Friday, April 13, 2007

When Did Sunday Become Everyone ELSE'S Day?

Sunday Morning I miss Sundays.  Waking to the smell of sausage, bacon, & eggs, going to church with my grandparents...the day was ours, as a family, to do as we pleased.  If we didn't feel like doing the church thing, we'd sleep as late as we wanted.   Sunday was the day for family...large dinners, family parties, dinner with our own little family; as an adult, Sunday was a day for me to have dinner with my mother, relaxing, letting the kids run around, having fun just enjoying the day and spending time together.  If we weren't spending the day with extended family, perhaps we were with friends, perhaps we were doing house work, perhaps we were just lounging on the sofa, or playing in the park with our children.  We don't spend our Sunday's like that any longer.  Sadly, we don't "own" our Sundays anymore.

Once upon a time, there were no infringements on spending family time together on Sundays, unless it was by another family member celebrating - with the family, or if it was by our own choice to spend our Sunday with friends.  We used to be able to schedule our Sundays- or not schedule and be spontaneous; now our schedule is provided for us.

 Girl plays sports for school and is also a member of one of our village's traveling softball teams.  Typically, during the week, there are multiple practices and games, with the weekends reserved for an early morning practice or a late evening game, though some are smack in the middle of the afternoon.  We just got Girl's practice schedule for softball.  She'll practice three weeknights, once on Saturday and TWICE on Sunday...TWICE,not just once.  They were considerate enough to at least not start the first Sunday practice until 12:45 so that we can still go to church (or sleep to recover from the rest of the week).  She will have tournaments almost every week during the summer  - to the point where we had to schedule her graduation party 6 months in advance to avoid conflicting with a tournament...but that goes with the territory of playing on a competitive traveling team.  It's the twice on Sunday that's killing me.

Personally, I think practicing at all on Sunday is wrong, but I also understand that, as a traveling team, they do not have access to a regular practice space and have to take what they can get.  I'm willing to work with that.  My daughter is an athlete, and incredibly intelligent to boot.  I'd like for her to be able to go to college with a little bit of help from a scholarship, so I'm willing to make the sacrifices...but TWICE on Sunday?  12:45 - 2:30, 4:00 - 6:30....Time for the family comes when?  Time for the rest of the family to do anything comes when?  Time to spend time with OTHER family members comes when?  Nope, not during the rest of the week, there is practice then, too.

Rapelling at ScoutsSmallBoy is in Cub Scouts.  We have our big giant pack meetings one Thursday evening a month.  This typically conflicts with SmallBoy's OT, but the Scoutmaster is aware of this and is totally fine with us being a tad late.  Flexibility.  Wonderful!  Our individual outings as a den, though, are typically held every other Sunday afternoon at 2 or 3:00.  Again with the Sunday.  Mind you, SmallBoy loves scouts and our leader is phenomenal, plans amazing activities for our boys (they're learning how to rapell for their next hike), and the boys get a LOT out of each meeting...but SUNDAY

This week, SmallBoy is starting in an instructional basketball league at school for our 4th graders to get them ready for next year when they really play organized basketball.  I'll give you one guess when it is....YEP.  Right on the nose.  Sunday...sometimes at noon, sometimes at 1:30, sometimes at 3:30.  Again, Sunday's the only time they can get the gym for practice, so I understand, but this is getting a little much.

I sound like I'm complaining quite a bit, but when did my family's time get turned over to everyone else without my permission?  I'd like to say,

"No, my child isn't going to be there for practice (or meeting or game) because it's Sunday, and that's the ONE day that we get to spend as a family doing family things,"

but then the coach's response would be,

"Ok fine.  Then Girl/SmallBoy won't get the opportunity to play,"

or the scout leader would say,

"Ok, but then SmallBoy won't be eligible to receive the badge for this particular activity."

My children attend a Catholic school.  Within the last couple of years, they instituted a rule, due to parents' complaints about Sunday practices, that no sports - practice or game - could begin before noon on Sunday, to allow families the chance to at least attend mass together.  The coaches obliged.  Practice starts at noon, with players required to arrive 15minutes prior.  Go figure. 11:46 is late. 

So we're stuck at the mercy of everyone else.  I feel bad because I get so upset by this and, unfortunately, the kids feel it because it is their activity (that I want them involved in) that is causing this massive upheaval.

I won't ever pull Girl from sports, she loves them, she excels at them, and she has scholarship potential.  I won't pull SmallBoy from Scouts or sports. He loves them, he needs both to help him learn the social pieces that are so difficult for those with Asperger's and autism.

I'm calling out to you for advice, for words of wisdom, for lessons learned by it worth it to say something to the coaches, or just suck it up?  Should I keep the kids from doing the things they love because we, as a family, don't have any time together (bear in mind that we rarely eat dinner as a family during the week either)?  Should I petition for a 4-day work week so that we can have ONE DAY, a measley 24-hours without having to do anything with/for anyone else but my family.  Yeah, pipe dreams.  What do YOU have to say? 



mcewen said...

