I remember when my oldest started preschool. I was so excited that he was finally of age to where he could participate in after school activities. Like one of those moms on TV, I imagined all the fun I would have watching him learn new skills and participating in group activities. I couldn’t wait to make new mom friends and share some one on one bonding time with my son as we commuted to our different activities. My husband continuously tried to tell me that we had too much on our plate. I wouldn’t listen though. I anxiously awaited the activities’ start dates so my son and I could begin our adventure. Every day we had a different activity. He was signed up for karate, speech therapy, Spanish, and basketball, so he was excited to explore and have fun after school.
As the months passed, his excitement grew. I, however, was drained. I dreaded looking at the family calendar as it was filled with a jammed packed schedule. I watched my email like a hawk hoping to receive an “I’m sorry this activity is cancelled for today” email. Those came very few and far between. By the end of every week, I loathed the fact that I only had one day with no activities. I frequently asked my husband to take over an activity but was constantly met with an “I told you so” glare. By the end of my son’s preschool year, I made a pact that I would have at least 2 free evenings of no activities.
As the years passed, our number of after school activities slowly decreased. I was loving my new found freedom, and I didn’t have to worry about which activity was scheduled on each evening. We weren’t eating fast food quite as much, and I was able to try out some recipes I found on Pinterest. I felt like parenting was finally looking up. That was until homework. My evenings were filled with constant studying, projects, and homework.
Now the mother of two school aged children and a toddler, I realize that I had it all wrong. After school activities are my relief. Not only am I a mother of 3 children, but I also work full-time; I rarely get alone time. The majority of my time is spent surrounded by other people. Two of my children take a dance class once a week at the same time. A dance class where parents are asked not to stay. So, for one hour every week, I am able to sit and do nothing. It’s the time when I don’t have to cook dinner and I don’t have to help with homework. I am able to enjoy my “me time.” I now look forward to after school activities. I no longer despise our long days and now understand why there are smiles on most TV moms’ faces.