Doing It All...

Updated on April 13, 2011
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
21 answers

I'm feeling pretty guilty right now... and lazy. My 7 year old daughter plays soccer, and I HATE having to take her to practices and games... I think if I had a little help from my fiance (who works and can't help), it wouldn't be so bad. I hate having to drag 3 kids to the soccer field the SECOND they get off the bus, and sit there with my 5 year old and 15 month old for an hour. I always feel so rushed on those days, especially since we're late for practice every day (they get off the bus at 4, and practice starts at 4) and then I have to rush home and make dinner. I don't know, I just feel selfish. Like I'm glad my 5 year old doesn't want to play!

How can I get over this? I want to encourage my kids to do activities, I just hate participating myself.... well that's not entirely true because I'm room mom for both their classes and I'm on the PTA. I used to be the assistant soccer coach. I just hate going to these things, it really overwhelms me and I don't know any of the other parents enough to ask them to bring my daughter home or something. I really have no help. It just feels like such a burden, and I feel guilty for feeling that way :( I know it's only going to get worse too!

I don't think it would be so bad if I was a SAHM... I'm a WAHM (which is lovely) but it's not like I have any extra time. Ever.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

@ Christine, even if I picked them up from school, it would still be almost 4 before we got out of there :( And yes I try to make dinners ahead of time, it's just tough since I'm working/doing housework/watching baby already ;) I agree, SAHM mom is tough! WAHM is tougher. There just aren't enough hours in my day ;)

@3boysandme ... LMAO. If it was as easy as 'get over it', it would have been done. Kind of harsh there honey. What are you, super mom? Great, will you take my daughter to soccer 3x a week too?


Featured Answers



answers from Columbus on

Are there any other moms you can get to take her to practice at least a couple times per week, in exchange for other carpooling/help? That is my one thought. Sorry I can be more help, but I totally sympathize!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

All you can do is try as best you can to get what you CAN do ahead of time done--like get dinner ready earlier in the day so at least the dinner will be "checked off". I hate the "hurry up and wait" stuff--like activities you have to rush TO because you CANNOT be there ANY earlier no matter what you do.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Simple answer but it won't make anything better. You can't do it all. No one can. You can do it all / have it all / but not all at the same time.

You said you are stressed because the kids get off the bus at 4 and practice starts at 4. Could you pick them up from school and go straight to practice and then not be late? I'm assuming your 5 and 7 year old are in the same school and baby is home with you.

The grass is always greener on the other side and although I am now working in the office mom, I've been SAHM and WAHM. I think that SAHM is the hardest!!!

Good luck - I will be interested in seeing others' responses. I have the same thing as you but am picking kids from daycare, running home, changing to bathing suits and running to swim lessons. Swim lessons are crucial here since my county has the highest toddler / young children drowning rate in the country!


In terms of dinner, can you plan to do a crock-pot meal on the days you have practice? Since you work at home, you could time starting the crock-pot so that it will be ready soon after you return home from soccer. You can prep the crock-pot the night before so that all you need to do during the day is take the crock from the fridge and place it in the pot and turn it on.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Can you hire a college aged kid to pick her up give her a snack and take her?

Then maybe on some of the days the same person could stay with your other kids at home while you take your daughter. It would allow you to really enjoy just watching her.

It is so hard when you have younger kids. You are having to pack them and load them, then keep up with them out there, it sounds very stressful.

How many days a week are you needing to get her there?
Plan super easy dinners on those nights or make a crockpot meal or plan on leftovers those nights.

