When I read about kids with multiple extra curricular activities, I become sad. My children don’t do anything special. Well, there’s cheerleading for Zoe, but, well, OK, no. Scratch that. I’ll count the cheerleading. She enjoys it and I’m paying for it, so I may as well include it. So that’s one. ONE activity. The other two don’t do anything. They come home from school and do homework and have dinner and maybe use the computer a bit, maybe we dance, but that’s it.
When I was my oldest daughter’s age, I had multiple lessons: violin, gymnastics, dance (ballet, tap AND jazz HELLO), theatre, ice skating. I think there may have even been a year or two of tennis, volleyball, and soccer. Am I failing my children by not having them in extracurricular activities, let alone team-oriented ones? I don’t mean the whole soccer mom thing where everyone is tired and rushing home to eat before a practice, but a normal activity once or twice a week. Here’s a secret that’s not a secret anymore because I’m about to tell you: I hate doing things during the week. If I could find three different classes (because of course none of them would want to do the same thing at the same time in the same class) on Saturday morning, we’d be good.
At my 12-year-old’s annual checkup yesterday, the doctor asked her what activities she was in and I tried my best to sink into my chair. I wanted it to swallow me up and make me invisible. “I’m going to join the dance club when it starts again this month and I run with a girls only group when it gets warm.” These are future things, not things she’s doing right now. She does nothing right now after school or on weekends by way of enrichment other than read All The Books.
I had her look in the program guide for winter activities and nothing appealed to her. If it’s not fashion, sewing, or drawing, she’s not interested. I found a sewing class on Saturday mornings and I know she’d love it but I want her to be moving. I want her to take a dance class even if it’s what’s considered hip hop these days. As long as there’s nothing played with lyrics like let me lick you down, or drop that ass, back that ass up, let me see your ass — you know, typical lyrics — I’m good. Dance away. And the boy. He’d LOVE a tumbling class, I know it. So, why, then, are they doing nothing? It’s because everything is during the week. Zoe’s cheerleading practices are twice a week but they’re at the school and that’s all of 7 minutes away. The other things? There’s driving and the stopping and the going of the driving and the waiting and the trying not to stay on my phone the whole time they’re in class AND OH MY GLOB I’M THE PROBLEM.
I am hindering their social and skill development because I dislike weeknights. I also dislike crabby kids and I know full damn well that’s what I’d wind up with. We are so routine-oriented that I’m afraid to upset it. At the same time THIS ROUTINE SUCKS. It’s the same thing day after day after day after irritating night becomes day. We need something new and unfortunately, I think that newness will only come during the week. I am fighting it (like I’m fighting the realization that it’s January and camp(s) registration starts this month. NO, IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. JANUARY) but I know it needs to happen. It’s not just the breaking of routine (or the subsequent late dinners, later bed times, whiny kids at night because dinner is late and whiny kids in the morning from not enough sleep); the kids need to experience…something else. I feel badly for having kept them from activities this long and I want to make it up to them (by forcing one or more of them to take piano.) I would just truly rather do all of my making up on Saturday afternoons.