In our house, sports are a big deal. A really big deal.
I grew up playing both tennis and softball competitively, and M loves and excels at just about any game involving a ball. Both boys have shown athletic promise (such that they’ll be engaged and competent, not professional athletes). And M and the boys already gather round the TV regularly to watch their favorite teams and attend a few games.
As a kid and throughout high school, my parents carted my four sisters and me all across town (and to different states, for that matter) for tournaments and competitions. They should have painted their cars yellow and put lights on top to signify their roles as taxi drivers.
I enjoyed playing sports and more than appreciated all my parents gave up to give us the time, space and resources to excel in the sports of our choice. I know they sacrificed an immense amount of their own time and money on our behalf. I was really lucky.
As my boys approach the age of organized activities, quite frankly, I’m a bit nervous. While I know how much I appreciated what my parents did for me, my selfish millennial spirit is getting the best of me. I have limited interest in throwing every weekend and evening into an arena or onto a field.
Instead, I envision family dinners or weekend outings (in between school and friends, of course). I know all too well after my high school experience and that of my sisters that a real commitment to sports teams leaves little time for much else beyond school.
I’m not sure I’m ready for that.
Friends of mine with older children swear it’s not bad. They befriend other team parents, and the competitions and tournaments become social activities weaved in between games and matches. But isn’t it still a stressful and hectic schedule?
With this potentially selfish concern as a backdrop to my disdain for over-scheduling children, we’ve yet to sign up our children for any teams or other structured commitments. T took swimming lessons for a few months solely to gain comfort in the water, but we put the kabosh on those shortly after they became difficult and T no longer enjoyed them.
Not participating in any formal teams or lessons, we end up playing a lot of sports at home. M can rightfully take nearly all the credit for that. He never fails to find a way to turn any space, including our old 1300 square foot apartment in downtown Chicago, into a sports haven. Any hallway can become a hockey rink, a living room transforms into a baseball field. He makes up interesting games with nothing more than a tennis ball.
For now, sports is a really big deal in our house, but only as a family activity. We (which really means mostly M and the boys) play something almost every day.
With M traveling for work, I ended up playing tennis and hockey (despite the over-sized tennis ball and hockey stick) with J after school the other day. We own a fair amount of equipment and use it regularly, but we haven’t ventured into organized teams and associations just yet.
I’m sure that day will come, but I’m holding on to unstructured sports as long as I can. We already have enough on our calendars for now.
I also do my best to keep the boys clothes simple. Like my own closet, I shop responsibly for almost everything my boys wear. Most recently, we added some fall gear for the boys from Burt’s Bees Baby. All their items are made from 100% organic cotton, which means producers use far fewer synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that would otherwise end up in (among other places) our food and water.
Whether it be our closets, our calendars, or myriad other aspects of life, keeping things comfortable and simple can feel surprisingly elusive. It takes work to steer clear of the mental, emotional and physical junk and clutter that cascade into each day.
Albeit a small step, Burt’s Bees Baby is one easy way to curate a collection of more responsible outfits for your kiddos without sacrificing style. In addition to the organic cotton, I love that the pieces are simple and clean, not cluttered with characters and annoyingly cutesy phrases. For those of you with boys, you know simplicity is particularly hard to find. Does every shirt have to say “Mom’s Little Monster” or “Dad’s Mini MVP”?
If you’ve got little ones who need a fall refresh because they’ve outgrown everything from last season, stop by and check out the fall collection just released by Burt’s Bees Baby. Currently, they’re offering a 10% discount if you sign up for their newsletter. Not too shabby, and the leaves will be turning before we know it.