Underprogrammed

I feel like I have blogged about this before and I am about to become the really annoying person who tells the same story over and over again (OK, who am I kidding, I am that person. Really. Did I ever tell you about the time…), but I’m too lazy and tired to troll through my archives to find out for sure. So forgive me if you’ve read this rant before, but I spent most of dinner the other night ranting to M about it (wild hand gestures knocking over water glasses and all) and the topic is still on my mind.

I feel like my children are the only ones in the world (OK, in our town at least) who do not play seventeen sports, take a foreign language, and have at least a playdate a day. I spent my hours working the book fair last week listening to the other moms complain about how they never have a moment to breathe as they chauffeur their (five-year old) children from activity to activity. “We have school from 9-11:30, I pick up McDonalds on the way to gymnastics. Right after gymnastics we head to so-and-so’s for a quick playdate, then at 3:30 she goes to ballet. After ballet is soccer, and then it is home for dinner and Spanish flash cards to get ready for her Spanish class tomorrow afternoon.”

My eyes about bugged out of my head. And then I slide under the table just a bit as I thought about how little we do. Swimming lessons (because everyone has to learn to swim, in my opinion) and gymnastics because the kids begged and begged and begged. At best, we have a playdate once every other week or so. The rest of the time? We hang out at home. Not doing flash cards. Or we run errands. When do these folks get their grocery shopping done? Or the dry cleaning? Or the Target runs? Seriously! I can’t imagine where they fit it in.

I probably shouldn’t complain, because I now know why we are always the only people at the library in the afternoons, or the playground. But my mind is totally blown away by the number of activities the rest of the world engage in. And please don’t get me started on the weekends, when it seems like people are running from soccer field to baseball field to swim meet. It can’t be healthy, right? Children need to have downtime and know how to entertain themselves with empty boxes and scraps of yarn, right? Or am I setting my kids up for some sort life-long failure because they don’t have any interest in playing soccer or baseball or any other team sport?

Am I holding them back because I am too lazy to be interested in shlepping them to all those activities? Or because really, how much must all those activities cost? I like to THINK that my kids like hanging out at home with boxes and string, but maybe they would rather be running after a little black and white ball. Stranger things have happened, I suppose. I just can’t imagine a scenario in which my children fail in life because I didn’t take them to soccer and baseball and tennis and ballet at age three and five. I just can’t. And so, we are going to continue on our current course in only enrolling in activities that are necessary (school, swimming) and those that the children beg to attend. And ask me in 20 years how my kids are doing….I’ll let you know if my plan worked.

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