Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

November 9, 2007

Stupid Silicon Valley

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 10:17 am

Okay, so there is a lot to love here in the Bay Area. The weather, the opportunities, the ocean, the mountains, the country, the city, the shopping, the restaurants, the farmers markets. You name it, it can all be found right here.

I was born here, married here, and still haven’t moved away. So I guess that says about all there is to say about my current position. To all outside appearances, I have loved living here. And that was the truth until about a year ago.

The truth is that I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t. And it’s for this only reason: the parents here are crazy. And by association, they are making me crazy.

It seems that everyone came here for the jobs. They were competitive. They got paid well. Everyone has some sort of money, and yet everyone seems to want and need more. We live in the land of the ‘haves’ and ‘have mores’. Then all these people had kids. And now they want everything for their kids.

Now what good parent doesn’t want their kid to have everything? I can see the need. I feel the pressure. I fit into that description in one way or another.  However, here in the Bay Area, the opportunities are endless – and so is the pressure and competition it seems. At age two, you can go to drop-off preschool, go to soccer practice, swim practice, art classes, music classes, farm lessons, hiking camps, language class, gymnastics, and the list just goes on.

It sounds ridiculous. And anyone looking in on this warped little scenario would have the perspective to say… yes, that is looney toons. However, most people that I meet here seem to be signed up for about 3 or more of these scheduled activities a week.

Today I took my youngest son his Mommy & me preschool. It’s once a week and only for 2 hours… and all that it involves is parents playing with their kids and learning about 2 year old development. While I was there, I figured that it was time that Justin got some playmates that were his own age (rather than just being dragged to his older brothers play-groups all the time). So I went around the class trying to find someone else who was free on Tuesday mornings.

I am telling you honestly… no one was. They are previously engaged with Spanish class, soccer lessons, french class, daycare, whatever… they were at it. In fact, they rattled their whole week off to me and there was some sort of class or structured activity that they listed for 90% of their days.

I have to say that I left a little disheartened.

I don’t want my kids to grow up in an area where they have to join every stupid class there is, just to feel normal. I want them to be around other kids who value spending time playing in their neighborhoods with the other neighborhood kids, spending time with their siblings, going to a few fun extra-curricular classes… but mostly learning to play without the aid of a teacher or hovering parent.

I had expected this school where the mom’s go with the kids to be different. I figured there would be more people like me in the group… but there wasn’t. And it disappointed me.

I read more & more about people who over-schedule their kids and I try really hard not to get sucked into it. But what do you do when there are no neighbor kids to be found because they are all at gymnastics class? Or what do you do when every preschooler is joining the after school language program, so there are no opportunities for play-dates with class friends?

If we move, how far do we have to go before this isn’t an issue?

Or is this everywhere now? And I just don’t realize it?

Today I am frustrated and disheartened.  Tomorrow I will go back to loving living near my family, who all live here.  But today I want to move and I don’t care to where.


1 Comment »

  1. I think this is an issue everywhere. We spent so long without many structured activities, when I finally started to look for some there was a crazy number of choices and we could have easily filled every second of every day.

    I’m trying to set up a play date for Clara with another girl from her school. It’s comical to try to schedule it around their school, the girl’s gymnastics class, and Clara’s art class.

    Wait… I mean St. Louis has none of those problems. Move here!

    Comment by Joel — November 13, 2007 @ 9:48 am |Reply

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