When I became a parent, I swore I wouldn’t be one of those parents. You know the sort, the ones that become a taxi service and have no life because all of it is spent ferrying their children about from club to club and activity to activity. This pledge was made when my children were babies and was before I had an idea or inkling that they would grow to be one those children. The ones that want to do every club and every activity possible.
To be fair, I have said no to some things they wanted to do but, to be honest, this is because they clash with another club/activity that they already do. You see, it’s hard to say no when they are so enthusiastic about everything. They come home wide-eyed, smiling and in earnest about whatever it is they want to do now and their enthusiasm is infectious. How can I say no? Besides, in the blink of an eye they’ll be teenagers and all that enthusiasm will be replaced by angst, wearing black and locking themselves in their bedrooms so I have to make the most of it whilst it lasts.
So, my daughters’ activity list currently looks like this:
Monday Lunch – School French Club
Tuesday Eve – Gymnastics
Wednesday – After School Football followed by Swimming Lessons
Thursday – After School Cheerleading/Dance Club
Friday Lunch – Loom Band Club (I kid you not).
And it’s embarrassing to admit to others that you’ve become that person you really didn’t want to be so I try to keep it to myself as much as possible. The problem with becoming one of those parents that ferry their children about everywhere is that you run the risk of becoming one of those other types of parents. The ones you really don’t want to be like. The pushy ones.
My daughters were at gymnastics last week and it was badge week. Badge week is where the children attempt to complete a range of gymnastic moves and if they are successful they get a badge and certificate and get to move up to the next level. Now, of course, all the children want to be successful and get the shiny certificate and embroidered badge. Of course they do but, of course, they more often than often don’t. This is when it’s up to parents to be supportive with ‘Never minds’, ‘Maybe next times’ and ‘It doesn’t matters.’ That’s what parents should be saying. What they should not be saying, in any circumstances, is ‘Why didn’t you get one? Go and ask the Coach what you did wrong’ which is what I heard one parent saying to her already sad and deflated daughter.
I stood there with my mouth wide open and did an excellent impression of a fish. I couldn’t believe anybody could be so insensitive. The woman’s daughter was clearly upset that she hadn’t done enough to get the sought after badge in the first place. Goodness knows what her mother’s unthinking and, quite frankly, cruel comments had done to this girl’s confidence. And, to rub salt in the wounds further, she did indeed send the poor child back to ask the Coach, ‘What she had done wrong.”
It was then I realised that no matter how many clubs my daughters go to and no matter how much time I will spend driving them to and fro and just sitting waiting for them to finish, I will never ever become one of those parents.