You said it yourself dearie, in fact I think you should poll your visitors - how many would vote for the four day working week!

Mom without a manual said...

This is life. In highschool I had to choose between primping for the homecoming dance or the state softball tournament during my senior year. We made it back to town by 9 for the dance but we didn't have time to girly it up.

My boyfriend (husband now) thought he had the best girlfriend--one who would pick sports over the dance. Actually he was hoping to get out of having to go to the dance.

Unfortunately, our society has made life about competition, experiencing everything and keeping up with the neighbors. Personally, I feel that this has been at the expense of our families.

But then who am I to say this as I shuttle my oldest son to OT, speech, swimming, gymnastics. He is only 5. I tell myself it is because of the autism...but will I ever be able to justify slowing down? He will always be autistic. He will always need the extra socialization. But he will also need family time too. Where to draw the line?

marti said...

Fuck. Everything is so speeded up. Mother didn't have a cell phone, and was, in fact, attached to the wall by a phone cord. We, however, walk around with stupid bluetooth thingies in our ears so that we can be apprised of situations at all times.

No one should have practices or games on Sunday morning. Period. There are enough other days in the year. With Little League, I have had to tell Child's coach that he will be absent for cello lessons and cello recitals already this year several times, and we only had our first game yesterday. His response was gracious:

"Hope the recitals go well!"

THAT is a respectful coach who understands the renaissance child.

Pseudo Supermum said...

To say that 12.45 is on time, but 12.46 is late, demonstrates a lack of flexibility and understanding that makes me wonder if these people actually understand what being a parent, or part of a family, is really like. Do they have kids of their own?

To have TWO practices on a Sunday is excessive. You're quite right to feel frustrated. Family dynamics - for ANY family - are so much easier when people aren't rushing to stand still, or trying to be in more places at one time than is humanly possible.

I had a week at home with the kids after Easter. It was great just to take things at a slower pace. Since then, I've had a weekend conference, a day-trip to Birmingham (UK) representing my boss at a meeting, and a trip to Norwich to visit elderly parents. I've travelled 2,000 miles in 10 days. Too much! I hope the next 10 days are just a little bit more relaxed. I bet you anything life was simpler for most families 50 years ago! Where are we going wrong?

mommyguilt said...

Pseudo-Supermum -

To answer your question of "where are we going," I might begin with technology. Like Marti said, our parents weren't walking around with cell phones, blue tooth headsets, or PDA's to tell them where to be...they were at home. If they had somewhere to be, they knew about it and were organized - they didn't need something to remind them WHERE to be, WHEN to be there, and HOW they were going to get from one appoinment to another occurring at the same time.

There was no video game technology. Computer technology...HA...

Mom Without a Manual brings up a good point also...everything is about competition. Teams aren't out there just to do their best and to win - should they win - but they're out there to be the ONLY #1, to have the highest W-L ratio, and to be the best skilled, best organized, best executed team out there - be it a team sport or an individual sport.

With so much emphasis these days on kids not just relying on athletics, but academics also, in getting scholarships to college, one would think that the coaches would, at the very least, give the kids a chance to do their school work and study before they come home and collapse in a hep.

McEwen...I am so all over that 4day work week, but looking back on it, they would be longer working days - leaving even less time to cram in more stuff and, on that day off, someone would find a way to fill it.

I think we've reached a point now where we, as parents, have to stand up and say, "NO! This is SUNDAY. This is MY day to be with MY family to do as WE please."

I said to my daughter just yesterday, "We don't necessarily have to do anything as a family, but the fact that we, as a family, can be spontaneous, planned, spend a whole day running wild, or spend the afternoon on the couch watching movies and folding laundry...THAT's what matters: it's OUR day. 52 days out of 365 is NOT a lot."

People keep stressing family values. Well, if we don't have any time to spend with our family, then how, praytell, are our children supposed to experience and learn said family values?

Lora said...

You have quite a quandry don't you? I guess that I can see both sides pros and cons and I suppose that if it were up to me that I would choose family time because the kids grow up so fast. Before ya know it they are gone to college and then one begs the question "where did the time go". Yes sports and activities are important one might even say that they are essential but there's nothing like family time and once the time is gone ya can't get it back. Who knows maybe one day I will be in the same situation and trying to decide myself. So, I feel like I should leave you with this: Do what you feel most comfortable with because only you know what your priorities are. What's most important to you may not be what's important to the rest of us. Take care my friend. Let's keep in touch somehow, you are a very dear friend to me.

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

I look forward to providing the wonderful opportunities that you offer your children. But, I grow so very tired just reading about all the practices and meetings they attend! I thought I was a limo service now! It has only begun! And to take away lazy Sundays? You only live once, so why not do as much as you can while you're here,enjoy life. BUT I beg of you...just not on Sundays! I need my sleep and more time in my Pjs!(lol)