Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dance, Soccer, Swimming – You Want To Do What Next?

A & B are 4 years old – yes, 4 years old. They already have been in swimming lessons for 3 years, dance lessons for over a year, and just started soccer and horseback riding lessons this fall. Plus, our garage is filled with softball gloves, helmets, the ESPN Better Batter®, t-ball set, basketballs, footballs, horseshoes, and an outdoor bowling set. Plus, Mommy found Barbie® tennis sets (pink balls, water bottle, bag and Head® racket) on sale last week and thought “Oh, what a great Christmas present!”

We have been to Iowa Cubs baseball games, Bradley basketball games (Go BU!), Drake, NIU and SEP football games, and Iowa Stars and Des Moines Bucs hockey games. And if we lived closer, they would have already “Jumped Around” at Camp Randall or observed Touchdown Jesus in South Bend (don’t worry – soon!).

As you may have guessed, Scott and I are huge sports fans! Between both of us, we have pretty much played every sport (even bowling)! Ok – so no soccer or water polo, but pretty much the basics for small town athletics. Scott even played baseball locally until the girls were born. Plus, we still enjoy a round of golf in our “free “ time. And we love to watch sports – college football, basketball, hockey – you name it, we probably have a favorite team.

So, we get excited when the girls mention they want to try something new – especially when it involves sports. In addition to just our love of sports, it is a great way for them to stay active, learn new skills (including respect and listening to their coach), and meet new kids. This however, brings a new set of challenges for us.

1. Scheduling – when does practice start? You do realize I don’t get off work until then, right? Plus, when do they eat? Practice normally means that I leave work early (i.e. log in after the girls go to sleep); drive like a maniac to pick them up, make sure that I have all of the gear packed up (including snacks); rush to the field and hope that they are excited for practice.
  • Yes, I do drive a mini-van
  • Yes, I am a soccer mom
2. Free time – Soccer clinic on Monday night, dance on Wednesday, soccer practice on Thursday night, soccer games on Sunday. Factor in dance performances ever month, plus errands/parties/travel, and we are almost constantly on the go.

3. Competition – Scott and I are extremely competitive, but we try to realize it is only a game and A & B are only 4! Already we have noticed some people are CRAZY! Is it really necessary to keep your “top scorer” in the whole game? Isn’t this the time when the game is supposed to be fun?

4. Burn out – yep, I said it. I still want the kids to love the game. I believe they need to practice and focus on teamwork, but at the end of the day, I just want them to have fun.

5. Trying new things – I want them to try everything and find something they like. Which means = more activities. And I don’t want to limit them because I am a working mom and it would be a scheduling nightmare.

So with all of that being said (whew), I would love some advice /thoughts from other moms on what they do for activities. Maybe I should have titled this post “Too Many or Not Too Many?”

To top it off, B asked the other day when basketball would start…
Jean Anne


  1. Yes, stay away from the crazy-pants sports parents! They can be so demoralizing and antithetical to the whole point of sports. But, you know, I'm not a parent, unless you count the cat and my naturally maternal persona. Nonetheless, I think it's great that the kids are involved and that you've helped them to cultivate an interest in so many things in the hopes that they will find what they enjoy. I've observed the kind of joy they take in their activities! As you imply, this seems to be the way that you approached the opportunities you had as a kid to become active.
    I guess my only advice is don't forget to let them wander. Some of my most cherished moments as a child have to do with the time I had to imagine, invent, and make up my own rules - to see the trees and the grass and the world on my own once in a while, without the imposition of structure or social pressure or schedules.
    It must be difficult to try to balance all of that. You're doing a great job. XO.

  2. Between all of the practices, games, dance performances, etc... when do the kids have time to be kids? Kids need to learn how to entertain themselves, not be entertained. I teach middle school and I am constantly seeing the effects of kids that have grown up with constant stimulation. They don't know how to handle themselves in down-time. I limit my own kids to one activity per sememster. They need the time to relax and learn how to find their own enjoyment from reading, playing outside, etc... and I will not be a constant chauffeur to their activities. As much as I enjoy watching them in them, my time is important too. Some people criticize me because I don't revolve my life around my kids. Say what they may, I know I am a better mother because I have boundaries set as to how much of myself I am going to give up. I love my kids dearly. I just think there needs to be limitations.