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Overscheduled and Overstressed?

Down Time.

When's the last time your child had some? In today's health section, reporter Sandra G. Boodman explores a problem that isn't going to end anytime soon -- overscheduled kids.

"I'm always in a state of anxiety, but it only piles up every few months," Walt Whitman High School senior Jessica Huey told Boodman. "All my friends do this. We're all overscheduled. We live in Bethesda: It's a way of life."

Ah, the way of life ... and into the best colleges hopefully with a scholarship. That's really what many high schoolers worry about these days. How many AP classes can they cram into those four years? How many extracurriculars? How many life-altering and volunteer jobs? Oh, and add to that a heavy workload of homework.

There's no question that today's kids are already kings and queens of multi-tasking their social lives and homework with computers and phones. From the moment they arise to the moment they finally go to sleep, many of these kids are on the go constantly. "It's worst in their junior year," Boodman told me while reporting her story.

The difference between teenagers like Jessica and younger kids, is that the teens are putting the pressure on themselves. For younger kids, who parents shuffle to sports and music lessons and art class and back to sports, the pressure is parent to parent. After all, who wants to be the loser parent?

Taking a break from all that ambition is important, say adolescent medicine specialists. Down time helps kids discover who they want to be and what they truly like. Some schools recognize their students are overscheduled and overstressed and are trying to alleviate that -- even Walt Whitman, where an after-school class teaches kids to meditate. Later this month, Stanford is unveiling a program to encourage kids to take a break and eat lunch in the middle of the school day, Boodman writes.

When we last discussed our kids' schedules, many parents piped in that they limit their kids to one or two activities at a time. And DandyLion says that he takes his kids out of school for "mental health days" when their anxiety levels rise too high. "The plan is to spend time with my kids when they feel good. If I let the stress levels build up too much, it's almost a guarantee that I'll be taking time off babysitting a sick kid."

What do you do to de-stress your household? How much pressure do you feel to have your kids keep up with the family next door ... or down the street ... or at school? How much pressure do your kids put on you to add activities to their weeks?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 15, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Teens , Tweens
Previous: Are You a Kidsick Parent? | Next: Raising Families on the Cheap

Comments


Am I first?

Anyway, I really like Dandylion's idea of a mental health day every once in awhile. I'm in the sometimes-you-need-to-decompress camp.

As for over-scheduling: my daughter is too young for this. And, I'd like to think I won't fall into this trap and just let her be a KID!!! But, as high school, college admissions, etc., approach I can see how this pressure would be there. And, these things you mention (grades, extracurriculars, volunteering . . . ) they are factors.

Posted by: Jen | July 15, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

My mother must have been a pioneer! She would let me stay home from school, sleep late and just do nothing once or twice a year when I was in high school (this was more than a decade ago now). How strange that I remember those few relaxing "mental health" days more than all the classes I took and all the activities I did, in the name of getting into a good college.

Posted by: Ishgebibble | July 15, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

"And DandyLion says that he takes his kids out of school for "mental health days" when their anxiety levels rise too high. "

What kind of grades do these kids get?

"If I let the stress levels build up too much, it's almost a guarantee that I'll be taking time off babysitting a sick kid."


Um, it's not "babysitting" to take care of your own kids....

Posted by: Mmmm.. | July 15, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

"Um, it's not "babysitting" to take care of your own kids...."

Posted by: Mmmm.. | July 15, 2008 7:23 AM

Some people use the term "babysitting" interchangably with "tenderly caring for" as in "I am babysitting the tomato plants".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I be told ya' what overschedulin' is my ma house. That's when Granny, the kids and me all wanna' use the best rifle for a huntin' small varmits. Somes of our rifles just be only a-good for hunting large varmits. These a-ones kinda' blast small varmits to kingdom come and back!

Posted by: Jed Clampett | July 15, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Dandylion (Father of 4) is just a slacker who's raising his kids to be the next generation of slackers. With any luck their teachers or other adult figures in their lives will inculcate the values in them that they're not getting at home, and inspire them to be more than their father is.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Some people use the term "babysitting" interchangably with "tenderly caring for" as in "I am babysitting the tomato plants".

No, you don't "babysit" your own tomato plants. You raise and train them, guide them to grow up according to your values. It's called discipline, people!

Posted by: Huh? | July 15, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyway, I really like Dandylion's idea of a mental health day every once in awhile.

You can do that on teacher in-service days, holidays, weekends. Kids only attend school about 180 days a year, which is less than half a year.

Posted by: Do the math | July 15, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"Dandylion (Father of 4) is just a slacker who's raising his kids to be the next generation of slackers. With any luck their teachers or other adult figures in their lives will inculcate the values in them that they're not getting at home, and inspire them to be more than their father is."

"Luck" is not a plan. It seems like this guy keeps his kids home from school for HIS needs, more than anyone else's.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Re: "mental health days"

If your kid needs these then it probably means your kid is overscheduled. Wouldn't the better solution be to solve the actual problem then just using a stop gap solution. Parents need to help teach kids to have balance in there lives and avoid the need for mental health days.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I agree with some of the comments above (although can we please forego the personal attacks?). Kids are only in school for 180 days - do they really need to take some of them off for "mental health?" If they do, perhaps the solution isn't a day at home, but paring back their schedules, because they clearly are too busy. Treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.

Posted by: dcd | July 15, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I didn't mean "babysit the tomato plants" as in sitting there watching them. How do you discipline a tomato? Turn it into sauce? It is an expression folks!

Posted by: Is this Literal Tuesday? | July 15, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Some days, I need a mental health day away from this blog!

Posted by: Some Days | July 15, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Destressing: no telling a kid what activities to take. If she only schedules what she wants, it's fun, not hard labor. Of course, if I had a mall rat with McD addiction I wouldn't be so sure, but as of now she is 15.5, incoming junior, taking 5 AP classes next school year (2 AP classes last school year, don't know the final exam grades yet). Bell ringing at local church, flute, piano, french horn. Swim team before school, computer graphics animation after. Animal shelter on the weekends.

Posted by: Medina | July 15, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

How do you discipline a tomato?

Stake, prune away undesired growth, fertilize, protect from predators and toxicity.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

How do you discipline a tomato?

Stake, prune away undesired growth, fertilize, protect from predators and toxicity.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 8:37 AM

Not to mention weed, weed, weed to get rid of plants that suck needed moisture and nourishment from the plant!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Medina

"Of course, if I had a mall rat with McD addiction I wouldn't be so sure, but as of now she is 15.5, incoming junior, taking 5 AP classes next school year (2 AP classes last school year, don't know the final exam grades yet). Bell ringing at local church, flute, piano, french horn. Swim team before school, computer graphics animation after. Animal shelter on the weekends. "

Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll in between.

What happened to OP's "no bragging about unremarkable children" rule?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"Treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms."

Agreed, but what do you do when the cause of the problem is the school itself? We're in the "one thing at a time" camp, and my daughter's too young to be in the college race. We also chose a Montessori school because we thought it would let her develop at her own pace, in a fun environment. And yet in second grade this year, there was one month in which she had a book report and diorama, a social studies report she had to research and write, two science reports she had to independently research and write (with dioramas, of course), and tests on the entire quarter's work in grammar, math, and science -- all on top of her regular (daily) homework and weekly math quizzes. Why? Because the quarter was ending, so the teachers, who apparently couldn't plan ahead, had to cram everything in to the last month to show they had hit all the quarter's milestones.

So how do you manage when just school is overwhelming? I broke up all of the projects into parts that wouldn't take more than an hour, and put all those parts onto a calendar with her regular homework (eg, Monday is 12 dictionary definition night, which already takes an hour, so we'll have to fit in the diorama work T-W). I talked to the front office and told them that I thought it was a ridiculously inappropriate amount of work for a six-year old. The last week, I forbade my daughter from doing any more science homework until she finished her two science reports and dioramas, and told the teacher to talk to me if she had a problem with it (boy, I WISH she'd called -- would have been a fun conversation). And we ended up pulling her from the school. But ultimately, we still had to just buckle down and get through to the other side.

Posted by: Laura | July 15, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how upset some of you are getting about a kid missing school for a day or two. Do you have any idea how much time is wasted in school? Yes, even in the "good" schools. A day off once in a while isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

I'm starting to see where these hyper-scheduled kids are getting it from. Take a deep breath and step away from the AP course descriptions and swim team schedules.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Laura

"The last week, I forbade my daughter from doing any more science homework until she finished her two science reports and dioramas, and told the teacher to talk to me if she had a problem with it (boy, I WISH she'd called -- would have been a fun conversation). And we ended up pulling her from the school. But ultimately, we still had to just buckle down and get through to the other side."

Sheesh! What pretentious bore!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

A day off once in a while isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:45 AM

It's called the weekend, 2 out of every 7 days off, in a row no less.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I think the idea of the mental health day is that it's something extra, a little treat.

If you're not into it, that's fine, but I don't think it's the horrible idea some posters are making it out to be.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Laura

"The last week, I forbade my daughter from doing any more science homework until she finished her two science reports and dioramas, and told the teacher to talk to me if she had a problem with it (boy, I WISH she'd called -- would have been a fun conversation). And we ended up pulling her from the school. But ultimately, we still had to just buckle down and get through to the other side."

