I live five houses from the end of our cul-de-sac. Despite the fact that a plow knocked down the stop sign years ago, I always come to a complete stop at the end of the street. It is not because I am pulling out on a busy street. I think the street has five or six houses on it. The reason I come to a complete stop is because in the distance between my garage and the end of the street, I have forgotten where I am going. Some of you may think I am crazy, but the rest of you can probably relate.

I leave my house several times a day to run my kids to school and activities. Sometimes I only have one kid in the car and sometimes I have to pick up a whole carload of them. I can’t even imagine how many times I come through the intersection at the end of my street. I think yesterday was eight times and today will be at least ten times. Yesterday, my daughter sent me a text asking me to make another round trip to bring her dinner at practice an hour before I was supposed to pick her up. She obviously forgot she was not an only child and that I might be in the middle of 18 other things. I told her to chew some gum and hold on a little longer.

I try to remember to pack everything I need, but I always forget something. Last week was the first soccer game of the season so I had to put the chairs in the back of the truck. Sadly, I forgot the sunscreen (I actually burned!) and water for the dogs. Yesterday I went shopping for my girl scout event and left the list on the counter at home. I planned to pick up pizza on my way home from picking up my daughter yesterday and forgot to order it. (Thankfully she got out a half hour late!) My brain is on overload and even with lists, I still forget things. I even forgot to pick up a girl in a carpool once. I have at least ten carpools that my kids are involved in. I get texts all week with changes to the carpool – sick kids, conflicts, add someone else, etc. The good news is that I remembered in time and went back to get her. Carpools are a busy parent’s lifesaver, but if I don’t put it all on the calendar, including all the changes, I am sure to forget.

I had to color code the calendar. All five of us have a color highlighter, so at a glance, I can see who has activities that day. Our calendar includes my driving schedule, my husband’s travel schedule, practices, concerts and games. I keep an additional weekly dry erase calendar and a work calendar, too. I cannot keep an electronic calendar. Everyone in the family looks at it. Even though my husband works for a paper company, I refuse to print out new sheets every time there is a change. I can’t even check my email without sitting down with both my work and personal computers.

So why do I do it? I often ask myself the same question. Why not just limit the kids activities? It will save time, money and stress. Honestly, my kids are in activities for these reasons:

1. My parents didn’t sign me up for any activities – no sports, music or Girl Scouts. My only extra curricular activity was CCD (religious education classes). Fun!

2. I want my kids to try different things and become a well rounded person. Education is not limited to the classroom.

3. Kids who are involved in activities stay out of trouble. I can already see signs of trouble from neighborhood kids that have too much idle time.

4. My kids enjoy it! I ask my kids all the time if this is too much for them. Sure, I get complaints about practice some times, but they are proud to be a part of something and enjoy the friends they have made along the way.

So, for the next several years, I will continue to stop at the end of my street and take a breath before proceeding. Hopefully, my kids will think I am just a cautious driver and not a crazy woman with a short memory!