You can just do your best. Your daughter will appreciate your efforts.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we had DECADES of baseball where we had the same dilemma. well, i did. the ol' man coached so he was right in there.
crock pot dinner on the soccer days. it's so dang easy and delicious. or on days when you have more leisure, make and freeze a few dishes beforehand. cooking on practice nights makes for a crabby mommy. nobody wants that.
maybe there are things with which you can fill that hour so it doesn't seem like so much wasted space. homework or reading practice with the 5 year old, chinese jumprope or a nature walk with both kids, or if there's a safe playground for them both to run wild, some of your work or <gasp> a trashy novel for you to relax with.
another possibility is to set your jaw and start conversations with the other parents until you establish enough of a rapport to share taxi duties. i struggled with that. i had little in common with most of the other parents and was much more comfortable sitting by myself and reading. but the payoff might well be worth it.
good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

*update: I began to write my suggestions but then saw your "so what happened" comments and deleted my suggestions, thinking you may not be interested in advice from moms who do it all the time, but just wanting to vent. If you want to vent because things are hard sometimes and you get tired sometimes, we feel ya. But since you've "???" my deleted comment, I'll proceed...
I'm not supermom. But being organized is a definite strength I do have. My suggestion would be to change your routine around a little bit, and take Sunday (if you work M-F) to prepare for the coming week. I have been a wahm for a couple years (not now, because we're transitioning to a new state, from rental to closing on a house, I want us settled in the new state before I jump back in....but yeah I was a successful wahm and pregnant, so I understand the way it goes).
What I do, since you mentioned meals, is this: on Sunday we are off work, don't really have anything that "needs" to get done but church, and my husband is home to play with the boys for me. I do ALL the laundry (except bedding which is a Monday thing) and my husband irons for the week. I will take a family pack of chicken and put it in the pressure cooker with some basic seasonings; that will allow me to cook 7lbs of chicken in a little over 30 minutes. Then you can divide it up for later. While that chicken is cooking, I'll take (just an example of a week) a pork tenderloin and put it in the crockpot to make pulled pork sandwiches, and chop up a few onions, bellpeppers, jalepenos, etc for other meals. When the chicken is finished I will put together something like enchiladas, kingranch casserole, chicken and rice casserole, etc--something to put in the oven. Then on one burner I'll cook a fideo and another burner I'll put on something like chicken tortilla soup, chicken & sausage gumbo, etc. Now that's 4 meals going at once with a minimal amount of effort really. Those meals can be for the "busy days". You've got a great pasta that you just make a salad for and serve, a casserole, a delicious soup, and bbq sandwiches where you just have to toast the buns and serve with potatoes and beans or salad. Super easy. On the less busy days, you can then make a seafood dish, a beef dish, a vegetarian dish and you've had good homecooked meals and a good variety. (The rest of the chicken from the pressure cooker just gets put in freezer bags for later, or for chicken salad for lunches or something). You can plan your menu with your dayplanner or calendar on hand so that you can get all your shopping done in one day and have the easier or prepped meals for the days you feel like you're really struggling for any extra time.
I assume that you still carry a diaper bag for your 17 month old since I carry mine for my son who's 16 months old. It's always packed and ready, and on soccer days just add 3 juices and 3 zippys of sliced fruit or goldfish or whatever and go pick your child up from school. That way there's a little downtime, and a snack on the way to soccer so she's not running on empty. Even if you say she would "get there at almost 4" if you drove, that would be better than not even getting off the bus until 4. Why add stress of being late? Throw a blanket on the grass and lay down, enjoy the fresh air and sun, let your younger children eat their snacks at practice and play with a couple toys on the blanket. You can half watch the practice and half play with your children. Perhaps let them draw or doodle. Or give them a little ball to play with each other on the side of the field. I brought my son's little ball and would go along with the practice for my bff's son's practice when I would take him. My son wanted to play but wasn't old enough yet, so we stayed to the side and did the warm ups and copied them. I would roll the ball or kick it to him, and my baby would crawl around and try to follow us. It's not long. It should be welcome quality time to watch your children's eyes and make them laugh if you've been working all day. Not judging here, just suggesting a change in perspective.
Keep the blanket and a little bag with her ball, shin guards, bugspray, toys or notepads for the siblings, etc all packed and it just stays in the car so you don't have to pack anything but a water bottle, the 3 juices, and 3 snacks on soccer days.
I don't believe that you're looking at 3 school days a week for soccer; maybe 2 school days and a Saturday? But either way next year see if there's something with a better schedule. Our practice is 6pm on Tues, and we have games at 6:30pm on Mon, 10am on Sat. But try to keep in mind that you can change your routines up a little bit (or get one to begin with), plan ahead, and actually have a really good time with your children, while they still WANT you to be there. They grow quickly. Enjoy this time and watch them grow, encourage and cheer for them when they learn or explore what interests them, whether you like it or not. Don't suck out the fun by acting like its an imposition.
It can be done, and you don't have to be a martyr. I take my oldest to preschool 3 days/wk, soccer 3 days/wk, kung fu 2 days/wk, church on Sun, Awanas on Wed. My youngest goes to kindermusic and storytime once/week, and 2x/month goes to MOPS club with me (but plays in the nursery with his classmates). We also still do family activities on the weekends (tour nature preserves, go to the beach, climb lighthouses, attend special events in the community, go to movies once a month or so, etc). Life is busy, but fun. It's totally doable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Two Words, McDonald's Drive-Thru!
Ok, that's 3 words.
I remember what it's like to have three different kids in three different counties at three different must see sporting event/school activities! I'd like to say it'll be better SOON, 'cept since you've got a 15 month old......