Sheesh! What pretentious bore!!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 8:45 AM

There's nothing pretentious about teaching a child to meet deadlines. It may be boring, but tough noogies, life's like that so it's one of life's lessons that it's not all about fun (unless you're a slacker).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I think the idea of the mental health day is that it's something extra, a little treat.

If you're not into it, that's fine, but I don't think it's the horrible idea some posters are making it out to be.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:50 AM

Your school district is losing state funding for each day of your child's absence for unexcused reasons. Or do you lie on your excuse note about the real reason for his absence?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hmm...well my daughter isn't even a year old yet, so I haven't lied on excuse notes. Not yet, anyway. The way I see it, mental health is health related, so it wouldn't be lying to say it was a sick day anyway.

You guys really should take yourselves a touch less seriously. It's good for the blood pressure.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

You guys really should take yourselves a touch less seriously. It's good for the blood pressure.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:56 AM

Maybe they need a Mental Health Day.

Posted by: Mental Health Advocate | July 15, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe they need a Mental Health Day."

Sure seems like it! That might interfere with the schedule, though. ;)

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Yikes. Well, I currently attend an Ivy League college and graduated from an "elite" high school. As for extracurriculars, I personally was heavily involved in one activity with a regular but low-key volunteering job, and most of the kids I knew who went to Princeton or Harvard were similarly committed to just one or two activities. Yes, we all took 4 AP courses at a time, and our activities took some time, but I never knew anyone who complained of more than a few sleep-deprived nights. I definitely didn't hear of any panic attacks over schoolwork.

This is easy to forget, but it's not the amount of activity that college admissions officers look for, it's a student's commitment to his or her activities--quality, not quantity. Admissions officers are very good at telling if a student is doing activities just for resume-building or if he or she actually has some passion for them. Piling on as many extracurriculars as possible won't lead to succeed in college admissions. Besides, let's be honest, you have to be really, really smart to get into Harvard. Most of us just aren't intelligent enough to go there. Everyone needs to understand that before building up such high expectations for college.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"It's funny how upset some of you are getting about a kid missing school for a day or two. Do you have any idea how much time is wasted in school? Yes, even in the "good" schools. A day off once in a while isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things."

Reasonable people can disagree on this. I don't think I want my kids establishing a pattern if "mental health days" in school or work, I'd rather teach them to properly schedule and balance their lives. There will always be downtime in life and people should embrace it where ever it occurs. If it happens that the downtime is in school so be it. Learn to enjoy where you can get it, it will be welcome as an adult with a career, the "slow" days can be few and far between.

Posted by: Siggy | July 15, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand these go-go-go kids. Don't they ever want a break? Constantly crazy busy is not good for anyone.

Posted by: Sparky | July 15, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Are kids hyperactive or are their hyperactive activities making them hyper?

Posted by: Makes one wonder | July 15, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

We're just starting to get the whole idea of the overscheduling thing. The thing is, that's how my life was growing up. I completely remember ice skating lessons, then having to rush home for piano lessons. It wasn't long before we didn't sign me up again for ice skating because it was stressful and I remember choosing piano. I also took a music type class, ballet and other dance, took flute lessons, etc. I was the third - we always had stuff going on.

Of course, even though I went to a very competitive school, we NEVER had the amount of homework kids have today. That's part (a big part) of the problem.

My son has taken soccer in the past, and we recently signed him up for Kung Fu - we have discussed how soccer's going to fall by the wayside, given that he has one other physical activity. We'd like him to take music lessons, or acting class (he really loved drama camp).

We'll see.

I used to take mental health days when I was in high school. It was a stressful environment. Me being the geek I am, though, I would typically do it to sit in the cafeteria and do some homework that needed to get done. And I needed a 'different' environment to do it in. Then I would write a note, and go to classes late. I found out YEARS later that my mom would always get a phone call about my absence, and she never mentioned it to me, and always told the school that I was home. GO MOM!

Posted by: atlmom | July 15, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and growing up, we ALWAYS knew that my oldest sister had taken gymnastics, but my other sister and I never got to take gymnastics. I'm sure there was some reason that my mom had, she just never shared it with us. So my whole life we would 'remind' my parents how 'deprived' we were (my other sister and I) - how the oldest got to take gymnastics, and we never did. Good memories, these zillion years later....

Posted by: atlmom | July 15, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Siggy, your comment makes a lot of sense. Proper balance is always the goal.

Agree to disagree on the mental health days.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Hmm...well my daughter isn't even a year old yet, so I haven't lied on excuse notes. Not yet, anyway. The way I see it, mental health is health related, so it wouldn't be lying to say it was a sick day anyway."

Did it occur to you that your parenting advice might have a bit more credibility when your child is old enough for you to have personal experience on the topic of the day?

Posted by: ya gotta be kiddin me | July 15, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"Did it occur to you that your parenting advice might have a bit more credibility when your child is old enough for you to have personal experience on the topic of the day?"

Not really. Not sure why anyone would look to me for parenting advise, no matter how old my kids are. I was just stating my opinion, based on how I myself was raised. Don't like it, don't read it! :)

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The way I see it, mental health is health related, so it wouldn't be lying to say it was a sick day anyway."

Sorry, but a "mental health" day is cheating your employer or your school out of a day by lying about an improper reason for your absence. The work has to be made up, and your bosses and co-workers, or teachers and classmates, have to take up the slack during your absence, then take extra time to help you catch up after you return. It's not fair to the others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll in between.

What happened to OP's "no bragging about unremarkable children" rule?

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 8:38 AM

It's always a possibility. Consider the alternative -- sex, drugs and dumb kid with no future and no sense of self.
Are you envious? This topic is particularly inviting to bragging, if bragging means sharing positive experience. I just listed the activities that a reasonable teenager chose without parental pressure. I'm not talking about her grades or SAT scores.

Posted by: Medina | July 15, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Mental health days are a cop-out. They create even more work for the student because now she has to call around to all her friends, get her homework assignments for the next day (some of which are based on concepts discussed in-class on the designated MHD), borrow notes, turn in her assignments late and get docked for it, and otherwise figure out what she missed.

It's a lot easier to build decompression time into the week and weekend, and make peace and calm part of your daily existence -- a lifelong skill, btw -- than it is to create needless pressure of making up work, borrowing notes and feeling lost the day after a MHD. I'd rather teach my kids survival skills --leave the nutso employer for a more sane workplace (or drop the class with the psycho educator or the sport with the unbalanced screaming coach), exercise regularly, take vacations, breathe, nurture your hobbies -- not temporary avoidance skills that create even more stress.

Posted by: MN | July 15, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why anyone would look to me for parenting advise, no matter how old my kids are. I was just stating my opinion, based on how I myself was raised. Don't like it, don't read it! :)

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 9:31 AM

Stating it over and over and over and ov. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Right now, the kids don't have any activities. At 3 and 6 they are probably just a bit too young. We have talked about step-son getting into soccer but without the mother having a car... it is just one more thing that would be shoved into our already hectic schedule. He goes to school after work, I work two jobs and we already drive the mother to work. I think I would simply cave under the stress if I also had to deal with practice and games.

Tomorrow is actually going to be a mental health day for me(called vacation). I don't have to look after the kids or bring them to any appts, I don't have to drive the ex to work and my husband also doesn't need me for anything. I am completely free for the first week day in absolutely months. As a result... I am taking a "Me day" in an attempt to reduce my stress before my mental health gets any more damaged.

I personally think that the occasional mental health day is important and in no way signifies that you are a slacker. And in some cases... it is pretty difficult to de-schedule basic things such as getting back and forth to work and working whatever hours you need to work to put food on your table.

Posted by: Billie | July 15, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Besides, let's be honest, you have to be really, really smart to get into Harvard."

Or really, really well-connected, in which case it doesn't matter how smart you are.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | July 15, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

It's not fair to the others.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 9:32 AM

Are you five years old? Nobody said life would always be fair. Get over it.

Posted by: Life isn't fair | July 15, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I guess I am stating my opinion over and over and over as one anon poster suggested. I'm just responding to others comments...back and forth dialogue, ya know?

I'm glad to see there a few others who don't see an occasional (occasional! once or twice a year!) day off as a horrible thing that is cheating your classmates, teachers, employers, neighbors, shopkeeper, crossing guard, pet canary, etc.

Vacations and weekends are wonderful, but there is nothing like a spur of the moment day off with your husband and/or kids to recharge your batteries.

Sounds like some of you could use a battery charge, if you catch my drift...

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Are you five years old? Nobody said life would always be fair. Get over it.

Posted by: Life isn't fair | July 15, 2008 9:45 AM

Just because life is already unfair doesn't justify making things worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather teach my kids survival skills --... not temporary avoidance skills that create even more stress.

Posted by: MN | July 15, 2008 9:34 AM

Posted by: Truer words were never written | July 15, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Vacations and weekends are wonderful, but there is nothing like a spur of the moment day off with your husband and/or kids to recharge your batteries.

Interesting moral compass. Heaven forbid you should model responsibility for your kids, when you can teach them to be slackers instead.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't see a day off as immoral.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Just because life is already unfair doesn't justify making things worse.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 9:47 AM

Interesting moral compass. Heaven forbid you should model responsibility for your kids, when you can teach them to be slackers instead.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 9:50 AM

I am very glad to hear that you are so perfect. Pardon the rest of us for being human. Have you never needed a day off at a moment's notice? Have you never had an emotional break-up where you needed to stay home and cry? Lost a beloved family pet? Glad I don't have your stone hearts.

