One of my biggest frustrations as a working parent is kid activities. Kid activities are disproportionately scheduled during weekday working hours. Few classes are offered in evenings, and those that are usually begin right at 5. For someone like me, there is no possible way I can get my kids to a ballet class or hockey lesson by 5 pm. To be anywhere by 5 I'd have to leave work at 3:30. That simply is not happening. So every season, I'm challenged with finding and scheduling all lessons/sports/classes for Saturdays, or my kids miss out.
I hate the idea of my kids having to miss out on something they'd really like to do because I work. I'm all for setting boundaries and having a child choose one or two activities to pursue, but in many cases, the scheduling of classes makes it so my child can't even try something he or she is interested in. Ever. If my kid never gets to try a sport or musical instrument or whatever, how is he going to know if he likes it, let alone commit to it? I at least want to give my kids a chance to try whatever it is they think they are interested in. But lately, my efforts have been coming up short.
This fall, KJ wanted to do soccer and hockey. Two sports, sounds totally do-able. Except, Saturday hockey is at the exact same time as Saturday soccer. We could change hockey rinks, but I had found a program at a new rink that introduced sticks and pucks (you know, the reason kids like hockey) much sooner than the other rink we had been using. I didn't really want to change out of that program to accommodate soccer. Plus, we had done park district soccer in the spring and it was mostly a melee of kids running after a ball. Not a lot of focus on skills or the actual game. So, I set out to find a different, more time-friendly soccer program. And I did. I found a private program that offered (what sounded like) a solid program for pre-k on Friday mornings. I already had most Fridays off, and I had already signed Sweet Pea up for dance on Fridays. Perfect.
Except, it's not perfect. Because everything I signed my kids up for on Fridays was cancelled for low enrollment. Apparently, the local pre-school program runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Therefore, there aren't a lot of kids around on those days and the Friday programs get cancelled. Both the private soccer club and the park district dance programs left messages at our house, offering to enroll my kids in their Tuesday (at 10 am or 1:45 pm) classes instead. Thanks.
There's no way I can be out of the office on Tuesdays. While I think it is now pretty acceptable to be out of the office on Fridays (or even Mondays), clients generally expect to be able to find you at any given time on a Tuesday. And now it's too late to change hockey rinks or find another dance class for Sweet Pea. Most classes have already started, and if they haven't, aren't offered at a time we can make anyway.
I'm frustrated at how unfriendly the world of kid activities is to working parents. I work so that we can afford things like dance lessons and soccer practice. But my kids can't go to dance lessons or soccer practice because they aren't offered at a time that accounts for two working parents. What a ridiculous situation. There's an entire market of parents with disposable income looking for programs for their kids that start at 6:30 pm. Why in the world hasn't anyone capitalized on it?