Do We Overbook Ourselves and Our Kids?

In the running world it’s called bonking. In motherhood it’s called overbooking. The end result is the same: exhaustion.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the endless stream of company and chaos (albeit, self-imposed) affected my milk supply. Luckily I got it back up by putting brakes on the crazy. Things are much more calm around here lately.

I  started to think about why I pushed myself to such a ridiculous point and to to thinking: does it seem like our generation of moms feel the need to constantly get out and “do” more than previous generations? My mother-in-law, my aunt, and countless older moms have teased me about how much Fia and I were on the go the first two years. Part of it was living in an apartment in Brooklyn. You’ll go stir crazy if you don’t get outside. Part of it was the need to connect to other moms. But is there another part in our technologically-obsessed, plugged-in culture that makes us incapable of sitting at home? Or god forbid, letting our children entertain themselves?

Recently I was feeling guilty for not taking Emmett to the “Mommy and Me” movies. Every week in LA a couple of the movie theaters show a new release for moms.  You bring your babies. Diaper changes, crying and breastfeeding are the norm. No one cares because you’re all in the same boat. I did it when Fia was 3 months old (we were out here for a brief stretch). Her first movie was “Shutter Island.” Okay, now read the first sentence of this paragraph again. Guilty? For Emmett? He gets no benefit from the movies. It’s purely for me.

Could  the play date and having to ”do” something with the kids end up being harmful? Does it gear them up to think they ”have” to be entertained or go somewhere? Instead should we be teaching them calm and quiet? To play with themselves? Commune in nature?  My aunt thinks so. She feels that the drive in this generation of moms will lead to some uncontrollable kids/tweens/teens who don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t “doing.”  As she put it, “Being able to be alone with yourself, entertain yourself, read, etc., is paramount to becoming a well balanced, non-hyperactive teen and adult.”

Are we selfish in wanting to see movies and do yoga while dragging our babies along for the ride in the guise of “mommy and me” classes?  Or are we helping ourselves get through motherhood by creating our own villages? If it’s the latter, they are very activity-centered villages. At least mine always have been.

I’m sure the ability to text a friend and get an instant response contributes to the ease of meeting up. Before the age of email and cell phones, it may have been different by default, not choice. But is this the right choice for us and our kids? I don’t know. I think it’s something to ponder.

Thoughts anyone?

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  1. [...] Do we overbook ourselves and our children? ( [...]

  2. by Babs Hogan

    On May 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    A walk in the park is more meaningful than taking a child to a movie. You can at least talk with them along the way. One on one time is best in a non-chaotic environment. Yes, I think moms are overbooking. Some of my favorite memories are when I took my son to the local high school track and pushed him in a stroller around and around. When he slept, I ran up and down the bleachers.

  3. by Amber Manzur

    On May 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I am a new mom, to a six week old baby. I am also young, 22, so half of my life everything has been fast paced, with technology improving every year. However, I do remember needing to memorize a friends phone number if I wanted to call them frequently, but as time has gone on everything seems to be available at yor fingertips. For instance I just bought my baby sling tonight on my iPhone while nursing, with expected delivery date to be Friday. I bought the sling not just because of my beliefs of how it might help my babies development, but also because I can conviently tote him around everywhere. Prior to delivery, I was an extremely busy person with a full time job, full time school, a husband, and a very nice social life. I thought I might be bored with just caring for a baby. I soon came to realize caring for a baby was a huge job! But instead of that being enough, I found myself looking for mommy and me classes by the fourth week of my little guys life. A lot of it is to meet other moms because I am new to this state and meeting friends would be great; that is if i can remember how to talk to other adults. But where do you draw the line? When does it become to much?

  4. by ntathu allen

    On May 24, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Good point…where do we draw the line between finding and teaching ourselves and children the art of being still and silent and the joy of being with good company and interacting with friends. By design we are human beings not human doings so it is a constant flow of being and doing we need to feel fulfilled and happy.

  5. by Sarah HI

    On May 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I think that those first few years of motherhood are so hard that we, moms, need to get out of the isolation of it and get some support. That often comes in the form of “mommy and me” or numerous playdates. Now that my child is in preschool and I’m working part time, I have little desire to do those things so we have MORE downtime, even though in some ways we are busier. (I didn’t work when she was small, but I did go nuts.)