Posted by: Life isn't fair | July 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Lacey, It is the precedent and expectations the MHD teaches, when the going gets tough, stay home? Try to create downtime so that the MHD is unnessesary.

I admit that when we were growing up, unless you were bleeding or mostly dead, you went to school. If I was tired or strung out over finals, etc., "too bad, deal with it" was my parent's moto, always with the warning "let this be a lesson, next time plan better." This training served me well in college, work and life. I take time out to smell the roses, but I try not to do at other's expense.

Posted by: Siggy | July 15, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@ 9:07 AM. I agree - I was not from a well connected family, but went to one of the Seven Sisters. In my class were both women who did nothing extraordinary at school, and women who were very well connected. Personally, all I did in high school was band and that was about it. I agree that most schools can tell the difference between people doing things to get in and people just doing what they enjoyed.

To everyone discussing mental health days- as someone with a mental health issue that will be around for the rest of my life (in all likelihood), it did not do my employer a disservice in the past when I stayed home because I had racing thoughts or couldn't get out of bed in the morning because of anxiety or other issues. Just a thought..

Posted by: canary28 | July 15, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Glad I don't have your stone hearts.

Posted by: Life isn't fair | July 15, 2008 9:54 AM

It's called being an adult and acting professional. The world can't grind to a halt every time you have a little stress. Deal with it!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the world can come to a temporary halt while we deal with things. High school is not that important that missing one day will bring down the universe. Please note: I am not talking about anytime you have lots of school work, or an exam, or too much work. I'm talking about once or twice a year.

None of us are indispensible.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

It's called being an adult and acting professional. The world can't grind to a halt every time you have a little stress. Deal with it!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 10:05 AM

Anon should be StoneHeart at 10:05...
"Timmy, just leave Lassie there. I have to go to work. I will take her to the vet when I get home because it would be unfair to my co-workers if I took a day off. My name would become Slacker".

Posted by: Life isn't fair | July 15, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Somebody has quite the ego here don't they?

It's called being an adult and acting professional. The world can't grind to a halt every time you have a little stress. Deal with it!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 10:05 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My personal rule of thumb is that if you're taking a child to one activity dressed for another, you're overscheduled. I get so TIRED of seeing the kids in violin class in Karate uniforms, the kids who arrive at swim practice in soccer uniforms, etc. If you don't have enough time to go home and change, then you're too busy.

Also, when you overschedule your OWN child, you're actually hurting everyone else in the group as well. There's a horribly pretentious soccer mom in my daughter's class who ALWAYS picks up Little Precious early from everything because of soccer (the kid plays on three teams. Is that possible?) Little Precious has left every scout activity early, every class party early, every birthday party early, etc. etc. etc.
THe mom fails to realize that planning activities takes time, buying food for campouts costs money, and removing your child halfway through an activity when they're divided up into teams is disruptive for EVERYONE, not just your child.

One year I had a birthday party for my daughter where six out of ten kids showed up late because they had soccer. Personally, I think if you can't commit to staying for the whole event, including showing up on time, the polite thing to do is to decline. My daughter cried and wanted to know where all her friends were and I KNOW she felt that they all cared more about soccer than her party. Is there a polite way to tell the mom who calls to RSVP and informs you that they're arriving late and leaving early that actually you'd prefer they not come at all? I think it's rude.

Posted by: Fed Up | July 15, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I worry about the increasingly heavy demands of school on children. While I'm all for teaching responsibility, I don't see the need for 8-yr-olds to work longer hours than their parents -- which they frequently do given the passion for homework these days. Somehow I managed to do alright in life without doing one to two hours of homework each night in elementary school and projects every other weekend.
So hey, I'm the parent and I've decided my kids need time to read and play and write their silly stories (and practice piano or take a dance class they love). They're using their "downtime" in very creative ways and I see value in that. So am I raising them to be slackers if I refuse to be controlled by a public school system that thinks preparing my children for life involves an endless parade of worksheets? I don't think so. I'm siding with Dandylion. As a parent, I've decided modern life is insane and I've insisted we take a break where appropriate.

Posted by: anne | July 15, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and a belated congrats to Foamgnome. Hope you and the baby have some time to relax and get to know each other.

Posted by: anne | July 15, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I read the original article - it had some interesting comments. The parents who told their kids not to bother with college unless it was Harvard or Yale are just sick, as is anyone who would let his/her child start studying for the SATs at 11. (Of course, no self-respecting engineer would ever go to Harvard or Yale - it would be MIT, Stanford or Purdue - so I'm biased. :-)

Our kids have always controlled their own schedules to an extent - we never push them into an activity, but when they sign up for something they have to see it through. They do things they like doing - okay, except for jobs. They need to earn their own money, so they learn that the working world starts at the bottom and goes up.

On the other hand, we do try to make them aware that it's a very competitive world out there, and while schools may have eliminated the concept of "winners" and "losers", life has not. So they need to be prepared for success - for whatever definition of 'success' they have - to the greatest extent they can.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 15, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Is there a polite way to tell the mom who calls to RSVP and informs you that they're arriving late and leaving early that actually you'd prefer they not come at all? I think it's rude.

Posted by: Fed Up | July 15, 2008 10:14 AM

Maybe it's rude to schedule a party when it's inconvenient for the guests.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

A day off is immoral. Wow.

And no, you don't have to be really really smart to get into Harvard. you have to go to the right high school and do certain things, which are out of the reach of some people, due to monetary issues.

There are plenty of really really smart people who don't get into Harvard (and don't *gasp* even apply or want to go there). There are plenty of really really smart people who do really really well in life without having gone there.

Trust me, I went to high school with plenty of people who went to the ivy leagues - yes, really. It's not much different than any other school, no really. Get off your high horse, because that attitude is what's going to screw you up in coming years. Yes, really.

Posted by: one voice | July 15, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"One year I had a birthday party for my daughter where six out of ten kids showed up late because they had soccer. Personally, I think if you can't commit to staying for the whole event, including showing up on time, the polite thing to do is to decline."

I totally agree. This is teaching them that THEY are the center of the universe and that the rest of us are there for their convenience. Make a choice - soccer or party! These are the same kids who, when they grow up, think it is ok to show up late for work and have every excuse under the sun.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Is there a polite way to tell the mom who calls to RSVP and informs you that they're arriving late and leaving early that actually you'd prefer they not come at all? I think it's rude. "

No guts, no glory.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Is there a polite way to tell the mom who calls to RSVP and informs you that they're arriving late and leaving early that actually you'd prefer they not come at all? I think it's rude. "

Have the party at an outside location but tell the guests to meet at your house. if they are not there at the appointed time you leave.

Of course this will probably backfire and you will end up paying for 15 kids and only 5 show up but maybe they would think about it the next time.

Posted by: Problem solved | July 15, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"One year I had a birthday party for my daughter where six out of ten kids showed up late because they had soccer. Personally, I think if you can't commit to staying for the whole event, including showing up on time, the polite thing to do is to decline."

Six out of ten kids. No can abuse you without your permission.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

http://www.slate.com/id/2080324/

"Although there is no precise definition of over-scheduling and little empirical research documenting its impact...

They contend that some BlackBerry-tethered parents, who equate being constantly busy with being successful in their own lives..."

1. Given that this "problem" is not new, looks like this is pretty wide open as a research opportunity for these up and comers (since no one else has done it in at least 20 years...look for "overscheduled" in the Post Archive search - or look for The Hurried Child by David Elkind)

2. Always "on" email or online, doesn't constitute "busy".
Show me what you've done that has either produced something or is productive.

3. Get over it. Stressed out parents who went through this are only going to want what's "best" for THEIR kids...leading to stressed out kids..leading to stressed out parents. Until you give up the unending (and fruitless) quest for the Joneses, and impart that to your kids, the cycle will never end.

4. Suggestions for solutions: volunteer TOGETHER (as a family); play sport(s) TOGETHER; do all of the activities your child(ren) is/are doing, and then see how you feel.

Posted by: Old "News" | July 15, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"One year I had a birthday party for my daughter where six out of ten kids showed up late because they had soccer. Personally, I think if you can't commit to staying for the whole event, including showing up on time, the polite thing to do is to decline."

A considerate host would check first with the guests' parents to find out what was the most convenient time for them to come to the party. Or are you just into passive-aggressive?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

A considerate host would check first with the guests' parents to find out what was the most convenient time for them to come to the party. Or are you just into passive-aggressive?

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 10:37 AM

What bizarro world are you living in?
If your kid wants to invite 10 kids to her party you are expected to call 10 parents to find out when their kid is available for a party? That is insane. I thought the HOST chose the date and time and sent out invites. If a guest wants to come and is available then they RSVP to attend. If not, they politely decline.

Posted by: R U Kidding me? | July 15, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

A considerate host would check first with the guests' parents to find out what was the most convenient time for them to come to the party.
----

are you joking? hell no. I just attended a child's birthday party that started at 5pm because that's when it was "convenient." by 7pm the kids were screaming and strung out on cake. The hosts need to throw the party when they can throw the party, the host is NEVER at the mercy of the guests.

Posted by: DCer | July 15, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

one voice

"And no, you don't have to be really really smart to get into Harvard. you have to go to the right high school and do certain things, which are out of the reach of some people, due to monetary issues."

How any leashed kids get into Harvard?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

What bizarro world are you living in?

