Hi divorcee hive. I’ve got a question for you. How do you deal with extra curricular activities when you share childcare?
Big Small stopped doing extra curricular activities. When the pre-ballet tantrums started to last more than two hours on a Saturday I gave up. Poor kid’s had a lot going on, to be fair to her. So we took a break.
I’ve always slightly struggled with the extra curricular stuff, to be honest.
I remember very clearly being a child and being forced into horse riding lessons because my sister loved horse riding, and was weirdly good at it. Like, literally, you couldn’t shift her bum from the saddle no matter what the horse did.
I, on the other hand, have neither balance nor authority (still), and DREADED going every week. It was like humiliation and torture rolled into one. (Rolled like the mad zombie eyes of the insane homicidal Shetlands they put me on every Sunday).
I also did guitar lessons and I remember refusing to practice – but THEN I remember hitting teenage years when the ability to play a guitar would have made me SUPER COOL (a department I could have really, really used some help in) and wishing my parents had MADE ME stick at it.
(One day I must tell you about the time I knocked my front teeth out with a guitar, because I am clearly SO rock and roll).
So as a parent I now struggle to know where the line is between making them stick to something and not forcing them do something they clearly don’t want to do!
The one thing the Big Small DOES want to do is an activity with a looooooong waiting list she was booked into on a weekday evening – way before Dadoffthenetheredge and I split up. Let’s call it “Goblins”. She likes this because her school friends go to the same group. (One of the problems with ballet was there was ‘no one there she knew’).
However, twice a month, she’s with her Dad. And he doesn’t want this eating into his time with her. Which I sort of get… But then I don’t. Because it’s the only thing she does, it’s just over an hour, she loves it, and she tells me she really wants to go on his weeks (although God knows what she tells him – as she appears to be a very different child at each end).
All her friends have schedules that make my eyes water, involving gymnastics, and ballet, and swimming lessons, and music academy, and athletics and climbing and junior skydiving with chess (combined)*.
And I feel all middle-class-guilty that she’s not doing more. I mean, what if she’s a prima ballerina in the making and we never know because she never goes? Or she only goes twice a month?
But then she spends weekends with me saying she just wants to be at home and it’s ‘her’ time and she doesn’t want to have to ‘do stuff’ (though she’s mostly referring to the 5 long minutes of gruelling spelling homework I have the temerity to try and persuade her into).
So – how do you do it at your end?
Do you split ferrying them round straight down the middle? Is it just our job to chauffeur them about their busy little social lives incessantly every weekend, suck it up? Do you only do weekday activities? Do you think I’m causing irreparable damage by not sending her to pottery/ballroom/karate/piano classes every week???? Or am I crazed over-privileged cowbag who needs to chill her boots?
Of course in an ideal world Dadoffthenetheredge and I would discuss this like reasonable adults, but I’m afraid that’s really not where we are on this.
He tells me he’s a parent with equal shared responsibility and can do what he likes, and he’s taken the decision not to take her for all of their sakes, and out of the goodness of his noble heart.
I think – weirdly – not taking her also happens to be the most convenient thing for him… Unsurprisingly he didn’t like having this pointed out. Which is my bad.
So I thought maybe it would help to see how other people work it. Thoughts on a postcard, please. Or comment. As ever.