An interesting article in yesterday’s Globe & Mail about “free range parenting”, read it here. I meant to blog about it yesterday but was too busy driving my children to their Mandarin and Eastern art appreciation classes. Just kidding!
Seriously, Tuesday is one of two days out of seven where our children don’t need to be driven somewhere. This will change radically as soccer season starts: three of our children have soccer practice on Tuesday in three different locations. We are working overtime on teleportation and ubiquity. Hopefully, the device will be ready for next week. Yeah…
In light of this unfortunate (read “untenable”) situation, the article made me wonder if I was not just a little guilty of hyper-parenting. But there is more to hyper-parenting and supermomdom than meets the eye. This year has made me eat back every nasty, eye-rolling, head shaking comment I’ve ever uttered against Parents-who-do-this-to-their-kids when my three daughters got heavily involved in dance and gymnastics. As it turns out, some kids do it to themselves. And why shouldn’t they? If you are “blessed” (or should I say “cursed”?) with children who have particular physical or creative abilities, you can’t count on schools to get it out of their systems. Art, languages, sports have all been cut from the Ontario curriculum. And there is no way street soccer can replace the level of physical activity that my pint-sized gymnast needs to be happy (she trains 7.5 hours a week at age 6, don’t shoot until you’ve met her). What is a parent to do when Little Sunshine wants to do more gym, or more dance, or more drama? Fill the form, write the cheques and drive the car, that’s what you do.
But heavy involvement in activities doesn’t have to mean rushed meals, non-existent family time and homework woes. A little organization – and some willful blindness – goes a long way in ensuring that things are done around the house. I make suppers during the weekend, I jog during gym class – which gets me healthy AND walks the dog in one convenient package – I shop for groceries during dance class, I make arrangements for carpooling. But more importantly, there is no tv, computer or video games during weekdays, meaning that the children still get plenty of down time to toss a soccer ball, goof around and relax. Hey, they even have been known to do their homework out of sheer boredom! As for me, I could definitely use some non-graduate-studies-induced boredom. But this too shall pass, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, yadda, yadda. Really, my kids will be in their mid-twenties when I’m in my mid-forties and I know I’ll miss these crazy years.
There is 24 hours in a day for everybody, even super-moms. What you do with them is up to you.