This post is inspired by one of Ink's posts that addressed the way her weekends are different from the way they were in her single days. And what she said connected to some of the guilt I've been having lately. Of course, I have lots of sources of guilt, but let's address just one of them, shall we?
Confession: My kids are not currently enrolled in any lessons, classes, or activities.
Now. Part of this is because we were gone for a lot of the summer (as we often are), so it's hard to do much more than a short stint of swim lessons. Plus, since the boy broke his leg, soccer was a bust (and we were going to miss classes because of our trip anyway).
We have done lessons in the past. The boy (who is six) did karate for a while last year, but he stopped wanting to go because it was on the afternoon that my husband and his brother would get together so that the cousins could play. When the boy was a toddler, he did gymnastics, but he was more interested in the construction of the apparatus than actually doing the activities, so we stopped.
The girl (who is four) did dance last year, but at the end of the year, she got tired of going. She says she doesn't want to go anymore because she already knows how to dance, and at dance class she just gets bossed around a lot and doesn't really get to actually dance (despite the fact that she had a very good, fun dance teacher). In the car yesterday, I said, "But didn't you like learning routines with the other girls and doing the recitals?" Her response: "Let's just not talk about it right now."
We signed them both up for soccer in the summer, but the girl didn't want to do it because her teacher was a boy, and, as I mentioned above, our boy's leg was broken. Plus, as I also said above, we missed a lot b/c of the trip anyway.
And here are just some of the things their friends are doing: horse riding lessons, soccer, T-ball, swim lessons, dance, gymnastics, piano lessons, 4-H, French lessons, Chinese lessons, karate, summer camps, and so on.
Currently, they are both expressing some interest in gymnastics again, so we might try to get that going. But here's the thing: These kinds of activities are really disruptive to a peaceful family lifestyle. Here is a list of things that my kids like to do that are impacted significantly by lessons: afternoons with grandparents, visits to farmers market, bike riding, gardening, family dinners together, fishing, tea parties, tree climbing, baking, kayaking, time with friends, time with cousins, weekend adventures, reading, trips to the park, trips to the beach, hikes, building things, drawing, and so on. Oh, and plus the boy is starting to have some homework (just a little bit).
It's not that I don't think they should be involved in some organized activities. I do. I worry about them being left behind in music or soccer or languages or golf or whatever. I worry that, suddenly, they will be 10 and 12, and they'll be upset that it's too late to start soccer or play baseball or dance en pointe. Or that they'll feel like they missed out on something. Or that they'll only speak one language. Or that they won't get into college. Or that they'll start doing drugs because they have no structure . . .
But now that the boy is in school everyday until 2:30, I'm realizing that there just isn't that much time in the day, especially if we want to all sit down at the table together to have dinner in the evenings. Plus, they go to my mom's two afternoons a week, and the kids would hate to lose that time. Maybe it would be different if I didn't work, but I'm not sure it would matter.
I don't have any conclusions here. I just have a quandry. So I'm eager to hear your thoughts, my dear blog peeps.