Time to Wake Up: Do We Overwork Our Kids?


It is 8 o’ clock in the evening on a Tuesday. A time when many people are putting their children to bed, preparing for the next work day. Homework is packed in bookbags, the children are reading a novel in their beds, awaiting lights out, having already showered and bathed. Lunch for the next day is packed and ready to go. Parents are watching some form of television and relaxing. And then there is my house…

My fourth grader smells so bad from hockey stink that I can not even go near him as he finishes the last of his endless homework. He still has two tests to study for, has to eat some form of dinner, and MUST shower. My sixth grader is working on projects and tests that I have lost count of because I need to check eight different teacher websites to figure out what is happening in the world of sixth grade.

My husband has taken the reigns over one child as I help the other AND get some form of dinner on the table, because we all just got home from our day of work, school and sports practice. Bedtime will near 9:30, which, in my mind, is WAY TOO LATE.

The kids are cranky, I have had just about enough, and my husband is losing patience trying to show why the number seven can be made 8 million different ways according to the “new math”. By the time my head hits the pillow I am so exhausted I don’t even remember to call anyone back who has called me in the past week.

I find solace in the fact that, on those rare occasions that I get to speak to some of my friends, they are going through the same things I am. Their children are also loaded down with homework and tests, play travel sports and everyone is utterly exhausted. We share about how when we were kids, we don’t really remember after school chaos. We came home, played outside, did our homework, ate dinner somewhere near 5:30 or 6:00 PM, and then spent our evenings relaxing.

So what happened here? Today travel sports have become so common that the routine of the household has changed. DRAMATICALLY. I posted a photo on social media the other day of my kids fast asleep in the back of my car at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We were on our way to hockey practice.


There were some comments of “haha” and “wow”. But, one comment caught my attention. “Is this a sign that we overwork our kids?” I replied simply, “Yes.” That comment resonated with me. So much, in fact, that I went home after practice and thought about it all night.

Change was needed, and fast. Dinner had become an on-the-run event, and the last thing I thought of. School was becoming secondary and – oh my – I am an educator. How contradictory. Family life was becoming based on hockey rinks in different parts of the northeast and different tracks across Staten Island. At least we were together.

Sometimes it just takes someone else to make us realize we need to take a step back and re-evaluate. And because it was coming from someone who sits right next to me most nights freezing her patooty off at the rink, I knew she was probably thinking the same things I was. Is it all worth it?

I have no idea. But as long as my children enjoy their sports lives, and I can maintain some sanity, hopefully, we will be okay with the chaos. However, it made me more aware of the fact that I need to make better nutritional choices for my family, find ways to help my children keep their grades where they belong – not where we settle for them to be – and raise well-rounded children who will remember love and happiness with some chaos in between.

So, stay tuned, because I am a mom on a mission to create organized chaos and raise happy, healthy, non smelly, athletic geniuses! Oh, a mom can dream!

See you soon!

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Melissa Pizirusso is a full time working mom and Kindergarten teacher. Life in beTween is about her journey in raising healthy, happy children, students and athletes that are approaching their tween years. From travel sports to multiple tests per week, her family is the busy family you may relate to. Visit Melissa’s website at www.lifeinbetweenblog.weebly.com.

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