June 6, 2012
Remember those T-shirts that said, “Because I’m the Mom”? They were directed at kids who kept asking, “Why? Why not?”
Over the years, though, I’ve come to think that they should be directed at other people: coaches, dance instructors, and others who guide our kids through extra-curricular activities.
Take the neighbor kid who was 8; and some of his softball games didn’t start until 8 p.m. on school nights. Or the girl who used to babysit for us. She thought that fish sticks and boxed macaroni and cheese was a wonderful home-cooked meal when I left it for her one night. Her mother never had time to cook, because she was always taking the kids to and from activities; and the sports practices ran through supper time.
And I’ve heard more than one mother talk about how her 1st or 2nd grade daughter’s dance dress rehearsal lasted until 10 p.m., then they had to be back for the 12-hour extravaganza (most of that time spent waiting, not dancing) the next day.
I was always glad that I didn’t have a kid in activities; because no matter how much you can say, “I would never let MY child do that,” you really never know until you’re in the situation what you’re going to do.
Along comes an opportunity for orchestra camp. Twelve hours a day for a week. The orchestra director said that doing it would show a kid’s dedication. I said that running a kid into the ground should not be confused with dedication. It made me cranky.
As it turns out, the day isn’t devoted to non-stop practicing. There are activities and down-time involved. But I still told my daughter that if it got to be too much for her, I’d spring her early one day. She said, “But I think that’s against the rules.”
“That’s OK,” I said. “I’m the mom.”