The kids' weekly activities are as follows:
- Monday: Piano lessons, public swim
- Tuesday: Afternoon playdate, Violin Group Class or Community Orchestra (alternating weeks)
- Wednesday: Violin/viola lessons during the morning, art class in the p.m.
- Thursday - Sunday: nothing!
My weekly activities fit around theirs, mostly on Thursdays and Fridays:
- Monday: grocery shopping while we're in Nelson for piano, once-a-month evening clinic
- Tuesday: I lead group class and community orchestra
- Thursday: morning clinic alternate weeks, afternoon teaching
- Friday: afternoon teaching
Our weekends are completely clear, and even our weekdays are pretty sane. For now, at least, there's no choir, no skating, no soccer. There are no impending concerts or recitals. GRUBS is pretty much finished for the year. My volunteer committments are under control. I'm not in the midst of rehearsing for a chamber music concert. Our kitchen renovation is pretty much complete. The pace feels terrific right now.
My only problem with all this is that I'm having moments of panic regularly over not seeing the kind of self-directed productive work and play that I'd like to see from the kids. I'm no longer too busy to care that they're not doing anything.
Noah and Sophie agree with me that they are happier when they are filling their days with tangible things, things that feel like "fun work" or "hard fun" or just "worthwhile". Even though they have great difficulty motivating themselves to actually start, they feel good about themselves when they've done stuff like dishes, working with the dog, exercising, writing or math. So I have some justification for strong-arming them into things -- they are grateful at the end of the day to have 'done something' and they ask for similar structure or guidance the next day. The fact that they often exhibit a fair bit of resistence in the moment is just an annoyance. Erin, on the other hand, would never admit that she feels good when she's accomplished things that she knows I approve of. So 'encouraging' her to pull her weight in the family is very difficult to do. Likewise, strong-arming is highly counterproductive. She does practice both her instruments, fairly diligently, every day without reminders, and I'm certainly grateful that this is no longer an issue for us. But the rest ... ahh!!! It is a challenge.