  6. by Paula

    On May 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I realized that we go out too much at the weekend when my 5yr old begged to stay at home on Memorial Monday and just play with his lego. We actually organize his life way less than some of his friends – he only does one sport and rarely has playdates – as we do like to spend time at home reading books and playing. He’s in full time daycare so his socializing needs are already met.
    I love his imagination, and I’ve really seen it develop during unstructured play.
    Great article.

  7. by Casey W

    On May 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I constantly feel exhausted, however some might say im overbooking but truly I feel like a busy person. I started an at home daycare & watch two kids. G is 7 and only comes from 6:15-7:15 Monday thru Friday. T is almost 2 & comes M,Th, & F. In December we took temp guardianship of a friends kids so they are with us 24/7. On Wednesdays, D who is 2,has a speech teacher come. & Monday & Fridays, A whos 3, goes to EI for 1/2 days. Now let’s not forget my kids, M is 4 & she goes to prek m-f full days. X is 18m & the only boy. X & D are my home body babies. M & A have gymnastics on Tuesday nights. Really not too complicated. We don’t run off to mom & me classes, the park, library, store or a friends house when we’ve been home for a day, yes we get a little stir crazy at times but they have everything they need right here at home … Me on the other hand would love a nanny! Lol I’m constantly cleaning, playing or cooking.

  8. by Ivy B

    On May 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I’m a mom of a 9 month old (tomorrow) and I find that we get so busy during the week – I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I’m ready for one of my obligations to end to free up another day in our week.
    I think the baby has gotten so used to it that she’s extra fussy when we’re at home – and the last week and a half have been worse while we’re recovering from a cold … we’ve been cooped up and she’s over it lol.
    She’s super sociable though so I try to keep her somewhat busy because she’s so friendly.
    I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong here. She needs her socialization as well as learning to entertain herself – maybe a balance of a couple things a week?

  9. by Michelle

    On May 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    For us, I think living an hour away from the city helps. It’s just not worth the gas to go into town every day for some function or another, and I think it’s important for my son to stay home a lot. He needs his naps, routine, healthy lunches, etc., which is all a bit harder when we’re on-the-go. That being said, he and I had a FABULOUS day in the city two days ago, gone from home for 10 hours, and he did terrific. Last night we went to the circus, but we skipped story time at the library earlier in the day so that he could get a good AM nap to stay up late for the show… it’s all a balancing act, and I always want to be sure he gets enough naps so that he doesn’t get sick. I know my immune system plummets when I don’t get enough rest – probably the same for him. We pick and choose which activities he’ll benefit from the most.

  10. by Lora Carroll

    On May 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks Jill. I like your honest and candid discussion about this important topic. Moms are pushing themselves too hard to do too much; we need to remember that kids need to down time.

    Your article inspired me to write my own current post. I hope that you check it out and let me know what you think. :)

  11. by Michelle W

    On May 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I was a child of the 70′s. Kids that didn’t get to interact with other kids tended to be selfish narcissistic brats. Add in antisocial, inability to share and you have a recipe for disaster. THIS is why we as Mom’s try to socialize our kids early. Also, keep in mind that humans are social animals, we live in packs/clusters for a reason. We learn from each other, we learn how to behave as part of a pack only when we are exposed to it. Mommy movies, however are NOT a way to socialize. Baby Gym’s such as Gymboree, My Gym, etc, are a fantastic way to teach your little one early. My daughter is 1 now, she took the initiative to learn to crawl by watching other babies crawl. She’s motivated to walk because all of her friends are now walking. She shares toys willingly and never cries when you take one from her. In my opinion, these are great qualities for an only child to display at 12 months old.

  12. by Jessica

    On May 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I think we do overbook as a society. I overheard a mom say that she plans a playdate for her daughter every weekend. Not just one of the days, all of them. Parents and kids are constantly on the go and I can’t see how that helps them. Childhood should be fun and a little carefree. They will be too busy all too soon, I think we should let them be kids while they can.