Friday, September 16, 2011

The Soccer/Dance Mom

As a working Mom I encounter lots of challenges from both my work life and my home life. One of the most enjoyable of these challenges for me is dealing with my kids activities.

If you are a working Mom you certainly have experienced that the people who set up classes, sports, and activities do not gear these toward working Moms. I’ll never forget the first time I opened up a book from our local Y to find only about 3 Saturday or evening classes compared to the hundreds of weekday activities. And if they do schedule an evening class, the class tends to be set either right at 5:00, making it nearly impossible to beat traffic to get there after a work day, or 7:00 at night when the last thing a toddler wants to do is sit and listen. And if you do manage to find a class at a time that works for you, you have to sign up so early otherwise it is full in a blink of an eye.

Until this year, I have only had to balance the activities of one child, J. When J was three, she got really excited about different activities and before I knew it we were doing ice skating, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, and swimming all in one fall. If I didn’t work, I might have been able to spread these classes out to make them more manageable, but with my schedule my kids are limited to taking classes in the evenings and on weekends. But this schedule was simply not working with our busy life, so I sat down J and limited her to 2 classes per session. Ever since then, our life has been more manageable.

J's main and favorite activity is dance. She loves dance class. J started dance when she was 2 years old and so for the past 3 years we spend one evening a week twirling at the dance studio. Classes started at ½ hour, moved to 45 minutes, an hour, and now our sessions are 1 ½ hours every Tuesday night. Last year, this would have been absolutely no problem, but now we have school. So Tuesday nights I rush home from work, eat whatever I threw in the crock pot that morning, get to the dance studio at 6:45 and entertain the boys for 1 ½ hours while trying to watch J execute her “first position” or a new jazz turn. Then we rush home, take a quick shower, snack, and try to get to bed before 9:00. Tuesday nights certainly go by in a whirlwind.

Even though the schedule is crazy, I must admit I love being a Dance Mom. No, I’m not a crazy dance mom like you may have seen on one of my new favorite shows, Dance Moms, but yes I'm a proud dance Mom. I love watching J get excited every time she learns a new move, or the look in her eyes when she is on stage. I’m the kind of Dance Mom that watches closely in the window, smiles and “air claps” when she does something great and of course snaps a picture or two. This year is J’s last year of non-competitive dancing. After this, we move into the world of competitive dancing, which I can only imagine will be an adventure.

But now, my world has changed in that there is a new participant in the world of activities…my son H. H has a November birthday and so we have had to wait a long time for him to hit the age where he can start sports. Of course my sports-loving husband, who was thrown for a loop when his first child was the girliest of girly girls and refused to play sports has been waiting for H to start a sport. So now that he is 3 this summer we have started soccer and I have joined the world of the Soccer Mom.

H is a shy little guy, and so when we started soccer, I was sure that he would hide behind me and not participate. Boy was I wrong. H LOVES soccer and is really good at it. From the moment we hit the field, its “Bye Mommy” and off he goes scoring goals and running all around.

I knew I would love to watch H play sports as I grew up watching my two brothers play every sport under the sun. But I had absolutely no idea how much fun it would be to watch my son play. Unlike my Dance Mom persona who is calm collected and “air claps”, my Soccer Mom persona is the complete opposite. I stand on the sidelines yelling “GO H!!” and jump out of my chair with every goal. I’m having a blast watching my little guy join the world of sports.

However, a part of me knows as I watch H run the field, that life is about to get much more difficult now that he is up and running (literally) on activities. Now in addition to managing the schedule of Diva J, I have to manage sports loving H. And then I keep staring at L tottering around the sidelines and I realize in a few years I’ll have three kids with who knows how many activities. My schedule now is nothing compared to what I'll have in just three short years!

So my plan is to just enjoy my time as a Dance Mom, Soccer Mom, and whatever else Mom I become. The schedules will all work themselves out, and if they don’t…I’ll just trade in our mini-van for an RV and live on the road!!


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