Eventually it WILL quiet down, then you'll be wondering what to do with yourself every night and have to go upstairs occassionally to check to see if your kids are acutally IN THE HOUSE with you cause you haven't seen them in days! tehehe

I only worked 20 hours a week through those years and I generally put more money in my GAS TANK than I actually made, sigh

I would think THIS stress would keep your mind off the DRESS STRESS anyway?!

(I did limit activities to some degree, it just got too crazy)


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I am the same way! I want my kids to do activities and they love it but it just seems to drag on and on. I think the biggest reason for me is the I have 5 kids and have been doing the sports thing since 1993. And this year I have 4 kids in baseball. My soon to be 16 year old has baseball games every Saturday and Sunday and practice at night during the week. My 6 year old triplets has a game every Saturday and will have some sometimes at night during the week with a practice at night during the week as well. My husband helps on weekends but I just don't have the energy to do it all anymore. I feel bad sometimes that I may miss some games for various reasons but it's just so much. We've recently moved back to PA and we're still in boxes after a month and a half! I would love to sleep in on a weekend but with 2 baseball games every Saturday and one on Sunday when do we catch a break?

Unless they have a rule, it's ok to drop your child off for practices. A lot of parents do it. I do that with my older son as I'm just not in the mood to watch the 6 year olds run around and play when it's chilly out so I take him home and come back in an hour. I wouldn't have a problem doing that with my triplets either but Dad is usually here to take them for practices.

As long as you're taking them to their practices and games and giving them an opportunity to experience things don't worry about how you feel. You're tired! Just keep a smile on for them and then go sit down. We make frozen pizza when we have things going on at night and bathe the kids while it's baking. Or you can do crock pot meals ahead so it's ready when you get home. Less work for us!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from Chicago on

Since your a work at home mom you could throw something in the crockpot for dinner on soccer nights. and you should pick her up at school not wait for the bus. it will give you that extra couple minutes your daughter needs to be ready to move on to the next activity. or you should change leagues one that does the stuff either later in the evening or on the weekend. its not fair for your kids to be made to feel like your driving them back and forth is a burden. and whether you say it outright to them or not your heavy sighing (which is coming through your post loud and clear) is going to be very visible to them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I am so spoiled when it comes to practice and games! Our coaches and moms rock! They are so fun and have become almost like family. All of our girls get along great and there is a playground for my two year old to go crazy on. It also helps that we take turns bringing beer. lol.
Oh, and our girls kick butt!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Make friends with other parents on the soccer team and carpool. We do this a lot, ds-9 is on an academy soccer team and games are over an hour from our house, practices are 25 minutes away. We frequently carpool to practices. Last weekend dd-7 had a championship soccer game at the same time as ds's soccer game so we sent him with a teammate; usually we divide and conquer, dh takes dd, I take ds.