Uh, one where I'd find out the most convenient time for my guests to attend the party. Paging Miss Manners.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The problem begins with the colleges. To get into a good school requires AP classes, community service and some sort of participation at school, like clubs or sports. I'm as much in favor of community service as anybody but it is ridiculous to put that on top of everything else a teenager needs to do. AP classes are obscene in the amount of work they require. As long as the top schools keep these sorts of requirements people will try to meet them. I know plenty of kids with these sorts of syndromes.

My overscheduled teen overscheduled himself. I was fine with a bit of band and an occasional sport. He's the one who insisted on adding theater. His grades reflected his load but I had to admit that he was a happy kid, unlike so many others. When people ask me what college he's going to they aren't impressed.

High achieving people are going to want their kids to be high achievers and the kind of requirements described in this article are exactly what the best universities demand. If that's what you want for your kid, that's what they'll have to do.

Posted by: free bird | July 15, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

the host is NEVER at the mercy of the guests

Call me old-school, but I thought hosts threw parties for their GUESTS's enjoyment. It's called hospitality.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

On mental health days. I'm fine with them. I let my younger kid have them when she's playing two sports. My oldest refused to take them. It was too hard for him to make up a missed day from high school. As a matter of fact, when he was sick he'd still go to school. That was his choice not mine. It's the schools that demand so much from these kids. And it's not just the teachers, it's the coaches and performing arts directors. They're unforgiving tyrants with these kids.

Posted by: free bird | July 15, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Uh, one where I'd find out the most convenient time for my guests to attend the party. Paging Miss Manners.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 10:44 AM

So what do you do when each family has a different time that their special child can bless your child with their presence at a party? Oh, a good host would have 10 parties so nobody is left out - silly me.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"One year I had a birthday party for my daughter where six out of ten kids showed up late because they had soccer. Personally, I think if you can't commit to staying for the whole event, including showing up on time, the polite thing to do is to decline."

Oh duhhh.... Kids play soccer. Plan your parties around it. No it isn't rude of them to be late. They have a prior commitment. Would you rather have a party where six out of ten kids don't show up?

Posted by: free bird | July 15, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Uh, one where I'd find out the most convenient time for my guests to attend the party. Paging Miss Manners.
------

Miss Manners would always side with the host, look it up if you weren't brought up right. And I will tell you, if you think it's the host's responsibility to ask about times, dietary restrictions, or other requirements of the guest then you simply were not brought up right.

The host sets the time of the party and sets requested policy (formal v informal, etc). The host sends out the RSVP card. The guest must fill in the RSVP card and return it with comments or restrictions such as Kosher, vegetarian, etc. The host must make reasonable accommodations based on their own personal policy and Emily Post DOES allow a host to tell a guest that "I'm so sorry that we will be unable to accommodate your request." The host is never, under any circumstances, required to modify their party for their guests although it is considered magnanimous to do so.

That is what the junior league gets you. That is proper American etiquette. It's all available online from your local Junior League.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

interesting idea, but how do I transport those kids to the outside location? Most people don't have minivans, right? and those that do, it's likely their family is going to fill up most of the seats.

Posted by: to problem solved | July 15, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

There is one troll here posting under different names. ignore them for they are very very ignorant.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, a good host would have 10 parties so nobody is left out - silly me.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 10:50 AM

After the first few phone calls, the parents would have learned that 6 of the 10 kids (a majority of the guestlist) all had the same soccer game, so would be done at the same time.

If you want to be such a rigid host that you won't accomodate your guests to make them feel like, well, guests, then under-attended parties are your just reward.


And I will tell you, if you think it's the host's responsibility to ask about times, dietary restrictions, or other requirements of the guest then you simply were not brought up right.

Unless the purpose of your party is to show hospitality to your guests and make them feel welcome, rather than a smackdown challenge to get brownie points for throwing the party without having to consider the guests' needs or feelings.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Being rude to the guests is so "old money" at the country club. Who are you, anyway, Cream of the Crop?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

If the 6 kids with the soccer game were good enough friends of the birthday child to be invited to the party, how come the child didn't know to tell mom this information? Starting to wonder why these kids were invited.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Miss Manners would always side with the host, look it up if you weren't brought up right. And I will tell you, if you think it's the host's responsibility to ask about times, dietary restrictions, or other requirements of the guest then you simply were not brought up right. "

Another pretentious snob AND Grammar Police alert!

Oh, the irony!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think you are required at all to find out when a convenient time would be for a birthday. That said, we typically check and make sure the time/date work for my son's closest two or three friends. Not out of courtesy to others, but to avoid situations like the one described here where he's upset because everyone was late or people couldn't come. His birthday is in late August, so usually a lot of people send regrets because they are on vacation.

My main problem with birthday party scheduling are Sunday morning birthday parties. My son has some Jewish friends that schedule parties for Sunday morning, which is very convenient for them and their Jewish friends, but doesn't work for us and the other gentiles. But there's no solution for that problem.

Posted by: Cliff | July 15, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

After the first few phone calls, the parents would have learned that 6 of the 10 kids (a majority of the guestlist) all had the same soccer game, so would be done at the same time.

Boy - glad you have time to track down all these parents. Must be nice to have nothing else to do with your day.

Posted by: R U kidding me | July 15, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

If the 6 kids with the soccer game were good enough friends of the birthday child to be invited to the party, how come the child didn't know to tell mom this information? Starting to wonder why these kids were invited.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 11:04 AM

They are oversheduled eight-years-olds. Moms take them to soccer games, the kids have no idea what time is it, and won't know for the next few years.Can't check their desk calendars.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Boy - glad you have time to track down all these parents. Must be nice to have nothing else to do with your day.

Posted by: R U kidding me | July 15, 2008 11:05 AM

Then why give the party? Oh, I forgot, you don't really want to have to show hospitality to guests, you just want your kid to collect their birthday loot!

Posted by: The real reason for kids' birthday parties | July 15, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"the host is NEVER at the mercy of the guests"

With that disdainful attitude, you are most likely to be hosting a party of one. I feel very sorry for your child.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I suspect there are some people out there who don't have parties or aren't invited to them. (No big surprise there.) It's a really simple concept. I'll explain. Let's say you want to have a party. You pick a date that will work for you, seeing as how you'll be doing all the shopping and cleaning and prepping. Then you send out invites. It's then up to the guests to say yes or no so you get a headcount and can prepare accordingly. That's it! It really couldn't be more simple.

Posted by: atb | July 15, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Whew, after reading these comments, I think you ALL need a mental health day!! Or at least a mental health afternoon. Everyone take off early and go have a margarita.

(My nonexistant moral compass allows me to solve problems with alcohol.)

Cheers!

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You pick a date that will work for you, seeing as how you'll be doing all the shopping and cleaning and prepping. Then you send out invites. It's then up to the guests to say yes or no so you get a headcount and can prepare accordingly. That's it! It really couldn't be more simple.

Posted by: atb | July 15, 2008 11:26 AM

the guests see that the host is atb and then plan a conflicting event.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Then why give the party? Oh, I forgot, you don't really want to have to show hospitality to guests, you just want your kid to collect their birthday loot!

Nope - I talk to my kids. I find out what kind of party they want that works with their schedule. I find out who they want to invite. I send out invitations. If the other kids come - great. If they don't, that is ok too. My kids have a realistic expectation that not everybody will be available all the time. Most of the kids they invite are in the neighborhood and we know the families so we are pretty much aware of what activities they have.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Party at Lacey's house!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

What would "Fed Up" do if she was the soccer coach and six of the kids left mid-game because they "had" to go to a birthday party on time or face the wrath of the overbearing mother? I guess it never occurred to her that this was an opportunity to teach her child that she isn't the center of the universe and that her friends might have commitments beyond making her happy? And I guess the concept of being flexible and moving the party by half an hour or an hour once she found out it conflicted with so many of the guests was just beyond her comprehension. (Not that she needed to do that -- but the options are move the party if she's insistent on everyone being there or accept the fact that people might already have something on their schedules and would come later. This is not rocket science.)

I used to have a colleague who took mental health days. Usually every Monday. Once she took them eight Mondays in a row. I had to do her work on those days. Wasn't good for my mental health!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I used to have a colleague who took mental health days. Usually every Monday. Once she took them eight Mondays in a row. I had to do her work on those days. Wasn't good for my mental health!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM

That's called "Hooray for me, to he!! with you"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the guests can ask for some sort of accommodation within reason. For instance, we had a party Sat night. One of the guests was going through some thyroid testing and asked if we could prepare the food with iodine-free salt. No problem. We also had a vegetarian option since there is usually one in a bunch, and meat-eaters can enjoy it as well.

It's important to be kind to your guests, but it's equally as important to be kind to the host, who is, after all, doing all the work.

Posted by: atb | July 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Come on over, all are welcome! We'll save some margaritas for the responsible bunch who won't be able to come until after 6:00, since they'll be busy covering for us slackers.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Many people forget a very powerful word, a word that transforms, enlightens, liberates and gives you control. That word is......NO. Try it sometimes.

Posted by: Just say....... | July 15, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

$10 says this woman's child didn't give a hoot whether her friends were 30 minutes late. The child was delighted her friends came to her party. It's all about UberSelfabsorbedMom, though, not whether her kid had a good time. UberSelfabsorbedMom doesn't care if her kid's friends attend or not. That's why she is so resistant to reason and why she scheduled a party at 2 p.m. on a Saturday during the height of soccer season. It's not about her kid. It's all about her.

