on all those extra curricular activities…

What is it with parents these days?

Why do we feel like we have to cram our kids days and afternoons and weekends with a million different things and make it impossible to have anything that even remotely resembles free time?

I’ve known a lot of parents over the many years of standing on school playgrounds waiting for the bell to ring, and I can’t count all the times I’ve thought to myself, “how the actual fuck do you find time to do all that shit?Like, don’t you ever just think that they might not need to be so busy? Or so active? Don’t you ever just want a quiet afternoon or evening where you could chill and not be on the go til the day is long over?

Maybe I’m just a bad mum {obviously}, maybe I’m missing something, I really don’t know. But when one of my kids spent his whole first soccer season complaining about every single training session he had to attend, then complaining every Saturday morning about having to play, there was no way he was signing up the next year. He actually asked, insisted he really loved it and wouldn’t whinge anymore. I said no fucking way buddy, choose another sport.

{Okay, maybe not in those exact words.}

Maybe with three kids close in age I had to be a bit tough, they were limited to one sport or activity each because it just wasn’t do-able any other way. Oh, I guess it could have been do-able if the husband and I wanted to spend every week night on a cold oval or in a stinky indoor sports place, but we decided we’d rather not. So one thing each it was.

They were always free to choose what they wanted to do, unless their choice was based on zero sense, common or otherwise. One happily stuck to soccer {or football if you’ve been raised in an ethnic family as I have}, one tried soccer followed by karate, rugby, gymnastics, and music. My daughter did ballet and gymnastics, and the overwhelming feeling when she decided to stop ballet was relief. Despite the swelling in my heart watching her huge smile because she loved it so much, the kid had absolutely zero rhythm or sense of timing. And I’m not being a bitch because these days she actually watches her old ballet videos when she feels like some pee-your-pants laughs.

My youngest has the fortune of being ten years younger than his nearest sibling, so he should in theory have more choices before him. But there are signs he is a lot like the brother who wanted to try everything and in the end loved only music. So far we have had a year of soccer, which was a repeat of his brother except this one made sure to never actually kick the ball. Not once. All season. There was almost judo, where he backed out the minute before I signed him up. Currently he would like to learn to be a drummer. Because obviously we have space for a drum kit in this house.

My point is that while sports are healthy and to be encouraged and musical instruments are awesome and I wish I could play any single one of them, I don’t get why parents think they need to offer up every spare minute of their lives to make their kids happy. What ever happened to the old go and play outside? Climb trees and have adventures with just your imagination and some of those stray branches I’ve been ignoring all Winter and will need to sweep up before birthday season rolls around?

There is definitely some of that unique schoolyard peer pressure, served up by the kind of parents who run every school committee and spend their weekends covering library books in clear adhesive plastic with not one fucking bubble or ripple to be seen. In the area I live in the expectations are unmistakeable, and huge: thou shalt be a martyr and dedicate every minute of your life to giving your child EVERYTHING.

Well I’m not interested in being a martyr and don’t think it should be synonymous with motherhood.

And my kids are fine with that too.

Plus there’s always that ballet video to cheer us all up.

 

 

  1. Hahahaha I love this. Alas I don’t have kids but I see it all over Facebook with friends’ kids who are doing EVERYTHING!! And why do school holidays have to be filled with activities? What happened to kids being bored and living with it?
    I never did one extra curricular activity as my parents 1) couldn’t afford it and 2) couldn’t be fucked! I remember being shot down when I asked to go to Johnny Young Talent Time School – oh what could have been?!

    Reply

    1. Being bored and learning to live with it: fuck yes!!! I used to spend holidays with my grandparents who didn’t even have a video player ffs! I did nothing either but was jealous of one very non talented friend who went to Johnny Young Talent School, we were such little jealous bitches: “she can’t even sing OR dance!”

      Reply

      1. BAHAHAAHA! I feel like we’re the resilient ones now that NEVER get bored because we know how to entertain ourselves 🙂

        Reply

  2. Oh don’t even start me on overscheduling… Swimming lessons and one activity. That’s it. No way I can be fucked doing anything more than that.

    Reply

    1. I like having lazy kids tbh.

      Reply

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