Amongst my colleague working mamas, we all share our woes. Sleepless nights, trying to make dinner in a short time frame, hating daylight savings and trying to run ALL THE ERRANDS on our lunch break are just a few. Some have it worse than others, just like contributors on this blog but one issue unites them all:
I would like to say this is only my friends with older children but it is already starting with age 3. I was recently in a little support group for working moms at my work and this came up. EVERY mom at the table had something to say. Soccer, band, music, tae kwon do, ballet, on and on and on. High schoolers, elementary age and preschoolers. It was question after question about whether we were doing the right thing.
Do you put them in a bunch to test out the waters of different things to find their calling or are you doing it to boost some resume/college application in the future?
Are you doing it to keep up with the Joneses or are you looking for something for the kids to really get into?
Are you looking for academic choices to challenge them mentally or for physical ones to wear your kids out because they get 30 minutes of recess all week?
Are you pushing things YOU want to attend or letting them pick?
Do you eat up your weekend shuttling kids to soccer games or book up your evenings all week?
Everyone was second guessing their choices and not really sure why. Everyone had a different story, a different background. But the moral of all the stories was WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME AS IT IS! Why are we pushing ourselves and family to do ALL THE THINGS.? Is it really worth it? Are we making well rounded kids or just overtired parents?
I personally believe 3 is too little. Landon gets plenty of exercise at daycare and by us just going to the park and such on weekends. On top of that, I don’t want to be boxed in to an activity each weekend. My kid still naps (thank heavens) and often for long chunks so our weekend fun outings are usually only mornings. So that is 2 chunks of time to just do what we want. I don’t want some of that time always dedicated to soccer or whatever. I also already pay enough in childcare costs, I don’t need another bill for entertaining my kid.
As for older, I still am unsure. I never played sports and I kind of regret it. While I don’t believe in heaping on the pressure to your kids, I think maybe a little healthy push towards something isn’t so bad. My parents let me choose what I wanted to do. I did cheerleading for a few years for a rec team and a few stints in gymnastics for the same reason. I sometimes wish they would have put me in something more exploratory to see if I would like team sports and competition. Maybe a clinic or short camp would have been a sound choice for everyone. No weeknight sprints to do everything. I could spend a Saturday or two checking something out to see if I liked it. Ideally school would provide this to some extent but we know the arts are slashed to pieces in budgets and sports getting pretty cut throat early on. It is a giant mess I sure am not gonna solve here but soon I am going to have to revisit it and I am just not ready.
What are your thoughts on extracurricular activities? How many is too many? Too few? I would love to hear from some seasoned moms who have some dos and don’ts.
Photo via woodleywonderworks on Flickr