Posted by: matilda | July 15, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If the 6 kids with the soccer game were good enough friends of the birthday child to be invited to the party, how come the child didn't know to tell mom this information? Starting to wonder why these kids were invited.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 11:04 AM

"Billy, What time is your game on Saturday, May 15th? Is 2 p.m. or 1 p.m. better for you?" Yeah. Right.

Sheesh. The kids are 9 years old already. You expect that they chat about their schedules 3 weeks in advance?

Posted by: Get eal | July 15, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

We don't skip soccer for birthday parties. First committments come first then we go to the next. I had a guy who every soccer practice pulled his kid out halfway through becuase they had to be somewhere. He should have never signed his kid up, not fair to the kid or his team OR the kid who could have played in his spot. Worthless

Posted by: some people just don't get it | July 15, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: matilda | July 15, 2008 11:34 AM

yep you are right and she still did nothing when she learned that 60 percent of the kids would be late. I detest these type of people

Posted by: right on | July 15, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I detest these type of people

Posted by: right on | July 15, 2008 11:39 AM

They are, or try to be, manipulators.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Billy, What time is your game on Saturday, May 15th? Is 2 p.m. or 1 p.m. better for you?" Yeah. Right.

Sheesh. The kids are 9 years old already. You expect that they chat about their schedules 3 weeks in advance?"

How about after the sixth mom said they would be late? Time to adjust your schedule

Posted by: hmm | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Whoa!! Who is that nasty troll who picks a fight with anyone about anything? Best to ignore I guess.

On the subject of mental health days. I agree that a day once in a blue moon is not immoral, but I think that being cavalier about MHDs sets a dangerous precedent. As a parent, I want to teach my kids that commitments are important, and that we do our best to be on time, get our work done by the deadlines and generally be dependable. This is an important life skill. Taking too many MHDs teaches kids to be lax about school, and it may translate into being lax about work and other commitments later in life.

But I think that we can be flexible also. When my daughter was born, we let our son skip school and go to the hospital with us instead, so that he could be there for the birth of his baby sister. It was not a mental health day per say, but it was a day that we decided would be best spent with family. It was the only day that my son missed from school that year, since he is almost never sick.

Posted by: Emily | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

How about after the sixth mom said they would be late? Time to adjust your schedule

Posted by: hmm | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM

Absolutely agree. That is - if it's about the kid and not about the intransigent parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

But I think that we can be flexible also. When my daughter was born, we let our son skip school and go to the hospital with us instead, so that he could be there for the birth of his baby sister. It was not a mental health day per say, but it was a day that we decided would be best spent with family. It was the only day that my son missed from school that year, since he is almost never sick.

Posted by: Emily | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM

Yippee for priorities!

Posted by: MN | July 15, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I detest these type of people

Posted by: right on | July 15, 2008 11:39 AM

That's ok - they probably feel the same about you. Because there could never be extenuating circumstances as to why they had the party at 2 instead of 2:47 so your little darling could make it there. Something like maybe their kid 's stepsister wants to be included and has to return to dad's by 5? But that has nothing to do with your darling so we are just bad hosts.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

How about after the sixth mom said they would be late? Time to adjust your schedule

Posted by: hmm | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM

And maybe after second or third mom, the birthday child's mom might (or might not) be bright enough to recognize the pattern and ask her if any of the other kids on the guestlist were also on the same soccer team.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

extenuating circumstances as to why they had the party at 2 instead of 2:47 so your little darling could make it there. Something like maybe their kid 's stepsister wants to be included and has to return to dad's by 5?

Maybe the birthday kid and his stepsister could have a pre-party in order to have a little quality time together till the other kids arrived, then the regular party could start.

Posted by: Well duhhhh | July 15, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

How about after the sixth mom said they would be late? Time to adjust your schedule

Posted by: hmm | July 15, 2008 11:46 AM

And maybe after second or third mom, the "birthday child's mom might (or might not) be bright enough to recognize the pattern and ask her if any of the other kids on the guestlist were also on the same soccer team."

Apparently R U KIDDING ME hosts these types of parties where inflexibility is the rule quite often, then wonders why no one shows up....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow! The MMs are out in full force today!!!!

No wonder men cheat!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Apparently R U KIDDING ME hosts these types of parties where inflexibility is the rule quite often, then wonders why no one shows up....

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 11:57 AM

I have never stated that I am inflexible. If you had taken the time to read you would see that I know most of the families we invite and am aware of their schedules in regards to a birthday party. It isn't rocket science people. The time for discussions about the date and time is BEFORE invites are sent, not after.
I repeat - send the invite. If the kids can make it - fine. If not, fine too. It would be rude to change a date or time if one or two (NOT the majority) can't make it. Sorry.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

R U KIDDING ME never has parties that include anyone other than family members. She is missing the point. It's not about anyone else's little darling attending late. It's about her little darling not having anyone at her party other than her step-sister and mom grousing about those ungrateful guests and how rude other parents and children are these days.

While you are at it, R U KIDDING Me, why don't you schedule your party for 6 a.m. Saturday morning since that's what is convenient for you? Then when the kids don't come, you can trot at the same "blame the guests" routine. Your kid might buy it until she's 12 or so and discovers that other parents actually want their invitees to attend and so are reasonably accommodating.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

No wonder men cheat!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:04 PM

WTF does this mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"If the kids can make it - fine. If not, fine too."

It makes no difference to you whether your kid has anyone to celebrate with. That much is crystal clear.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

this sounds like the same woman who got bent awhile back because one of her young guests did not handwrite every word of his own thank you note. It makes you wonder why she has a kid when she does not like children.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

To the rude anon and R U Kiddng - Just drop it please. You don't agree. We get it. Each of you plan your parties according to your own criteria and spare the rest of us the stupid bickering over it. Geeez!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:08 PM

I believe you are not getting the point. Do you need a class in reading comprehension? We have plenty of birthday parties. It is rare than we have kids who can't come. As I have said before (are the words I am using too big?) most of the kids are from the neighborhood. There are usually only a couple of family kids around and most parties include 15 kids or so. Do the math dufus.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I used to have a colleague who took mental health days. Usually every Monday. Once she took them eight Mondays in a row. I had to do her work on those days. Wasn't good for my mental health!

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 11:28 AM

I have a colleague who seems to get ill every Friday during the summer. No need for a calendar. We have Mary.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

lacey is a good mother. her children will be lucky to have her. she understands the importance of life and balance. all this finger wagging about mental health days is ludicrous. my parents never overbooked me or demanded i do anything other than be the best person i could be. as a result of their guidance and influence, i graduated in the top 5% in high school, college and law school and have had a successful law practice for over 30 years and a wonderful family life. and i owe none of that success to ice skating lessons.

Posted by: lacey rocks the world | July 15, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Do young kids really have 10 close friends to invite to parties?

Our parties are strictly a family affair - no friends until high schoool.

Posted by: Interesting viewpoints | July 15, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Later this month, Stanford is unveiling a program to encourage kids to take a break and eat lunch in the middle of the school day, Boodman writes."

If things are at this point, you know there is a problem.

And 1-2 hours of homework a night for a 6 year old is obnoxious and unneccessary. I'll go "Auntie Mame" on my kid and send him to some alternative school before I let a teacher give a little kid 2 hours of homework a night. Didn't some education experts recently say the rule is supposed to be a minute per year of age until middle school? And even then, it should be no more than an hour, except for special projects.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

There are usually only a couple of family kids around and most parties include 15 kids or so. Do the math dufus.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 12:14 PM

Would that be the 6 out of 10 math, or the math you now propose which is a fuzzy X out of 15? R U Dufus, you must have taken too many mental health days during elementary math class.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Would that be the 6 out of 10 math, or the math you now propose which is a fuzzy X out of 15? R U Dufus, you must have taken too many mental health days during elementary math class.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:18 PM
I am NOT the same person who posted about the 6 out of 10 not coming to a party - read much?

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

As I have said before (are the words I am using too big?) most of the kids are from the neighborhood. There are usually only a couple of family kids around and most parties include 15 kids or so. Do the math dufus.

Posted by: R U Kidding me | July 15, 2008 12:14 PM

You are raising a child to be as uncivil as you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"lacey is a good mother. her children will be lucky to have her. "

How could you possibly know this about a cyberstranger on the Net?

Posted by: ??? | July 15, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

You are raising a child to be as uncivil as you are.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:21 PM

****

Pot, meet kettle...

Posted by: Time for a time-out? | July 15, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

No wonder the Celebritologists love to come on this blog and poke fun of the MMs. They are easy targets.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the MMs must be a little sex deprived. So they spend their energy bickering instead.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

No wonder the Celebritologists love to come on this blog and poke fun of the MMs. They are easy targets.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:23 PM

Poke fun "at". Language skills are your friend.

Don't know how you'd know the gender or reproductive capacity of anonymous posters. Whatever.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think the MMs must be a little sex deprived. So they spend their energy bickering instead.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 12:26 PM

Go back to Celebritology and yack about Brangelina all day. It is what you do best.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I detest these type of people

Posted by: right on | July 15, 2008 11:39 AM
And this is what you consider civil? Somebody needs civility lessons....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Step-son used to bring home homework 3 nights a week from kindergarten. That seemed a little strange to me but the homework was usually just a counting sheet or a practice sheet for printing letters.

