Monday, November 7, 2011

Who Picks Your Kids' After School Activities?

Studies have shown that after-school activities are an important part of this complete childhood. They make them into responsible citizens, teach them the value of teamwork, blah de blah de blah blah blah.

I’m not disagreeing. I’m a big believer in getting kids involved. My calendar can tell you all about it.

Recently, however, I ran into a bit of a parental moral quandary. The kids are talking about wanting to take tae kwon do at the local YMCA. I’m all for the idea. Martial arts will, I believe, go a long way toward teaching them discipline, respect and how to defend themselves…all MUCH more applicable, from a practical point of view, than learning how to macramé.

I just have NO idea where we’re going to squeeze it into our schedule.

Something’s gotta give. The question is, what?

Feeling Selfish Here…

It would be so much easier if they could just get a job...

Personally, while I love the scouting program around here, I think the kids would get a lot more out of martial arts. It’s nothing personal. They have great programs. The leaders are amazing. The kids are making friends. I just feel like I spend more time doing paperwork and going over schedules than actually getting down and dirty with the kids.

To be fair (and the reason I’m waffling so badly), it’s not entirely their fault. Scout activities happen on the weekends, for obvious reasons. That means any weekends find the kids split in three different directions. While Princess C can go on her merry way, the boys need a parent along as often as not.

That’s easier said than done around here. If I’m not working on the weekend I usually have a to-do list as long as my arm, and the kids are paying the price. While we still get in plenty of family time on one end of the day or the other, late mornings and afternoons are pretty much shot.

Princess C's been waiting for a new Brownie sash for the last two months, because we can't get to the Girl Scout store. We completely missed fundraisers, and next weekend will mark the third Tiger event in the last 6 weeks my youngest has had to miss because neither his dad nor I are free to go.

Granted, the last month has been insane, but still.

Tae kwon do would be easier for me. Selfish, but true. Except for testing, there are no weekend hours. I can drop the kids off at practice and pick them up (and use the hour in between to put in a little gym time of my own). Which makes me wonder if I’m leaning so heavily in favor of trading up for them, or for myself.

The kids love scouts. Absolutely love it. G-money’s been waiting for two years for his chance to get in on it. It doesn’t feel fair to pull him out when he’s just getting started, but we’re not going to be able to do both. And I’m at a complete loss, so let me ask you. How do you pick and choose your kids' after-school activities?

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