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Thanks to an uplifting slice of satire posted on CNN today, I know I’m not the only parent who feels like maintaining my kids’ extracurricular activities is tantamount to a high-stakes game of Twister.

Before long, we’re all panting and begging for mercy like a pair grotesquely misshapen parent-pretzels.

In the piece (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2011/LIVING/03/22/kids NULL.soccer NULL.mom NULL.3 NULL.kids/index NULL.html?hpt=T2), author, Jennifer Eyre White (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2011/LIVING/03/22/kids NULL.soccer NULL.mom NULL.3 NULL.kids/index NULL.html?hpt=T2) ruefully remembers “swearing” with her husband that they would never be “over-scheduled” parents.

But that was BC (Before Children). Now, apparently, they’re doing a swearing of a different kind.

“How are we supposed to get three kids to three separate games, plus all the practices?” Eyre White writes.

“You really need three parents, but I’m thinking maybe a lover would be willing to do it. In exchange for sex.”

Of course, this is just a red herring. Everyone knows that by the time a mom’s third kid is old enough to refuse soccer, she’s got about as much sex appeal as a bleating Scottish bagpipe at a teen rave.

Worse, when you become a mom in midlife, what happens to sexual allure after a few years is akin to the aftermath of serving time on a chain gang.

Then, Eyre White goes on to mention the good ole days when kids played out in “the neighborhood”, instead of being taxied to their activities like young mandarins in rickshaws made of gold (Because, these days, that’s what the gas is worth—liquid gold).

Now, however, if she is to be believed, the neighborhood is a wasteland, the only sound coming from a few lonely crickets.

In my book, Eyre White only scraped the surface of this subject with her writer’s quill.

The fact is that we are reasonable people living unreasonable lives.

Our only faux pas in the protocols of parenting is the sheer idiocy of our over-achieving, perfectionist standards for ourselves, much less our children.

What happened in the last 30 years? I suddenly woke up and the kids were running the ranch.

In the new millennium, it’s the kids setting the pace of our lives.  Therein lies the rub.

It’s like this: A few months ago, I thought we had it rough. We were driving almost 3 hours on weekdays just to ferry our children to 2 different schools.

Homework is an hour and half a night and—with fresh respect for homeschooling mothers who are clearly on a mission from God—I’ve learned to kiss goodbye trying to make dinner at the same time.

Friday night was ice hockey practice. Saturday morning was ballet and guitar, topped off with an evening hockey game.

Sunday was once a day of rest.

And then, it got worse. At Chez Flower Power Mom, it had once been a day of crash and gasp. But that, yes THAT, was until Sunday school entered the frame.

Now it’s fun and games on the Mom & Pop hamster wheel 24/7.

And who’s to blame for that? Is it S-O-C-I-E-T-Y? Is it parental peer pressure to make our kids the greatest, the fastest, and the bestest in the whole wide world?

Or is it us being just plain stupid? Seriously. Where’s the finish line? Who’s setting the pace? Is anyone of us having fun anymore?

When was the last time any of us stopped to smell the parental peonies?

Most of the moms I talk to—the young ones, you know, the ones who had kids at the correctly youthful age—tell me how tired they are.

They’re young and they’re tired.

Moms and Dads are lined up the end of each day with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, panting like old farts with a two-pack a day habit after a day of competing in wheelchair sprints at the Special Olympics.

But that’s not the funny part. THIS is the funny part.

The truth is quite simple. No one is jamming our fingers in the electric sockets and holding them there.

No one, that is, but us. And just like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall, I bet it’ll feel really good if we stop.

Notes for this blog:

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) (www.flowerpowermom.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/)), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.

Article by Jennifer Eyre White, CNN, 22nd March 2011:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/22/kids.soccer.mom.3.kids/index.html?hpt=T2 (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2011/LIVING/03/22/kids NULL.soccer NULL.mom NULL.3 NULL.kids/index NULL.html?hpt=T2)

3 Responses to The Midlife Parent Trap

  1. Merri Ann (http://www NULL.over40momadventures NULL.blogspot NULL.com) says:

    Yes, exactly! I’ve been going on and on about this to everyone who will listen … Why are so many parents doing this? None of them have a good answer.

    My kids are now 5, 4, & 4. We are searching for activities that don’t require our weekends to be committed. As older parents, I think we have a greater respect for just how short our time with our kids will be … the last 5 years for me has been like a bolt of lightening. We want our weekends to be family time … memory building time.

    The one thing I know for certain … family time and education will come before anything else. I think I’m really well adjusted and a fairly social person … and *gasp* I never played a team sport until I was 30 (unless you can count recess baseball at school).

    What ever happened to weekend camping, hiking, diving, scuba, riding horses … ?

  2. PragmaticMom (http://PragmaticMom NULL.com) says:

    I thought that CNN post was funny too. We have 3 kids playing soccer (2 are travel soccer) and our solution is the carpool! Also, combining dog walk with waiting at soccer practice.

    The spring and fall are always crazy with the extra soccer stuff but it’s so great for the kids to learn teamwork, get running around time, and making new friends.

  3. pomomama (http://pomomama NULL.com) says:

    It’s peer pressure, and that never-silenced nagging worry of not being a good enough parent.

    Amy Wilson’s “When Did I Get Like This?” mulls it over quite well (if you can fit time in to read it).

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