OK, so you know those people who complain about how busy they are - but it's not with work or anything really "important"? It's more like, "Oh gawd, I'm sooooo busy, because Eustace and Duncan and Dorset have Tae Kwon Do on Mondays, baseball practice on Tuesdays, violin and cello on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, soccer all day on Saturdays, baseball for the OTHER team they play for Wednesdays, and Kumon on Fridays." My head wants to explode just reading that.
A few years ago, before I had any kids, I was showing a house to my client and on the wall of the kitchen the home owners had a schedule with different colors for each kid. They had four kids and from what I could gather each child participated in 2-3 activities per week and didn't get home from their activities before 9 PM on most nights. These were elementary and middle school aged kids. When did they eat dinner? When did they do their homework? What time did they finally get to bed? When did they have time to play with their Ponies and Legos or ride their bikes?
Right then and there I decided 2 kids max and only one activity per child at a time. Forget them, I couldn't take that kind of schedule!
I get that you want to have a well-rounded kid. I do too. I want my kids to try a lot of things and figure out what really interests them. And, let's face it, there are SO MANY things they could try:
Baseball (many kids we know play on multiple teams - why is that?)
Dance (Ballet, Jazz and/or Tap, Interpretive, Water Ballet, Competitive Jazz Aerobics)
Tae Kwon Do
Art Classes (Painting, sculpture, drawing, pottery, etc.)
Computer Classes (Animation, robotics, programming, etc.)
Instrument lessons (Violin and piano seem to be the dominant ones right now)
Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, Chinese)
Just to name a few. And I know I'm missing a bunch.
As the parent, though, I feel I have to draw the line and make the kids choose just one - MAYBE two - things at a time. Eustace can't be a violin prodigy, a soccer star, a math whiz and an Eagle Scout - can he? Especially when he's got two other siblings who want to do that much too? When does it become a bunch of shit you're just running your kid around to just so you don't have to entertain them?
I actually overhead a mother the other day complaining that school was taking away from her children's activities. Her direct quote was: "I don't know how the school expects Elmer to get all his homework done when he's playing on 3 baseball teams right now. It's ridiculous how much work they send home for him. What do they do at school all day if he has this much to bring home? We just don't have time for it all. We're far too busy!"
Ummm....Isn't school kind of like a job? Shouldn't school be the first on the list and then if there's time they can do the rest? I asked her, "Why is he on 3 teams? Isn't it more important for Elmer to study so that he can go to college or get a job someday?"
She looked at me like I was speaking Japanese. "Elmer needs to stick with baseball, because that will be his job someday. Elmer is well on his way to being a professional baseball player."
I did not know this woman, she was a friend of a friend. Our mutual friend gave me the look that said, "Jennn....don't start with this lady. I would like to keep her as my friend so keep your big opinionated mouth shut."
I obediently clamped my mouth shut and excused myself from the conversation before I literally slapped this idiotic woman upside her head.
This is not unusual. You go to a party in this town and you hear stupid shit like:
"We have Eloise in Girl Scouts, Kumon, advanced hairbraiding, piano and she has real potential to be a professional racquetball player. We can barely get her reading done every night. The teacher wants her to read 2 chapters a night on top of all the homework!"
It's not just the kids' activities that everyone's complaining about. I also hear a lot about busy schedules that the moms are keeping these days. Friday night I was at a school event I had a hand in planning and this is what I heard from one of the moms:
"I just don't know when you found the time to do this, Jen! You work full time and you take care of the kids. How did you get this done?"
"Eh. I had a lot of help. It was a big committee. I'm tired, no doubt, and I'm glad it's over. I need to start learning how to say 'No' more."
"Oh I know! I'm always being hit up to help with this kind of stuff. They think because I'm home and I don't work I have time to put in on this kind of stuff, but I really don't! I do morning carpool, so we're out the door by 7:50. I pick everyone up and drop them off by 8:15. I head to the gym for my 8:30 Hot Yoga class, do that for an hour, cool off with a swim and then meet the girls in the cafe for an organic smoothie. We usually wrap up around 11 so I can hit Target and Whole Foods - can't get out of either of those places for under fifty bucks, am I right, Jen? I check my voicemail and email about this time and realize I have about 30 messages I need to return, so I pull over and do that. Once I'm done with messages, I grab Seamus' dry cleaning and head to Michael's to get all the supplies I'll need for whatever class project Eugene seems to have due every week - don't we just live at Michael's, Jen? Then it's about time for me to run to the courts for my 1:30 tennis lesson with Alejandro - who, by the way, is ah-may-zing. After an hour of staring at Alejandro's butt, teeheehee, I mean learning new technique from Alejandro, I head home to shower and get some dinner ready for the kids. After all, we've only got about 35 minutes to eat as soon as they walk in the door before the first activity of the evening starts. Most nights Seamus and I are running in different directions with kids. Weekends are even worse with each kid having 2 or 3 games every day."
I stood there with my fake smile plastered on my face thinking to myself: What is Alejandro so amazing at and when do you update your Pinterest account? Because making time for Pinterest is way more important than shopping, I haven't been to the grocery store in a week, but my Pinterest account is ah-may-zing.
So I finally had to interrupt her and ask, "What kind of drugs are you on?"
"Drugs. Are you one of those moms who pops the kids' Ritalin to keep going? Are you guzzling Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy drinks or is it just straight up cocaine?"
"Oh my God, Jen. You are hysterical!" she laughed and walked off.
I don't think those bitches will ever let me in on the secret.
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