For me, one of the best parts of being a Mom is watching my boys grow up right before my eyes. I love watching them discover new things, master a difficult concept and simply giggle and imagine. Yet the growing-up-so-fast is also one of the biggest challenges of motherhood.
Although we spend a lot of time playing together, I’ve noticed that our special one-on-one time (OK, technically most of it is two-on-one, but you get the idea) is dwindling. Between year-round swimming, soccer, music, gymnastics, golf… plus our trips to the zoo, Science Center, Children’s Museum, neighborhood park, church, playdates and normal day-to-day activities and errands, it feels like our play time together is getting shorter and shorter. It breaks my heart. (What does this have to do with these ballet pictures… trust, me I’m getting to that!)
So, I’ve been struggling to decide what to cut from their schedules. I feel like music is important. And living in Arizona with so many pools, swimming lessons are essential, right? But they love soccer… and golf. Plus, Liam really wants to take an art class now. (And how can a designer Mommy say no to that?) Ugh… what’s a Mom to do???
Contrast that with Bettijo’s schedule… She’s is a total Supermom when it comes to her family’s plan. She keeps it simple: no extracurricular activities until piano lessons — which she begins at age 7 — although she does make an exception for swimming lessons each summer. (And I must point out, she and her family stay plenty busy even without the extracurricular lessons!)
Bettijo likes to dabble in photography and recently had the opportunity to take some photos of a blossoming dancer. She is the daughter of a friend who keeps a fairly rigorous schedule to accommodate her daughter’s dance practice and competitions. She’s talented and beautiful and Bettijo’s girls couldn’t stop gushing about those SHOES (they both want a pair now!) It was proof that the scheduling problem certainly doesn’t get any easier as kids grow.
So all this got us thinking: how do you decide what opportunities to register your children for? How many is too many? What’s the first activity to go? What activity, as a parent, do you not want your kids to go without? Finally, the big kicker: how do you make sure that the activities they’re in are ones they really want and not a case of parent living vicariously through child?