It’s early May and for my family, it’s not Mothers’ Day or my birthday (May 23rd!) that gets the most attention (sigh!), it’s the bane of our spring existence — baseball and softball season.
Well, I shouldn’t make it sound that awful. Truthfully, I enjoy watching my kids play, it’s just that it’s a seven-day-a-week sport and for us, it starts in mid-March and goes right thru to mid-July.
Growing up I remember my siblings and I playing sports throughout the week and also on Saturday, but I honestly can’t recall anything being scheduled on Sunday — that was always the sacred “family” day. My children and many of our Gansett Moms’ Council families don’t know what an “off” day is. Having practices, games, school events and birthday parties to attend on a Sunday is the norm, not the exception.
This week we discussed whether or not sports and other groups have gone too far in scheduling practices, games and such on the weekend, in particular on Sunday. It was an interesting mix of feedback, providing insightful views for both sides.
I think you probably guessed by my opening sentence — “the bane of our spring existence” — that I’m not a huge advocate for Sunday schedules.
Part of the reason is that my husband travels during the week, and we only see him on the weekends. Sunday nights are my least favorite time of the week because in the blink of an eye the weekend is gone and the craziness of the new week ahead is about to begin.
I realized a long time ago that I had two choices with the weekend / Sunday commitments — we could opt out of all these practices and games, and strictly keep it family time (like that would ever happen!), or we could make the most of the weekend by making sure we schedule in family time in addition to the other obligations we usually have each weekend.
We chose the latter and we try to get one family activity on the calendar each weekend that is non-sports or school related and if at all possible, we try to eat Sunday dinner together each week. It’s that simple, but it’s that important!
Diane Keane, mother of two sons and co-president of the NHS PTO, had a different view, one that truly opened my eyes to see weekend sports in a different light.
“Weekend sports for us are a godsend. Here are a few reasons:
- School sports practice every school day and some also on weekends. The teams that add that extra Saturday morning practice (track) usually make if fun for the kids and a way to add an extra day of training. The track coach holds an Ultimate Frisbee game, and the boys have a blast!
- Practices on the weekend (i.e. 9 a.m. track practice) get my teenager up and on the move early. He’s generally home and at the books before 11 a.m. This would NEVER happen if it were me saying, “Maybe you should get up a little before noon to do homework.”
- If additional practices and/or games for non-school sports were added to the school week, we wouldn’t get the family dinners that I hold so dear, nor would there be any time for homework.
- Games during the week (such as school sports) are nearly impossible for my husband to get to see. He has never missed a weekend game.
As they approach those trying teen years, especially boys, weekend sports become how we spend time with our kids. Without weekend sports, my son would spend the weekends with friends ‘hanging out’ and in his room doing homework on the computer. So actually, weekend sports end up being our family time.”
Nicole Zelenek, a stay-at-home mom of two and a Patch Blogger, loved the weekends growing up.
“Saturdays we slept in and played with our friends. On Sundays we had church and a family dinner with our grandparents and just ran around with cousins. Nowadays, it seems like Saturday and Sunday are part of the working week.
We are new to most sports and practices and games as Michael is only in kindergarten. I think it is important for us to go to church as a family and with a 6 and 3-year-old, that is hard enough. I don't like having to choose which one to do, church or sport. What is that teaching my children?
Michael, who doesn't mind missing church – typical 6 year-old – is going to think baseball and basketball are his way out of it. Not how I want him to associate the two things.
Both things, church and sports, teach us to have faith, believe, trust in our self, and respect one another. We all need that in our lives and I would hate to have to choose between the two.
I get that there has to be some things done on the weekends, but in my humble opinion, Sunday should be for family to use how they want.”
C.J. Tudino, a teaching assistant and mom of a high school student, recently discussed this situation with her own mom.
“She said on Saturdays she used to run around to all the various sports with my siblings and I like a lunatic, so I think the Saturday routine has been going on for a long time. I believe that Sunday, a time that used to be sacred for church and family, has developed into just another day to practice more or focus like the rest of the week. We as parents need a break, as well as the kids. In the end, I would like my child to look back on his childhood and teenage years as fun and not like a pressure cooker to excel in every area.”
Spending meaningful time together is an important element of strong families. Two national studies back up this idea by linking family activities and outings with fewer problem behaviors in both children and young adults.
Giving time is an important way of showing your families love and appreciation. A strong family finds that opportunities for quality time emerge from quantity time: the more time you spend together, the better chance you have of sharing quality experiences.
Eating meals together, talking about the events of the day, sharing joys and defeats, doing household chores together, and spending some evenings popping corn and watching movies are examples of shared activities.
Whether or not your family is scheduled on the weekends might not be the right question to ask. Perhaps a better one is, how do you find ways to spend quality time with them regardless of such commitments?
Do you designate one day on the weekend as family day or do you just fit things in around each other? We’d love your comments. If you have a question for our Moms’ Council, please e-mail me at CB091987@aol.com or send one to our editor, Stephen Greenwell at Stephen.Greenwell@patch.com.
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