What really got to me was that this homework was likely about 10 or 15 minutes but it took him an hour or more to do it because he spent 45 minutes whining about doing the homework before actually performing the task. It was frustrating to hear him whine about what he couldn't be doing because he was doing homework when if he just got off his butt he would have been done the homework and doing the fun stuff instead of still sitting at the table looking at his homework. And boy... do I hear sounds of my mother in that!

Posted by: Billie | July 15, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"It's more fun to yack about you, since you are even more vapid and ridiculous than Brangelina."

Bingo!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Billie
Billie


"What really got to me was that this homework was likely about 10 or 15 minutes but it took him an hour or more to do it because he spent 45 minutes whining about doing the homework before actually performing the task"

Why did you reward the bad behavior (whining)?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Billie

"What really got to me was that this homework was likely about 10 or 15 minutes but it took him an hour or more to do it because he spent 45 minutes whining about doing the homework before actually performing the task"

Sounds like the kid was looking for attention....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

How could you possibly know this about a cyberstranger on the Net?

*****
i feel an existential wave coming over me. help! how do i "know"? i don't "know", how could i? however, in view of her intelligent and measured responses, i am making an assumption, a leap of faith if you will, that she's a decent person. unlike some of the other ridiculous responses about birthday parties, invites, manners, etc. go read miss manners and get back to me. mark my words, in a few years all of the children in the neighborhood will be at her house.

Posted by: i'm sticking w/lacey as a good person and parent | July 15, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

he spent 45 minutes whining about doing the homework before actually performing the task
&&&&&&&

oh, oh. don't tell phil gramm about him. he'll disappear into guantanamo.

Posted by: all-american whiners | July 15, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I do not consider myself a Mean Mommie (MM). I am a nice mommy most of the time (NMMOTT). As are many of the rest of us. There is a difference, you know. I think most of the MMs are anon trolls.

Posted by: Emily | July 15, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like luvlinsey is morphing into luvlacey.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

i'm sticking w/lacey as a good person and parent


Was there a clearance on Crystal Balls at Target???

Posted by: Incredible | July 15, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Was there a clearance on Crystal Balls at Target
****
you're brilliant, yes, there was, how did you know? i even bought one for you.

Posted by: crystal balls abound | July 15, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, if nothing else, it's good to see lots of folks who are posting on this blog are not overscheduled!

Posted by: tsp 2007 | July 15, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

If my intent were to enable my friends to have a good time, I would not have a party. Rather, I would volunteer to drive all the kids to soccer practice while giving parents a free subscription to an on-demand adult video so they can enjoy themselves while the kids are at soccer practice. Different balls for different ages, you might say.

Posted by: Pillsbury Doughboy | July 15, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Don't crystal balls usually come in pairs?

Posted by: Lance Armstrong | July 15, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Don't crystal balls usually come in pairs
####
yes, lance they do, but you need to take a head count, so to speak, as you're missing a set.

Posted by: why does lance's voice squeak? | July 15, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to pop in a quick comment--I'm slightly overscheduled this week with finals coming up--to those of you who decry an occasional mental health day as irresponsible and unfair to employers/coworkers or teachers/students, do you only read this blog on your lunch break or your allotted 15-minute breaks throughout the day? Or do you sit at your desk, pretending to work, while reading WaPo blogs and letting your coworkers pick up the slack?

Admittedly, when I was blogging during the day, I was being a slacker, and I deserved to be called one. But then again, I took personal days. My employer allowed me a certain number of personal days a year for that exact reason. I agree that an occasional unexpected day off can be a good thing. I pity these poor California kids who have never known the joy of a snow day.

Posted by: Mona | July 15, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the vote of confidence, "sticking with lacey". Appreciate it!

I want my daughter to grow up happy, healthy, and productive. The number of AP classes she takes or soccer teams she's on doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the vote of confidence, "sticking with lacey". Appreciate it!

I want my daughter to grow up happy, healthy, and productive. The number of AP classes she takes or soccer teams she's on doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 1:33 PM

Sure, the world needs happy cashiers at Target, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Miss Manners would always side with the host, look it up if you weren't brought up right. And I will tell you, if you think it's the host's responsibility to ask about times, dietary restrictions, or other requirements of the guest then you simply were not brought up right.

The host sets the time of the party and sets requested policy (formal v informal, etc). The host sends out the RSVP card. The guest must fill in the RSVP card and return it with comments or restrictions such as Kosher, vegetarian, etc. The host must make reasonable accommodations based on their own personal policy and Emily Post DOES allow a host to tell a guest that "I'm so sorry that we will be unable to accommodate your request." The host is never, under any circumstances, required to modify their party for their guests although it is considered magnanimous to do so.

That is what the junior league gets you. That is proper American etiquette. It's all available online from your local Junior League."

Ms Manners would NEVER suggest the use of an RSVP card. She considers them insulting to the guest as they imply one doesn't know how to RSVP properly. In all of her writings she is very clear on this. Look it up.

Apparently Junior League doesn't get you as much as you thought..

Posted by: stunned | July 15, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Who joins the Junior League anymore anyhow? Debutantes?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I recently graduated from high school and I certainly took one or two mental health days each year;a number of students did.And I graduated with a 3.7 GPA from a NW DC college prep school,so I don't think one could say I was "slacking."And the teachers sometimes(quietly)encouraged overworked students to do so.It's not that the child is slacking or putting work off. Mental health days are days to regroup and get back on your feet.Just one day after a rough month can be enough to rejeuvenate you.And often,in our case,students who took mental health days had weekends that were just as packed as their weekdays.And with IM,facebook,e-mail and phones,it is not difficult to make up work.
Being in school is only productive if the student is entirely mentally present.So going to school every day that you're well doesn't guarantee you any more success than if you miss one or two days for mental health.
Unfortunately,sometimes people just have to learn for themselves that being overscheduled isn't healthy and telling them otherwise will only deafen them to the wisdom you have to share.My parents told me over and over that they were proud of whatever I did and they would be happy if I did just one thing,but I never listened.And I wouldn't have listened if my cousin's death hadn't forced me to reevaluate my lifestyle.
I think my parents handled it the best way they could-they encouraged me to reduce my activities(which I didn't),took me to church every Sunday(a whole hour where I just had to sit;no homework,no calls,no plans while you're in church),continued family dinners(once again at least half an hour reserved for family and down time) and during busy school times (like exams)offered to help with my chores so long as I in turn helped my brother or them during a busy time.Finally, my mom waited until I was too sick to go to school to lecture me about doing too much.She certainly had a captive audience because I'd always be so exhausted I just had to lay there and listen to her.

Posted by: purple2 | July 15, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Pre-reading other comments:

I am a high school burnout. I got the scholarship, I had amazing experiences which I worked for, I had an amazing college experience which wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't worked my butt off so much.

But it burned me out. Freshman year I was a dead cell.

The problem of course is the system itself- you really do NEED to go above and beyond to make that scholarship and get it done. When the NORM for kids is to have 2-3 school activities, almost all A's, almost all AP classes, you have to push that one more ounce to get it to the top.

But parents are the ultimate pace setters in the home. Allowing mental health days (I vividly remember my mom nearly pleading with me to stay home sometimes when I was exhausted and sick, but I couldn't stay because I had an exam, or a presentation, or something), encouraging empty space whenever possible and mostly keeping things in perspective. You know how long SAT scores matter for? The ten seconds a college reviewer scans them before putting the app into one pile or another.

And yet, you could spend a year on SAT prep just for that.

So parents, relax, and help your kids relax. If you're always saying you don't have time for anything, chances are that your kids don't either. And that's just repeating the cycle.

Posted by: Liz D | July 15, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"I just had to lay there"???

Guess you took a MHD the day your English teacher taught the conjugation of the intransitive verb "to lie," in the sense of being being recumbent (as opposed to prevarication). Or else you were laying eggs, or something other direct object.

Posted by: Grammar sheriff | July 15, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"Sure, the world needs happy cashiers at Target, too."

More than the world needs another Stanley O'Neal (Harvard Business School '78), Jeff Skilling (Harvard Business School '79), or Angelo Mozilo (Fordham '60) or Chuck Prince (Georgetown Law '79) or....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"Who joins the Junior League anymore anyhow? Debutantes?"

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I think mental health days can be fine when used sparingly; and like just about everything else in the world can be abused by the thoughtless or selfish. I took them throughout my education and I take them now. My work is very largely solitary and I typically do it after having finished something big if there's nothing pressing coming right behind it (because I agree with MN that if it creates more stress in the end, that's a bad coping strategy).

Taking time off routinely or when you know it will screw someone else over is either thoughtless or reflects a more fundamental imbalance somewhere in your life that needs addressing. As does constant procrastination on a blog, as I know too well, LOL.

Posted by: babycrocs | July 15, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

to Lacey:

Okay - you only have an infant so you may not know this yet, but - the number of AP classes a student takes actually DOES matter. In fact, most colleges state that they look for academic rigor as the number one indicator for success in college. Kids are absolutely encouraged to take the most academically rigorous schedule that their school offers.

If a school offers IB or AP, admissions officers want to see IB or AP classes on the transcript. They do stress, however, that they want to see the student be successful in those classes - it's not necessary to take every IB or AP class available but it is necessary to do well in the ones taken.

