Thursday, October 2, 2014

One thing too many

I have always thought extracurricular activities for kids were a must. And we've dutifully driven our girls to dance and gymnastics a couple of times a week for the past few years. Now that my oldest is in first grade, I decided the time has come to let her choose what she wanted to do and in what amounts. BIG. HUGE. MISTAKE :)

She was ecstatic.... And chose everything and then some: Dance class, another dance class, another dance class and ballet (not to be confused with a dance class), gymnastics at the gym, gymnastics at the dance studio, theater and then as the cherry on top swimming on Sundays. I am tired just typing this but at the end of summer, full of energy and fresh memories of lazy afternoons by the pool, anything seemed possible.

Now it is October and I am EXHAUSTED. Her kindergarten was half day and ended at 12:30. 1st grade ends at 2:40 with just enough time to rush home, do homework and rush off again to another activity. To my daughter's credit she does love everything she chose but I can see the strain: the crankiness, and the tantrums barely held in check by pride at being old enough not have them.

I am ready for her to quit something, to let some freedom back into her and my life but here is the rub. We've always told her to finish what you start and all those activities (well, except swimming) have shows at the end and have already started rehearsing and roles have been assigned. So now we wait, wait with bated breaths for December, the final bows and applause and for taking back control.

A 6.5 year old no matter how mature and motivated is not equipped with the capacity to judge what's best for her. And neither apparently is a well rested mother excited that her child is interested in activities she herself loved as a kid. An exhausted and overextended mother of a cranky kid who is about to be put on the front porch with a "FREE TO A GOOD HOME" sign is a whole other matter.