The alternative title for this post was ‘Mum bludgeoned to death by [after school] club. A tad extreme maybe, but it gives a little insight into the tone of the content.
We started our eldest in a couple of activities whilst she was in pre-school; Swimming, and a tiny gymnastics group. Back then, in the freedom of our long afternoons and lack of ties from a work schedule it was a fun way to keep her active and engaged as she was so clearly ready for more stimulation in the run up to school.
Having decided to avoid weekends so we can retain an ability to road trip, be lazy, and spontaneous (as if) the clubs all fall in the midweek days, pre 6pm and as such, Mums responsibility.
This September, as Tigs started school, we (I) worried excessively (standard) about whether it’d be too much for her keeping up her weekly two clubs after school. I needn’t have worried about her – she has taken it all in her stride and would happily go out clubbing every night of the week. Me? Not so much.
The thing is, our school run is about an hour round trip. It’s pretty knackering with a toddler in tow. Then, a 30 minute turnaround for cooking / eating tea, changing into gear and getting out the house again is enough to send me a bit loopy. I’m always late for gym – and this is unheard of for me, the most punctual Mum EVER.
To be fair, the hubby is a huge help and works from home on said days if he can so I can alleviate some of the Mums-Taxi stress. Or more to the point, getting-the-mouse-to-eat-a-meal-in-fifteen-minutes-stress. Or even stopping-the-toddler-from-joining-in-stress. Which at swimming, isn’t for the faint hearted.
I must sound like a total loon when I casually grill other Mums on the sidelines how they sort the teatime logisitics. It seems slow-cooker meals, microwaved freezer stock and twelve-minutes-at-180 dinners are the way forward. Which is great if your kid eats that stuff.
It has maybe got a little easier, as the mouse subtly changes week on week. She’s learning the ropes and she knows the score. We have our own swimming session on a midweek morning, and she can soon join in herself with gymnastics. I’d even go as far as to say she’s been a really good girl sitting patiently reading books with me while we wait. (Yes, books).
We have weathered many storms, literally. I didn’t think I could be more damp after a rainy school run / gym commute – until I sat on an abandoned can of coke and watched the mouse pour water all over the floor. And, I never knew body temperature fluctuations until I had sat on the poolside cafe during the winter months.
It is with steely grit and determination we fend off offers to join friends at numerous other tantilising activities…rainbows, ballet, mini rugby, cheerleading, little ninjas, drama, little kickers, street dancing, horse riding, irish dancing, trampolining, windsurfing, kiteboarding…okay, so I made the last few up. But I bet someone out there is doing that shizzle. The thing is, those other parents that talk to you about those clubs make them sound so good, it’s easy to get drawn in. It seems sometimes the ‘what does your kid do outside of school question’ comes up shortly after the initial hello, and long before you get to first name terms (as opposed to someone’s Mum).
But for now, I’m treasuring my free weekends as a family, and those three days a week we don’t have to be anywhere. It’s a little slice of heaven that I’m holding onto for as long as I can.
I will however listen to what the girls want to do, and encourage them to be active and engage with a sport if they are happy to. One of my biggest regrets in life is not finding a sporting interest. I want that for my kids; so I’ll do my time, I’ll make my sacrifices. I will give them the opportunity.
And I’ll remember that they are still so little, and allow them time to watch a bit of kids TV, draw, play, and all that other stuff too.