We're going through the college search thing right now and have visited umpteen colleges in the last 12 months....they all say pretty much the same thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I want my daughter to grow up happy, healthy, and productive. The number of AP classes she takes or soccer teams she's on doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 1:33 PM

this is intelligent and measured?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

babycrocs is right. There's a difference between comp time and a selfish MHD that may leave others in the lurch.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I said I want my daughter to be happy, healthy, and productive. I didn't mention anything about which college she attends, if any. You all are projecting!

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

To the pro-MHDers: Do you also let your kids cut games they're supposed to play in, thus potentially letting down their teammates? What if skipping a practice (or rehearsal) causes the child not to be allowed to play next time? Or is MHD only for school?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"I want my daughter to grow up happy, healthy, and productive. The number of AP classes she takes or soccer teams she's on doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 1:33 PM

this is intelligent and measured?"

Yes. Do you seriously think that being on three soccer teams is what's truly important "in the grand scheme of things"? Or are you just trolling?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The number of AP classes she takes or soccer teams she's on doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 1:33 PM

I didn't mention anything about which college she attends, if any. You all are projecting!

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM

Lacey,

Here's the way a conversation goes. You say something. Someone else responds with actual facts to your exact point, that AP classes don't really matter. You may agree with or disagree with those facts and her ponit, that AP classes do matter, but accusing the very reasonable poster of projecting is a bit over the top.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Do you seriously think that being on three soccer teams is what's truly important "in the grand scheme of things"? Or are you just trolling?

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM

With or without excessive adverbs, I think her comments are neither intelligent nor measured.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't crystal balls usually come in pairs?

Posted by: Lance Armstrong | July 15, 2008 1:21 PM

For you they might make an exception.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all arguing that AP classes aren't important to getting into college. I am saying that getting into a certain college isn't the end all and be all to living a happy life. Make more sense? I of course understand the importance of AP coursework when applying to college.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I am saying that getting into a certain college isn't the end all and be all to living a happy life.

But if you don't even aim high, you can't expect to reach higher than you aim, as if by magic. The laws of gravity (literally) won't allow it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Enquiring minds want to know, is there a nannycam in Lacey's house and has her child fallen off the sofa yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Lacey

"I'm not at all arguing that AP classes aren't important to getting into college. I am saying that getting into a certain college isn't the end all and be all to living a happy life. Make more sense? I of course understand the importance of AP coursework when applying to college."

Yada, yada, yada. The newest member of the OP Hall of Fame of Pretentious Bores.

Posted by: Blah, blah, blah | July 15, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Mental health days or no, college or no, AP or IB or no, soccer or couch potato, in the end, it does not matter. We all end up dead anyway. Life is too short for such angst. Enjoy the ride in whatever way suits you, and try not to hurt others.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Junior League? BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
A bunch of low self esteem pretentious bores trying to convince themselves that they are something they are not. What a joke.

Posted by: that's a riot! | July 15, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the ride in whatever way suits you, and try not to hurt others.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 2:36 PM

You're obviously new to OP.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Mona,

There'a a big difference in the impact on the team if one colleague has a less productive day than is his norm, come in late from a doctors appointment or takes a long lunch, and if that same colleague takes an entire day as an unplanned vacation day.

The difference is, I've never had to stay late because a colleague was less than productive on a given day. If a colleague is an unanticipated no-show, all bets are off. It's difficult to achieve work-life balance with inconsiderate colleagues.

YMMV.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Junior League doesn't get you as much as you thought..

Posted by: stunned | July 15, 2008 1:44 PM

Oh, yes, it does. It's not the Junior League's fault that people pick, choose, and repeate the etiquette advice they like and ignore what they do not.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Mental health days or no, college or no, AP or IB or no, soccer or couch potato, in the end, it does not matter. We all end up dead anyway."

Perry Steiner's motto.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"But if you don't even aim high, you can't expect to reach higher than you aim, as if by magic. The laws of gravity (literally) won't allow it."

Umm, no. This is a gross distortion of the laws of physics.

You can indeed "reach higher than you aim" for example by being caught in a thermal (updraft to you non-soaring types). Or by just missing your target, because your aim is terrible. Just like you can "reach lower than you aim."

(Flying is just throwing yourself at the ground and missing, after all.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 15, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

i really don't think anyone who is arguing against MHDs is in any position to do so...seeing as how many of you have spent the better part of your day on this blog! seriously...if you are not going to be productive at work, then maybe it's better to just stay home. oh wait, then maybe you'll look like a slacker? oh i see...you'd rather just appear to be an upstanding employee while you're really using up your company's time and resources.

for the record...i'm blogging on here because i'm on a MHD :)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"We all end up dead anyway."

There's a conversation stopper for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

So what's the college admissions equivalent of a thermal? And missing one's target through sheer incompetence would be like getting into Hahvahd or Yale through dumb luck. Examples?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat

"Umm, no. This is a gross distortion of the laws of physics. "

A great little ice breaker.

No wonder the socially awkward have trouble getting laid...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Etiquette advice delivered by someone using the phrase, "not brought up right"? Blessed irony.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

'Etiquette advice delivered by someone using the phrase, "not brought up right"? Blessed irony"

This point has already been made....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

And missing one's target through sheer incompetence would be like getting into Hahvahd or Yale through dumb luck. Examples?

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 3:10 PM

George W

Cash Warren

Chris Cuomo

Only if you translate "dumb luck" as "great connections"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"So what's the college admissions equivalent of a thermal? And missing one's target through sheer incompetence would be like getting into Hahvahd or Yale through dumb luck. Examples?"

What's the difference between "literally" and "figuratively?" Examples?

(And a figurative equivalent would be getting into an Ivy League or similar school with lower grades/test scores because you have other talents. Although both are bright by any measure, Eldrick Tont Woods and John Patrick McEnroe, Jr. both went to Stanford with academic credentials below the average for their accepted classmates. They just happened to have other skills.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | July 15, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

haha,thanks Grammar sheriff!I can never remember the conjugation of "to lie." I was trying to remember what Elements of Style said but alas I came up short.From your comment I guess you don't like MHD's?But hey,I could have been in class and forgotten how to conjugate it properly.Hundreds of Americans had to have been in class for the "well" v. "good" and "few" v. "less" lessons,but it clearly didn't stick so I guess it ultimately didn't matter whether they took a MHD or not.


Posted by: purple2 | July 15, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

apparently i didn't learn to proofread either.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"AP classes are obscene in the amount of work they require.

Posted by: free bird | July 15, 2008 10:44 AM"

I disagree. AP classes are indeed, quite challenging, but if the student cannot handle an AP class, then that student cannot handle colleges where AP-level work is just the BASIC level of work expected. And the student should not, in my opinion, be expected to do more than he or she can legitimately achieve by trying his or her best. In my experience, unreasonable expectations just set a person up for failure and/or burnout.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"I am saying that getting into a certain college isn't the end all and be all to living a happy life.

Posted by: Lacey | July 15, 2008 2:31 PM"

I agree. Getting into renowned colleges and doing well in them, will definitely provide great opportunities for starting one's career. However, living a happy life is dependent upon so many other things.

I know several professionals with prestigious backgrounds who are unhappy, and several that are happy. The difference is that the unhappy ones feel they are stagnating and do not know what they want to do in life, whereas the happy ones recognized their dreams and passions and went ahead to pursue them.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

During the years after my parents divorced, my mom worked full time and went to night school to get her master's. Once or twice a year, she would take one of us out of school to spend a day with her. It was one way that she guaranteed she was able to spend enough time with us by ourselves, without our siblings, and that she wouldn't be totally exhausted (just mostly exhausted). We continued that even after her career was much more manageable, and often on days when we needed a break from the stress of school. Those days are some of my most treasured childhood memories.

Posted by: LovedMyMom | July 15, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"To the pro-MHDers: Do you also let your kids cut games they're supposed to play in, thus potentially letting down their teammates? What if skipping a practice (or rehearsal) causes the child not to be allowed to play next time? Or is MHD only for school?"

Pretty much,it's only for school.School work can be made up on an individual basis.You go to school the next day,listen in class,copy a friend's notes(or those of a good note taker)either before or after class,read the textbook and during lunch ask your friends what the class discussed the previous day.If you're really stuck,set up an appointment to meet with the teacher.If you're only taking one or two mental health days a year and you have otherwise excellent attendance,the teacher generally won't reprimand you.
Basically,MHDs are an earned privilege.If you do well in school,contribute in class, take responsibility for making up work and can learn a lesson on your own,an MHD sets you back no more than a sick day would.My sister took MHD's and her teachers still raved about her when it came to school work and class participation.
On the other hand,you can't just "make up" an absence from a team or a play;sure the show must go on,but it'll be wobbly if someone misses his or her blocking or lines.In individual music lessons,it gets a little trickier to draw a fine line,but our parents always scolded us for wasting the tutor's time and money,since he or she didn't get paid for the missed lesson.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

In individual music lessons,it gets a little trickier to draw a fine line,but our parents always scolded us for wasting the tutor's time and money,since he or she didn't get paid for the missed lesson.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 3:56 PM

The norm is to pay up-front for music lessons and academic tutoring, a month at a time. If a student misses a lesson or is unprepared for it, he pays, not the tutor. Times have changed since 1952.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

July 15, 2008 3:56 PM

Were spacebars optional at your school?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

We had a two activity rule in our family -- you had what you did (school, job) + two activities. If you wanted to add an activity beyond that, you had to choose. This applied to the adults as well as the kids. Partly it was to keep me from putting a gazillion miles a year on the car driving kids around, partly to make sure we all sat down to dinner as a family at least 5 days/week, and partly to make sure the kids had some unstructured time in their lives (that's usually when inspiration/creativity hits), partly to teach them how to prioritize and make choices (which is what life's all about, after all).