Have each child choose 1 sport, and only 1 sport, at a time. You need to enforce this and get a handle on it now, because it will only get worse when you have 3 kids in sports. Figure out a way for dad to be involved. Find a sport he can champion (golf maybe) and can take the kids to while you get a break. My dh travels & works crazy hours, but he knows he is responsible for 90% of dd's games (I do most practices) and he adjusts his schedule accordingly.

We have practice, one kid or the other, 5 nights a week. The crock pot is my friend. Also one pan dinners you can prep then throw in the oven and have it bake while you are out so you can come home to dinner ready. is a great resource for menu planning, we use it a lot.

ETA - I WAHM too, so I fully understand the challenges you face with not enough hours in the day. When I'm feeling really overwhelmed I make a quick list of my daily time wasters and eliminate 1 or 2, usually gives me enough time to cross something off my list for the day.

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answers from Detroit on

Get through the season, then if they get signed up for anything else, pay attention to the schedule and try to make sure it's doable. It's hard when you have multiple kids and you might have to draw the line somewhere but if your kids are having fun and enjoying themselves and learning life skills, that's what it is all about. Get to know some of the other parents better so maybe you can help each other out down the road.

My stepsons wanted to do various sports and activities, but they either ended up quitting shortly into it, and their mom was not crazy about the time commitments either, so she either let them quit, or didn't sign them up in the first place. Now they are in high school and are not involved in anything and keep getting caught by their mom smoking pot. My point being is that sometimes having them involved in sports or whatever has pay-offs that you might not see right away. Maybe if DH's ex kept them in karate, or got them into Boy Scouts, or didn't let them keep quitting track and cross country, things would be different for them today.

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answers from Columbus on

Oh R., I feeeeeel your pain. My oldest is 12, and has been in sports since he was in kindergarten. I have two more, who have also been in sports/activities. There are times in the year when we are gone EVERY SINGLE NIGHT of the week. Then, there are games, etc on the weekends.

I admit to wishing my kids would decide to not go out for something, so we could have a break. That won't EVER happen with my oldest. Since, my 10yr old has decided he's not really a sports person, he'd doing guitar every other week. That's better, but we are still all over the place for the others. You don't want them to miss out, but geezie petes, it gets crazy.

Couple of things- Keep a "play tote" in the car for your other kids. It's more fun for them to have something to do when you have to sit and watch practice. Also, have snacks all ready in your tote (you will have to change them out once the weather gets hot- I learned that the hard way...ew). Yes, you still go home and make dinner, but kids are hungry when they get home and need a little something. I agree completely with the crockpot. Especially during football season, that's almost ALL I cook with! has great crock recipes.

Initiate a conversation with the other parents. They won't offer to help, if they don't know you need it. I have been a SAHM for 12+years. I was MORE than happy to grab kids and get them to and from practices and games if I knew parents needed the help. Now, I will be working part-time and I'm going to have to cash in some of my cards, to get some help with activities myself. Ugh. Also, as your child gets older, you will find that you will become more comfortable with dropping her off at an activity and being able to go home inbetween- maybe not for awhile, but eventually. We do that with my oldest and as long as we get to most games, he's out there to play and doesn't care if we're there for all the practices. This is where it will come in handy to get to know the other parents, too. There are several families that we are all each other's "emergency contacts". If anyone isn't there, we all have each others back - or their kid's backs:)

More on the other parents......because neither my hubby or I grew up here, and moved once our kids were in school- we had to make friends as adults. Our closest friends are our kids' friend's parents. This is our social life. Football games, summer baseball and even cub scouts became the catylist for my hubby to become good friends with another dad. You really bond when you are sitting at a baseball tournament, in 33 degree weather, watching your son's team play in SLEET, while huddled in blankets with only your eyes peeking out. On Mother's Day. Funny today, but not so much, then! LOL!

