Afternoon Activity Shuffle.

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by Elizabeth Horn

 

Getting kids to after school activities can be accomplished when you work, but, sometimes, it's not pretty.

 

"OK, I'll go by daycare, and, pick up Daniel. You get the others, and, meet me at the soccer field. But, you need to hurry because Jody is waiting with John, and, Luke, but, she has to leave by 4:20 to get Nate to football. I'll meet you there about 4:30. Tommy will probably get there the same time I will, I'll take John, and, Luke to the game, you stay at practice with the little ones, and, he'll take the others to their football practice. He's going to call you if he's running late. If so, you'll need to leave the soccer field by 4:25 at the latest, and, meet him somewhere, and, give him the boys since he's the coach, and, it's best if he's not late.
Now, let's talk about getting everyone home."

 

Sounds like a parody of working parents, and, their kids' activities, doesn't it?

 

It's not, it's actually a true account of one afternoon for us a couple of years ago.

 

Those of you with small children, relax, it's not always like that. That afternoon required precision planning, even by our standards, but, I'm using it to illustrate that when you are a working mother, you can, indeed get your kids to after school activities using a little creativity.

 

When you work, the prospect of a 4:30 sports practice, or, music lessons at 3:30 is often enough to make you clench your stomach muscles.

 

Not to get into the whole "over scheduled children" debate, but, sometimes there's an activity or two that is important to the child, or, is just plain fun, and, there may be a way to get them there using a little creativity. For example, one season, the soccer coach volunteered to pick up my daughter at school to go to practice.

 

I work full time, and, many of my friends do not, so, often I will offer to bring everyone home from practice if they will take them there.

 

I have a standing agreement to pick up friends' kids on the way to school in the morning if the mother is home with a sick sibling, or, for early band practice in exchange for their help after school.

 

Sometimes, there are activities held right at the school, even for young children. One year, there was a gymnastics class on site, and, another year there was Tae Kwon Do. It might be worth checking your school or daycare.

 

Last year, at our school, a working mother sent out a few e-mails, and, built a "working mothers support group" by word of mouth that met in the evening once a month to discuss things like this. Some people who didn't know each other before, were able to match up their schedules, and, create solutions to the after school activities dilemma.

 

You're right, occasionally, after school activities are planned by people who don't have the same types of commitments as you do. But, sometimes you can't change it, and, you just have to cope with the seeming unfairness of it all.

 

flymom
03.05.08

I have an "only" (not if you don't count my husband!) and have a hard enough time getting him to his stuff. He's almost 6 and just asked if he could add karate to his extras. What am I going to do when he has homework too? AAACK!

Beckstress11
10.23.07

I can completely relate to this article -- especially when you multiple the after-school activities by two kids! I feel there's a lot of value in having kids participate in sports and/or other activities. It enriches their experiences and teaches them a lot about teamwork. I do, however, try to have some rules - like only one sports activity per kid per quarter. When you work full-time, there is the reality of being at too many places at one time. But, thank goodness for my stay-at-home friends. If it weren't for their willingness to take my kids from school to the various activities, I probably would have pulled my hair out!

Elizabeth
10.10.07

The group has really been helpful, especially for people who's work schedules aren't as flexible as others.

Erin
10.10.07

I love the working mom's support group too! I am currently at home full time but have been in the outside work force too and scheduling is a nightmare!

Workin It
10.09.07

I love the idea of a working mothers support group!