Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

September 12, 2007

Just say no

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 4:16 pm

If you are a parent living in the Silicon Valley, you are blessed with anything you want, anytime you are looking for it. It seems that if you need a playgroup that lives around a particular park – there is one. If you need an art class at on Wednesday at 10:30 and a Music class in the same building that starts at 11:30 – there is one. If you need a 2 day, 3 day, 5 day preschool… that offers after hours… with drop off early… with organic snacks… and mom’s nights outs…. there is one.

It is hard not to get caught up and try to do everything. This is especially true if you are Type A and don’t like to miss out, or don’t want your kids to miss out.

I find it very difficult to gain perspective living here. I have always been one to do everything that I can cram into a given day. I love being with people. I love ‘doing stuff’, especially with groups that fit into my hobbies, or current daily routines. Before kids, if people are offered me multiple social engagements in one day – I would find a way to attend all of them. My family often said I was ‘burning the candle at both ends’. But honestly I didn’t care. I wanted to get as much as I could out of life & not miss out. I loved being busy and being with friends.

Now with kids, more options abound. It’s almost overwhelming. But instead of just being social, they are touted as ‘educational’, or ‘supportive for stay at home mom’s’, or ‘key for development’. I had no idea all the things that I could & should sign my kids up for.

When the kids were babies, we tried hard to make sure that we didn’t over-schedule the kids. We wanted playgroups to be unstructured and fun. Park dates are fine, but there was no need for back to back music, gymnastics, and YMCA daycare. Likewise, if we did sign up for a class like music… it would be the only thing that we scheduled for that day. We tried to balance our time, because they are only kids once and childhood is fleeting.

The kids are older are older now, and there are even more options than before. And since Andrew is potty trained, he can be dropped off for hours at a time; the classes aren’t just 45 minutes. Since starting Andrew at preschool we have had about 5 offers to join multiple groups that all sound fantastic. They all sound educational. They all sound beneficial. And frankly I want to join. But I haven’t because the adjustment from no preschool… to 2 days a week preschool… is hard enough on Andrew. He is learning new rules. There are new friends and new teachers and a new school. He doesn’t need other obligations on top of what is already on his plate. He doesn’t seem ready, and neither am I.

So we said no.

However, there is this one group. This group is for mothers. It’s hosted by his preschool, and it sounds wonderful. They provide childcare, so that you can go and actually converse with other adults in a setting that is not a play-date. It is only 2 hours, every other week. During the meetings the mothers discuss things about being a mom… issues that really matter to ME, not just my kids.

I really want to go. I really want to join. It’s the first time that I have wanted to do something just for me since having the kids … in a setting where I know that I could make it happen and the kids would be well-taken care of. Additionally, it won’t cost me a million dollars to pull it off. What is not to like?

Well, it would mean that the kids would be in childcare or preschool for 3 out of the 5 days a week. Also, on the other two days they would have social obligations, but those would be with me. Thus there is no ‘down-time’ day. Likewise, they are still small. This is still a key part of their childhood that I don’t want to miss. And since Andrew seems to be adjusting slowly to the two day preschool as it is – why push him to three when we purposely didn’t sign him up for a three day preschool to begin with.

Ahh the logic makes sense. But it’s so hard to say no.

I know my kids. I know what is right for them. I know this is right. However, in a place like this… when you are bombarded with excellent choices all day long … how do you stick to what you know? How do you stick to your core values and not get swept away with the excitement of it all?

I don’t know. I am just trying to figure it out.

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m with you. For some reason I have in my head that if we spend all day going from activity to activity my girls are going to be lunatics by the the end of the day, rather than quietly playing with their toys. So I only schedule one thing a day. Like you, suddenly opportunities have opened up for all day play fests, and I too am torn. But if there’s something I really really want to do, I’m gonna do it. Remember, there are three lives you are enriching: Andrew’s, Justin’s, and Michelle’s.

    Comment by Joel Bittle — September 13, 2007 @ 9:20 am |Reply


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