Our family is not overscheduled, with our two children (10 and 13) but it is a busier routine than we ever experienced 40 years ago when we were their same age. My husband and I often discuss this. We allow each child two outside activities, and since they share one (4-H) it doesn't destroy our family time. Also, we homeschool, so we see lots of one another!
When my husband and I were children, we had perhaps one activity, or maybe two. But they were after school, and we walked to them, so they didn't involve parents. We didn't spend lots of time in the car, and usually the siblings were not "sentenced" to watching endless practices of their older brother or sister.
The new arrangement, we think, is the result of our changing culture. Kids aren't safe outside; moms aren't home to keep an eye on the neighborhood. Our kids can't run down the street to the park, or walk a mile to an activity as we did at their age. There aren't many other children out "running around" the neighborhood and, beyond the street where we live, we don't know many folks -- we all live that "garage door" existence. It's sad, but true.
We NEED outside activities to provide both social opportunities and physical exercise for our growing children. These things used to be built into the culture. In those days, the neighbors pretty much reinforced what we taught at home, and we knew lots of moms were looking out for us. It's sad this has changed. But I am thankful for the wonderful families we have met, and with whom we attend activities with our children - we are providing a caring and stable community for them that way. We meet often, but it always involves a car ride. (That's where recorded books come in, but that's another topic!)