No. I will not bring a dozen cookies. (a.k.a. “the drowning of mothers”)
Thursday, May 18, 2017 by {darlene}

OK, fair warning.I have been cooking up this post for a LONG time.

You see, I am a mom of three lovely children.

I homeschool them and also have a work gig that I run mostly online. I run my kids around to a variety of activities and events. I am a wife. And a daughter. And a sister. And a friend. I run myself around trying to juggle our household and make sure my gray roots don’t get too out of hand. You get the picture.

I want the world for my kids.

You get that, right? You may feel the very same way.

I want my kids to get a great education. I want them to have a relationship with God and walk with Him. I want them to love and be kind to their siblings. I want them to be well-rounded and have lots of experiences. I would love for them to see parts of the world and have their horizons opened before them. I want them to know scripture. I want them to have enthusiasm and optimism and a thirst for life. I want them to learn a good work ethic and be a team player. I want them to think outside the box and know how to work inside of it too. I want them to try soccer, and ballet, and piano. I want them to have some time on their hands, from time to time. I want them to experience boredom and for them to creatively work their way out of it.

But I do NOT care if they have a dozen cookies at their next concert gathering.

And, I do not care if they have a 3 course snack at every. single. soccer. practice.

And, I do not care if they have a fully painted, life-like backdrop for their class presentation.

And, I do not care if they have yet another ‘successful’ fund raiser, taking up 38 hours out of our week.

And, I do not care if they make it to state champs at age 7 after 98 hours of practice this week alone, not including the 10 summer camps they had to do to qualify.

And I do not care if they build the Roman colosseum using only egg noodles and ear wax.

And, I do not care if my young ballerina has a required 40 piece makeup set, curated with exact specifications.

 

This drowning-of-mothers….

has GOT. TO. STOP.

 

Why is that ‘participation’ has become a life sentence down the Snack-Sign-Up-Rabit-Hole? When… How did this happen? I GET that ‘it takes a village,’ but WHY is the village trying to build the Taj Mahal with 9 year olds and their moms?

 

PLEASE, please do not ask me for a dozen cookies.

Because, my tween just back-talked me… and I need to have time to sit with him and teach him about life and respect and how I love him no matter what.

PLEASE, please do not ask me for a dozen cookies.

Because my middle child is sensitive, and he needs time to walk with me in the back yard, at a slow pace.

PLEASE, please do not ask me for a dozen cookies.

Because my three year wants braids…  and braids take time, and I really want to say yes while she is still asking me.

PLEASE, please do not ask me for a dozen cookies.

Because my family needs home cooked meals and slow moments and bedtime stories. And cookies.

 

Do not ask me for a dozen cookies. Because I am a mother. And a wife. And a daughter. And that “loving well” thing??? Well, that takes time…

bake a dozen cookies drowning of mothers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Author’s Note: We are personally fortunate to have found some lower pressure groups for our kids.  We have had to be very mindful in our search about how much of a “job” it will be for our family to participate. This article is not about moms exercising their right to say “no,” but rather it is about how ridiculous and out-of-proportion the pressures and demands and extra commitments of extra-curricular activities have become.  I am, fortunately, good at drawing the line for my family… and we still get asked to do much “stuff.” Oh, and also, this is not about cookies, just in case you have not figured that out.
 

 

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  • Oh wow! I love every bit of this! My daughter is in public school and these are some of the reasons we will be homeschooling starting next year. She’s my miracle baby and is extremely emotional and needs her mommy time. All of what you said couldn’t be more true! Thank you for putting it into words, Darlene!

    • From my observations, at least in our area, homeschooling does make this epidemic a little better because it puts you back in the drivers’ seat for your family. However, we still have SO much of this in our life. From soccer, ballet, co-ops… the list goes on. It all adds up, and it means tired moms and neglected children. And for what?
      Thanks for your comment, Nicole!

  • YES YES YES!!! you hit the nail on the head with exactly how i feel!

  • Amen! I hear you and could not agree more! We are drowning! This post helped put it all in perspective. Thank you!

  • I am not alone! I have been a mama for 31 years, have 5 children with two 16 year olds at home. They are gifted athletes and musicians as well as humble and kind. They attend public school and at the start of their freshman year we were overwhelmed with the fundraising nonsense, the constant requests for donations, etc. My husband and I drafted a letter stating we would not be allowing our two to bug everyone breathing to buy anything. We stated we would support our children and the bands and teams with our attendance and money straight up, as this brings in more than a fundraiser, since they only get a small portion of the profit. Our two are now going into their Jr. year and no one bugs us, yet they know we are generous in other ways and the most supportive parents, only missing one event in two years and representing for children whose parents cannot attend, with rides and encouragement! This was not a decision made lightly-we did not want to embarrass our children, but we knew God would show favor in obedience, which indeed is the case! Thank you for sharing this and for being a great mama!

  • Amen and amen! Momma of 6 who homeschooled for 13 years here. Now my youngest 4 are in school. I’ve been in the thick of what you’re describing for 20 years. 3rd-born is graduating HS next week and this week is “senior” week at his small Christian school where committees of the parents have been volunteered to cover all the treats for them for the week- coffee shop day, locker treats…today was beach party day (before their senior trip to the beach for a week) and I forked over $20 to contribute to box lunches for them, brought the music and beach chairs and corn hole. (you didn’t even mention the nickel and diming us to death!) That was in lieu of volunteering at the yougest’s field day today and after being volunteered for a main and side dish for the sports banquet (3rd this year) last night. And while he’s gone to the beach, I have to make the graduation display board of his life. That’s just THIS cotton-pickin’ week! My parents did none of this stuff! Aye yi yi!! How have we gotten here??

