Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Not a Soccer Mom

If I don't enroll my daughter in soccer this season:

1) she will not make friends

2) she will not get any exercise

3) she will not get a scholarship for college...

4) if she gets into college at all

5) I am just generally a bad parent

It's all about the extracurricular activities once your kid is in grade school. When I was a kid, it was somehow enough that I, you know, went to school. Not anymore.

I've spoken to several parents who have their kids involved in a different afterschool activity every day. Some of those parents work, so I'm not sure how they manage it. They do tend to have jobs where they can work from home. None of them are doctors.

I already have my kids in an afterschool program/daycare every day. Being able to pick them up in time to shuttle them to an extracurricular activity is not really within the realm of reality.

Of course, soccer is on the weekends. So that can't be my excuse. But we already do two different dance classes on the weekends. Is it possible for me to not be shuttling my kids around between extracurricular activities all weekend? I'm tired on weekends, for god's sake.

So my daughter isn't going to be doing soccer this year. I guess I have ruined her life.


  1. Agree with the overall point that kids have so many activities these days and yes, it can be a little crazy! I'm sure yours will be fine regardless, and maybe will even get into college someday. ;-)

    But, even with the dance classes, can your husband do some weekend shuttling? I know mine loves to take our daughter to gymnastics on Saturday morning. Might make your life easier and allow you to decompress sometimes.

    1. It wouldn't help all that much, considering there would be another higher maintenance kid leftover who would be now missing a playmate.

  2. Fizzy, love this post! Really speaks to my anxieties about the future, since my doll is only 1. I do wonder how working mommies do it... I've already been panicking about kindergarten, which in a lot of districts is only half a day... which is usually 3-4 hours a day! What will my doll do the rest of the day?? Who will bring her from school to another childcare center, if her school doesn't provide additional care? Glad to see someone voice this concern.

    1. Our town has the option of full day kindergarten, but that's sort of a mockery of the term "full day" since it ends at 2:30. That's why we went the private kindergarten route.

    2. Many childcare centers are set up for this - that was one of the reasons we chose Eve's original daycare when she was an infant. It's across the street from the elementary school and they walk the kids over to school in the morning and back in the afternoon. The school, in turn, automatically enrolls all the JCC kids in morning kindergarten. Don't panic. You're not the only parent in the community in this situation. There will be a way to make it work.

  3. My daughter never played organized soccer, or any other sport. She went to an afterschool program where they did some sports, and for a year she competed on the swim team there. She took dance on Saturdays, and that was enough (plus religious school on Sunday mornings). When she started afternoon classes we hired a college student to pick her up at school on those days, supervise homework, and take her to dance class. We're still doing that and she's now in HS. Bonus: date night! Babysitter picks her up from dance and hangs out until we get home.

    The only docs I know who have kids who do sports either have a stay-at-home parent or a full-time nanny/au pair.

  4. I tell (similarly upper-middle class) people (generally from work) who ask about soccer that my kids are upper middle class so they don't need all those advantages that we needed growing up. And I need the time. And I'd like to see my kids (a lot of sports practices here are from 5pm-7pm or 6pm-8pm 3x/week on weekdays, which is bizarre to me).

    We do piano lessons year round (1x/week) and swimming in the summer (4 days/week in the morning). Right now that's enough. Where we live it's impossible to find a sport that only meets once a week, even for grade schoolers, because people are seriously intense about things in this part of the country.

  5. We do soccer. It was kind of inevitable. Husband was a big-time soccer player and now is our daughter's team coach. There are practices twice a week on weeknights and games on Saturday. Son in first grade also plays. I am *cough* assistant coach *cough*. I have to book it from work and change in the car to make it on time. Au pair's ability to drive has been instrumental. There are other activities too...others happen right after school, at school, so that makes things easier. We try not to overload them, but also want them to be able to do what they have discovered they love doing. I personally wish I had been encouraged to play a team sport when I was younger.

  6. Waaaay to much pressure on young kids - and parents! - to do all these activities. Sure, do one if you can fit it in and your kid is genuinely into it. But why do we think mindfulness is such a therapeutic "trend" right now....? I think it is because we have lost the ability to chill out. As a society I mean, not as MiMs, though speaking for myself personally, I always find that transition from breakneck speak at work to kid-speed at home quite tough.
    I'm digressing. Love this post. Speaks to the "doing / having it all" mentality. You are right to let it go!!!

  7. I had the aftercare nanny and too many activities a couple of years ago. Last year when it went sour I decided to let the kids just chill on Mon/Wed - they had dad and stepmom to take them to swim right after school on Tue/Th and I was so thankful. Jack has Taekwondo and theater after school on Mondays (at the school! Convenient!) until I can pick them up around 5. Kids love their chill evenings with me - I'm trying to plan music Wednesdays and am getting protests. They get so much at school, and overbooking evenings leads to, I agree with above, kid and parent burnout. They are only with us for so long.

    I played soccer (very mediocre I still have a crooked nose from receiving a ball one too many times while daydreaming) and was forced to practice piano and well, I would have been fine without it. I try to emphasize exercise and study and good eating. Isn't that enough to carry them into adulthood? I admit, I love my M/W evenings too when we just chill and cook and do homework and catch up - they are gone a lot now with dad and stepmom and I miss them so much, I'd rather plug them into me than more activities.

    The kids will bug you to shuttle them around to what they want eventually - when they get old enough to have their own agenda. Why make yourself crazy before then? Unless you want to pass on your own passion as parents like KC above, don't just do it to keep up with the jones'.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone! Years ago, people told me there was so much pressure to do lots of sports when your kids were in grade school and I never believed it till I got to that point.

  9. Yeah, we ran into some of that - I tuned it out from other parents. It was harder to cope with the comments from the coaches and teachers who did see her play sports at school and camp and in afterschool care. She's a dancer, so big duh - she's well-coordinated and strong and picks up physical stuff quickly. Every coach or teacher who ever had her for a sport wanted us to sign her up for more. None of them were happy with "she'd rather do dance". One year she did have something every single day - swim team, piano lessons, dance, religious school. By March she was miserable. She needs downtime and recharge time and time with us. Now (at 14) she dances three evenings a week (in addition to three hours a day at her arts-focused high school) and that's it. I am SO grateful that we don't spend our weekends shuttling around to games and practices. As it is, she's out of the house at least one weekend evening with friends.


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