Do not feel guilty. We have to do so much coordinating and running around as parents. It IS stressful. Especially when you have little ones. We had a surprise once my youngest was 7. This little girl has spent so much time in our vehicle because we are always driving around to these things. She has suffered no ill-effects. But, it is harder with her to contend with. This is why during this baseball season, I drive my oldest to the coach's house. He takes him to practice and I go pick him up afterwards at coach's. This way, coach doesn't have to go out of his way to bring him home (not that he wouldn't-m he offered, it's just my own guilt). I don't have to drag my toddler to each and every practice. I realize at age 7, your daughter would probably want you to be there. Even when you ARE there, you can't see everything. You are dealing with a 5 yr old and a toddler, too!

I may feel a little wary of having a young person drive my kid, but I would definitely be ok with asking her/him to sit at the house with my 5 yr old and 18 month old, while I could go watch the practice/game! That might take a little of the stress off!

Try to make it an "outing". Bring a trike/bike if the terrain allows. Paper, pencils, coloring books...more fun for all of you.

*Once, when I had my three little kids (had 3 in 3 years) in a shopping cart at Target. A woman came up to me and told me that I thought it was hard NOW, just wait until they get older. I refrained from choking the woman, because I thought she couldn't have been more wrong. It was very hard. I couldn't imagine it any harder. But, it does get harder - in different ways. You aren't dealing with the baby stuff so much, but it's the running around that will become the new challenge. I cannot stress enough asking for help from the other parents. Or, accept the nightly grind and try to find ways of making it not such a burden, but a fun event.

Good luck to you!!! :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi R., first of all, you shouldn't feel guilty -- what you are feeling is normal. Having been there and also being a WAHM -- a couple of tips that might help. 1.) make dinner easy on those days -- frozen pizza, or takeout, or do a recipe that you can put in the oven early in the day and when you get home, just make a salad. I have never had a crockpot, but Moms swear by it for just that reason -- you put everything in in the a.m. and by dinnertime, all you have to do is serve. 2.) it will actually get easier -- you will have more activities to run around to, but when the kids are older, it's not so stressful. They don't fuss as much and you don't have to keep your eyes on them every second to make sure they don't take off exploring or do something dangerous. I actually take a book to my daughter's ballet class now, as well as my son and his PSP. It's actually relax, quiet time. My son rides horses and my daughter runs around the facility looking for four-leafed clovers or talking my ear off. In other words, now that they are older, their activities are actually kind of relaxing. 3.) it's actually great when both the kids want to do the SAME activity at the SAME place at the SAME time -- two for one so to speak. 4.) you'll enjoy the activities more when the kids are older and you are watching them do something they love and seeing them succeed.

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answers from Washington DC on

7 seems a little young for 3x/week. Are there other options in your town? In our area we have YMCA sports programs for this age that meet only once a week, usually on Saturdays. Maybe you can check into this and this way on weekends your boyfriend can help out, too. It does get very tiring, especially with a baby. Once a week is just fun!



answers from Salt Lake City on

seriously get over it I have been running to and from practices and games for 9 years and have about 9 more years to go I have been up at 5 am saturday morning to drive 2 hours to a football game in a blizzard. and your once a week soccer practice is a burden? Really?

IF you are rushed for dinner make something before you leave or on the weekend that you can throw in the oven and it is ready when you get home.

Take it as a break from the apparently overwhelming stress of everyday- enjoy outside play with your kids if you are being a pain about it your daughter is not enjoying it.



answers from Washington DC on

I think most parents feel overwhelmed these days. Can you try preparing larger meals some days, and having left-overs on soccer nights? Or, prepare dinner in the afternoon so you just have to heat it up when you get home from soccer? Or maybe have something in the crockpot? Life is a juggling act, that's for sure. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

My kids are 9 and 11 and my 9 year old is involved 6 days a week with dance and cheer. My 11 year old's schedule is more flexible at least with his activities. On top of that I am home schooling this year. Can you make some dinners ahead of time for the soccer nights? And keep in mind dinner can be sub night (home made) or if your family likes breakfast foods what about eggs, etc? Crock pot cooking is also a great option. Maybe you can pick up your kids from school instead of having them ride the bus home to get them to practice on time?