  • THANK YOU!!! AMEN AMEN AMEN!!! It’s madness. Good old fashion madness! Thank you so much for this post! I may just print it to use it in the future as a reference for courage and the core of my mantra!

  • Well said it Darlene!! Thank you so much.

  • Amen! I love your words. And I am still using the mantra you mentioned a while back about putting the oxygen mask on oneself first!

  • Paula Moreshead

    This topic is something I’ve given thought to since “retiring” from my homeschooling job about 10 years ago. I started homeschooling in 1984, and my last of our five children finished in 2012. My husband and I invested ourselves completely in the lives and education of our children including all of the usual ie music lessons, sports, dance, 4-H, etc. I have no regrets, because thankfully, I have learned not to do that, but I personally feel that homeschoolers are as vulnerable if not more so than parents of children in school to the pressures of making sure that our children have all of the experiences and opportunities that we can provide. In hind sight, I seriously question why, when, and how we as a society have become so “child” centered, and I’m not sure that it is always for the best of our children, and the stress it places on parents is unrealistic and unhealthy. I wonder if children are actually happier and better adjusted when they don’t feel they are the center of the universe. So, I agree with not baking the cookies and appreciate that you raised the subject. Thanks!

  • I totally agree. However, just make sure you don’t eat the cookies, nor allow your children to, when they are provided. It goes both ways.

  • Yes!! I hate the baseball snacks. If we all want to take turns cooking dinner for the whole team, I’d be on board with that but they don’t need a fruit snack and koolaid at 7pm when their game is over. They need dinner and bed! I hate having to buy something for a whole team that I don’t want my child eating in the first place.

  • Completely agree! We purpose to keep a slower pace of life (when possible) and have really pulled back from a lot of activities this year so we can meet this goal. It has truly been a blessing! Both of our homeschooled, teenage children have also decided not to participate in a co-op next year because they want more time for field trips and impromptu fun (think bikes rides, board games and trips to Central Market). :-) This is all per their request. I am looking forward to it!

  • One more thing…I LOVED the book “The Best Yes” by Lisa Terkeurst. It directly addresses this topic. The subtitle is “making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands”. Highly recommend!

  • Becky Waugaman

    I hear you and understand the reality of our cultural excess in so many kid’s activities. I’ve faced it for many years as a mom myself.

    Here’s a few ways I’ve addressed it:

    I’ve chosen to limit activities my child is in. I’ve chosen specific studios because of how they run. (There are dance studios that you don’t need 42 types of make-up – go out and find one!)
    I’ve simplified snack requests. Who cares if you bring a bag of apples even if they asked for a three course snack? No one. That’s how you lead yourself and your kids and set an example of how to live in healthy community.

    Fighting cultural excess by saying “no” when asked to contribute doesn’t seem to be the best solution to me. These activities are for community and team-building and giving is what makes it that.

    I’ve found a happy rhythm is possible and hope you do too!

    • This is a most amazing and encouraging comment! Thank you for your great ideas!! Sometimes finding a solution is the best and even, sometimes, having the courage to say, “no, that does not work for me right now,” is also the best solution.

      If I were a mom who didn’t care about contributing, I would have far less of a struggle. I think it is really important for us to find out how we can address this well, but I also think some organizations need to take a good look at what they are asking of families. It has gotten weirdly over-the-top out there!!!

      I just knew this topic needed to be brought to the table. I LOVE your wise comment, and you give me courage and great ideas!

  • Well said. SO glad I don’t deal with this anymore. As someone recently retired from a public school system, my perspective may a little different regarding some areas. But I think most of us want our children to have activities and encourage them to participate in things….within reason! Certain activities are really draining on parents, both time wise and financially, such as sports and band….never ending! And there is a certain amount of guilt involved if you don’t want to participate in fundraisers! There always seem to be a few parents who don’t seem to mind, who raise a lot of money and that would add to my guilt! Thank goodness our boys didn’t get involved in traveling sports teams, which are ridiculously expensive and time consuming. Somehow, they managed to excel without them….then there are the summer camps! In HS sports, even our Spring Breaks would involve a tournament! I don’t think there is an easy answer so you just have to do what works for you and find some balance. Say “no” when necessary, without guilt…your children should understand, or let them bake the cookies! They know you support them but need to know that can’t do everything. I’m convinced that children who stay focused and involved in things they enjoy usually stay out of trouble, so that should be a comfort.

  • I loved this. I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one struggling in this balance between being part of life, but loving my family and doing what is best for them.
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

  • Kate@CentsationalGirl

    Love this SO much Darlene! You are a treasure and I can tell from your words an AMAZING mom. Thank you for sharing this!
    xo
    Kate

  • Here, here!! I would also add, please don’t ask any moms of littles to be part of the church nursery schedule. The ONE day where she might have ONE hour, and you want her to do what?

    Our kids have only had the occasional extra-curricular activity because we just couldn’t stand the pressures that would come with signing up for those things.

  • This was so so good, thanks! You said so well what I’ve been trying to express, and am working out on my blog that I started recently.
    I need community and want to be involved and contribute, but I must find time for those special parenting moments with each of my 4 boys (age 7 to 9 months) just like what you were saying. That is so important. And I do feel like I’m drowning, even as I’ve really tried to scale back our commitments to find more room and get more margin in our lives, time to go slower and have quality time as a family. I just read a great book about Margin, I’m trying to incorporate some of the ideas.
    How do you pick which organizations to be part of?

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