As for being a "slacker", how's Ivy League undergrad & Ivy League grad school on a full research fellowship + stipend sound for "successful"? Oh, and the first week away at college my son sent back an email saying he'd explored a myriad of intramural activities, and was now making a decision as to which two he wanted to get deeply involved in. So it took.

Posted by: johnsondeb | July 15, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"The norm is to pay up-front for music lessons and academic tutoring, a month at a time. If a student misses a lesson or is unprepared for it, he pays, not the tutor. Times have changed since 1952."

Well thanks for blowing the hole in my "santa claus" myth. I never bothered to look at the payment plans for the lessons;I just took them. Apparently, my parents successfully duped me. :(

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

You are being so mean to each other today!

In between the hate, I can find a few good comments that will help me when my little precious gets old enough to particpate in fun activities.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 15, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

how's Ivy League undergrad & Ivy League grad school on a full research fellowship + stipend sound for "successful"?

Don't sprain your arm there patting yourself on the back. Maybe humility skipped a generation and he's a great kid. That would make him successful.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Nope,spacebars weren't optional.I just hate the space between the words and the punctuation mark.Especially since all those spaces add up and waste more paper.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The difference is that the unhappy ones feel they are stagnating and do not know what they want to do in life, whereas the happy ones recognized their dreams and passions and went ahead to pursue them.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 3:48 PM

I know many unhappy ones who feel they are stagnating and know exactly what they'd like to do but, either because of an inadequate or less respected educational background or because they are not living in a place that affords the opportunity they'd like, or because they married someone who does not support their goals, or because finances don't provide the necessary flexibility, they are stuck. Unhappiness doesn't mean an adult necessarily lack direction. Sometimes he is out of options that appeal. Maybe an extra AP class or two might have made the difference. Who knows?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"You are being so mean to each other today!"

How did evolution allow these timid creatures to survive? Mean? This is a civilized cotillion compared to ON BALANCE.

Posted by: Sigh | July 15, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Your children can only be overscheduled if you the parent allow it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 4:13 PM

Sounds like what they are experiencing what we humans call "life".......

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Nope,spacebars weren't optional.I just hate the space between the words and the punctuation mark.Especially since all those spaces add up and waste more paper.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 4:10 PM

psst. don't anyone tell her this is a paperless environment. we'll let her live in the illusion that she can create her very own personalized system of punctuation AND equate the virtual with the actual.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Your children can only be overscheduled if you the parent allow it.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 4:16 PM

Now that we have the word of God on this seminal topic, we can all go home.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't overschedule my kids with myriad pointless activities that teach them nothing practical. But I do fill up their time. In the morning, they get dressed, make their beds, make their lunches,and help with the breakfast dishes before going to school. When they get home, they have an hour to relax, and then homework while I make dinner. Afterwards, they help clean up the kitchen and do the dishes. By then it is usually 7:30. At that point, it is chore time again. On Mondays, they vacuum and pick up the house, Tuesdays, fold and put away their laundry. Wednesdays and Thursdays they can read or use the computer. Fridays is family movie night. Lights out at 9 pm.

They are 6, 9, and 12, and are learning to be responsible and self-reliant.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"psst. don't anyone tell her this is a paperless environment. we'll let her live in the illusion that she can create her very own personalized system of punctuation AND equate the virtual with the actual."

Yes,I am aware this is a paperless environment.However,since it's easier to edit things that I've written when I print them out,I've started typing without spaces.I've been doing it all summer;it's become a habit.Don't worry,I'll break it before I go back to school in the fall.:)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Did you scrub the bathroom floor today? DID YOU?

Yes, Mommie.

Yes, Mommie what?

Yes, Mommie Dearest.

When I told you to call me that, I wanted you to mean it.

Posted by: the 4:32 post reminds me....... | July 15, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

4:32 must be Cecilia's and Donna's neighbor in Mythical Parenting Land.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

for the record...i'm blogging on here because i'm on a MHD :)

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 3:08 PM
------===============---------============----

If you are on a MHD and this is what you are doing (meaning reading & commenting on this blog), you need a REAL mental health day!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

When I told you to call me that, I wanted you to mean it.

Posted by: the 4:32 post reminds me....... | July 15, 2008 4:40 PM


Call me Mommie Dearest if you want, but my kids will grow up to be self sufficient and responsible. Yours, on the other hand, will end up unemployed, living in your basement, watching tv, and asking you for cigarette and booz money (if you are lucky and they don't steal it from you).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, down time is important. I had a friend in hs who was so stressed about getting into the right college that she was actually having constant anxiety attacks during tests, which meant that she was not doing well on them because of the anxiety. Her parents were really pushing her hard to do the pre-med thing in college, but it was insane because they started pushing when she was a freshman in high school. She ended up seeing a bunch of shrinks and was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications through most of junior and senior years.

Posted by: Emily | July 15, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

wow, quite the sniping all day. everyone believes their side is the right side and everyone else is a dunderhead. no wonder the country is doing so well, including its banks and automotive corporations. encouraging.
p.s. lacey still has the right idea of balance.

Posted by: lacey is on the right track | July 15, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

When they get home, they have an hour to relax, and then homework while I make dinner. Afterwards, they help clean up the kitchen and do the dishes. By then it is usually 7:30. At that point, it is chore time again. On Mondays, they vacuum and pick up the house, Tuesdays, fold and put away their laundry. Wednesdays and Thursdays they can read or use the computer. Fridays is family movie night. Lights out at 9 pm.

They are 6, 9, and 12, and are learning to be responsible and self-reliant.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 4:32 PM

I call bull*cough*s%$t.

4:32 is a 62 year old childless woman imagining what a perfect parent she had been if she had ever met a man who met her high standards.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

p.s. lacey still has the right idea of balance.

Posted by: lacey is on the right track | July 15, 2008 5:20 PM

really posted by: Lacey

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Damn. Now I actually have to pay my Nanny overtime. Blasted Montgomery County!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

really posted by: Lacey

*****
nope.

Posted by: posted by lacey's defender because lacey sounds normal | July 15, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

4:32's children apparently have no sports, extracurricular activities, outside interests, or friends?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I had a friend in hs who was so stressed about getting into the right college that she was actually having constant anxiety attacks during tests, which meant that she was not doing well on them because of the anxiety.

Emily

This was a sign that your friend probably wasn't doctor material. Getting into a good college is a piece of cake compared to the constant anxiety later of doing a residency.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

To 6:07 pm. I think you are right. My friend did not in fact want to become a doctor. It was her parents' dream, not hers. My point was that it was ridiculous to put so much stress on a teenager for a goal that was so far in the future. I think the kids who are driven to such demanding professions probably do it because they want it, not because someone else wants it for them.

Posted by: Emily | July 15, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who knew that a few parents letting their kids take a (well-earned) day off once in a while would cause such a fuss?

Posted by: ishgebibble | July 15, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I was one of those overachieving kids who floored people with the number of activities I was participating in. I wasn't padding my resume for college; I simply had
too many interests and commitments. Letting go of an activity was tantamount to admitting defeat and incompetence. I measured success by the number of things I could complete and complete well. If I received less than a B+ in a class,I was letting myself down.
My parents encouraged none of these perceptions;in fact,they tried to discourage them without appearing not to support me.
These misconceptions didn't fall away until my cousin died, and I had to see a therapist who helped me disable many of these skewed perceptions.

I'm not saying everyone who's overscheduled needs to see a shrink. But it's helpful to help your child find mentors outside of the family. There have been so many times that my mom told me something over and over, but I didn't get it until I heard it from another source. No matter what parents say, their children often believe their parents have entirely different expectations. The situation only becomes worse when a student's performance is affected by being overscheduled. Then he or she is afraid of communicating that there's a problem because mom and dad might get mad. A mentor outside of the family, like a teacher or a coach, can help the child find a more balanced schedule and get back on track.
And often, I felt more comfortable telling my parents that I was in a rough patch when I had a solution to the problem than when I could only tell them that I was having trouble. This method reduced anxiety on their part and my part because they began to trust that I had the maturity to handle my difficulties before they got out of hand.

Finally, what kept me de-stressed was the way my parents greeted grades lower than a B. I had a fairly high GPA so when they saw a B or even a C+ once, their first question wasn't why, but is everything okay? This led to a less confrontational discussion, fewer excuses and more honesty on my part. Then they gave me a grace period of another quarter. If the grade went back up to its usual standing, they didn't ask any more questions. If it stayed where it was, then we had a constructive discussion. Because my parents followed my, and my brother's, progress in our classes and took advantage of occasional teacher/parent communication, they know the grades we usually get in the different subjects and know how well we're applying ourselves in the course. This also helps them gage how much they need to get involved when grades slip below our average.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

This board is full of trolls and it is ruining it. It needs to be login only.

Posted by: DCer | July 15, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

from Billie:

>... It was frustrating to hear him whine about what he couldn't be doing because he was doing homework when if he just got off his butt he would have been done the homework and doing the fun stuff instead of still sitting at the table looking at his homework.

I wonder if he may have had a learning disability that was not diagnosed? I had SUCH a hard time with homework when I was in elementary school that I should have been tested but was not.

Kindergarten is WAY too young for homework.

Posted by: Alex | July 16, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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