Should You Go to All of Your Kids’ Activities?
When my kids were little, I could hardly wait to see what sports and activities they would fall in love with. I mean, the uniforms, the team photos, the cutely packaged snacks. I can’t even with the sweetness that I was imagining!
Fast forward a couple of way-too-fleeting years for my liking, and I was suddenly juggling three very busy kids’ schedules.
And instead of loving every single minute, I was stressing out about who needed to get where and when and —gulp— how I was going to be at all the fields at all the same times.
In an article in Livestrong Magazine, writer Kay Uzoma cited, “Sixty-nine percent of girls and 75 percent of boys in the United States participate in organized and team sports, according to the 2008 report titled ‘Go Out and Play: Participation in Team or Organized Sports' conducted by the Women's Sports Foundation.” Not only that, but Uzoma’s sweep of current studies shows that youth participation in sports only continues to rise.
What that means for families like yours and mine is that the endless brain loop of “what activity do my kids have tonight” isn’t ending anytime soon.
Which brings me to another, almost more pressing, topic: SHOULD you go to every activity, every event, that your child has?
First things first, sometimes, it’s just not an option to be there. I’ve absolutely been there and done that and have learned firsthand that this when we simply thank our lucky stars for the mom friends who are willing and able to help get our kiddos where they need to go. Extra gratitude to the gems who send us pictures of our smiling kiddos kicking that ball or scoring that goal.
But what about when we physically can be there, should we be? That’s what I want to delve into today.
Writer Caitlin Gallagher answered this question with a resounding YES in an article in PopSugar.
Gallagher said, “When I look back on it now, having [my parents] at every game mattered more to me than I can probably ever explain. I wanted to show my dad that I listened to his tips during our Saturday morning practices in the driveway. I wanted to show my mom that I was as dedicated to the game as I told her I was. I wanted to prove that I was better at hustling down the court than my sister (sorry, sis — love you). I wanted to make them proud.”
Reading Gallagher’s words almost had me cancelling every single plan I’ve ever made during my kids’ practices and rehearsals because I want them to have these very same memories of me.
I absolutely want them to know that they’re a priority; my priority.
But I said almost had me canceling the rest of my schedule, though, because of an article by writer Nina Badzin on the flipside of this coin.
Badzin says that it’s really important for kids to know that they’re not the center of the universe. And that, sometimes, it’s in these natural, small slices of real life moments that we can best teach these lessons.
Like Gallagher, you, and me, Badzin wrestled with this question, because she, of course, knows that her children would prefer to have her or someone they love be present at every single one of their activities.
But the point she’s making is that sometimes it’s a-okay to drop your kiddo off at an activity and pick them afterwards. In fact, it’s not only a-okay, it might just be good for them and their development as a down-to-earth human being.
So where does this leave us?
Well, as for me, I’ve been forced to let go of being at every single thing, every single time, just because it has been not humanly possible for me.
But what I’ve learned from Gallagher is to make showing up and being there a priority when I can. And what I’ve learned from Badzin is to not beat myself up when I can’t.
And if that’s not mom balance in action and positive lessons learned from women who have been there and done that before us, then I don’t know what is!