For years, my kids have been the focus of my life. Even while I worked full time, I made being with my kids a priority, bringing work home and staying up late so I could attend a winter concert or a soccer game.
And about that soccer - while all of my kids played, my middle daughter played at the most competitive level. This meant weekends traveling to soccer games all around the area, plus out of town tournaments that consumed family vacations. She also had practice several days a week, meaning late or disrupted dinners. Though I coach recreational soccer, travel soccer took over all our lives.
As you can see in the accompanying photo, plenty of parents show up for soccer games. In fact, when I didn't show up, people would question me.
Now my kids are getting older; the oldest is a sophomore in college, and next fall, the middle daughter will start college and the youngest will go to high school. Though my kids still mean the world to me, I think that next year, my husband and I will have more free time to pursue our passions.
I have often crammed exercise into times that are convenient for my kids, going to the gym early in the morning or late at night. I truly hate exercising at these times, but I don’t have any other time. If I am not spending my weekends driving three hours to a soccer game, I can take long bicycle rides, and maybe even train for the marathon. I don’t know if I can actually run a marathon, but training may be enough.
2011 will also be the time when we go through our house, getting rid of long outgrown toys like a play kitchen that as been abandoned for years. The books that the girls no longer need can be donated to a local literacy program, but I want to keep the special children’s books that I read to my daughters before putting them to bed.
There is one small wrinkle in the plan. My soccer-playing daughter has friends in college and the parents would actually drive to college to see the soccer games! They went to games that were six or seven hours away. My daughter does plan to play soccer in college, but I have to put the kibosh on this weekend spent watching someone else have fun. I think we deserve a break.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network blogging program, for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.