answers from Norfolk on

one idea is to tell the school that you will be picking your daughter up from school on soccer days. our school has kiss and ride where they take the kids to the gym after school is over and parents drive up and teachers call them out when the parent gets there so that the mom doesnt have to get out of her car. at least then you wont be late for soccer.

by the way 3 times a week for practice is a bit much at her age. i'd pick one or two and say sorry we can't be here for the other.



answers from Minneapolis on

I was going to suggest you pick up your daughter on at school on soccer days, but I just read your reply that you still would not make it there until after 4. If it's just logistically impossible for her to be on time due to school dismissal, just tell the coach, she can't be here until 4:10, or whatever. And then let it go. Stop rushing around, and accept it is OK for her to be late. You can't take her out of school early for sports practice, so the coach and your daughter will just have to deal with it. Stop rushing the kids and racing, and accept it is OK to be a little late, it is the best you can do.

Also, you do not have to stay at her practices. I think a lot of parents like to stay and watch, or feel like they have to stay, but you really don't have to, just because some Moms stay. You can drop off and pick up. You should get to know some other Moms of kids in her activities to share drop off/pick up duties. It really helps a lot.

It also helps sometimes if you can line up some kind of neighbor care or playdate or something for the younger sibs occaisonally so they don't have to come along to all the soccer runs. Often unavoidable, I know, but it can be a nice break.

Also, every volleyball game night at our house, I pick up Subway sandwiches in the afternoon and stick them in the fridge to bring out before we all rush off to the game. My kids look forward to this treat, and I find it eases my stress a great deal not having to worry about what to have for dinner and making time to prepare it.


answers from Dover on

I see both sides here. I realize you're feeling over-worked & way stressed out. You & your fiance both work, but you're at home & he's not which leaves you with carrying the brunt of the remaining duties of running a household and raising children. A big part of that is just life, we're women, some of us super-women, most of us just regular women. What that means is we are generally much more organized and patient than men. It's not always that way, but for the most part it's the plain & simple truth.

I work full-time outside of the home. I leave the house at 7am & get home at 5pm. My husband also works full-time leaving at 630am and if there are no last minute issues at his job or overtime assignments already lined up, then he is home by 430, but that is extremely rare which means I'm it.

Like some of the other mom's have said, I too have been carting my kids around for a few years to activities & have several years left to go. I wouldn't wager to guess how many days a week your kids' activities take up your time because I know for 1 hiphop class for a 10 year old & 1 baseball season for an 11 year old I'm busy not only every single Saturday afternoon for 5 months, but also 3 evenings a week, sometimes from 5-8pm, sometimes from 6-10pm. It's not fair & it's not fun for everyone in the family, but I've decided to have both kids play 1 instrument & have 1 physical activity as well at a time, be it baseball, football, soccer, dance, whatever.

Organization is key here I think. Before I leave the house in the morning I tell everyone in the house what the plan is for that evening so we're all on the same page. Like one of the other Mama's said, meal-planning is a huge help. I do NOT do all of my weekly cooking on the weekends, but I do all of my grocery shopping & laundry then. We build leftover nights into our weekly rotation so I don't have/need to cook every day. We also do pizza or big salads at least once a week which are quick & easy.

I love to see my son play baseball (when the weather is good) but I despise to watch practices so I drop him off, then come back & get him. I go to every parents night offered at my daughter's dance school and obviously look forward to recitals, but overall I do not enjoy the kids' activities. They both play instruments but go to different schools so the band concerts I have to go to seem never-ending & each one kind of makes me feel like my ears are bleeding by the end.

Think of it as you paying your Mama Dues. We all do it, not because we get enjoyment from the activity outselves, but because it's giving enjoyment & enrichment to our children. These days won't last forever.

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