This is how I’ve been feeling since school started earlier this month.
More pressure and responsibility at work, the kid in “big school” with a full day schedule – coffee is my friend. Special shout out to my new favourite – Whitfield Hall Blue Mountain Coffee – it keeps me going during his schedule and mine. It’s funny how the days can feel longer when going through the motions of handling responsibilities.
Despite having an awesome list of family and friends I can call on in emergencies, our day to day schedule pretty much involves me and the kid taking on the world, 1st grade and traffic. He has “full” school days now – the luxury (for him) of getting out early in Kindergarten has been replaced by ending school at peak afternoon traffic time. It’s not so bad for me as I get longer stretches in the office and more flexibility to schedule meetings, etc. during my mornings. Life isn’t just school and work however.
I’ve had a challenge with determining extra curricular activities for him – both in budget and schedule. Now that he’s older, his interest in these activities also comes into play. Mr Outspoken has become very particular in his interests. I’m not complaining too much now as it helps make my process a little bit easier.
I’ve always marveled at kids, barely 6 or 7 with schedules that rival CEOs of large companies. I made the unconscious decision before he even started school that we wouldn’t go there. Mostly because I knew that I would also have to incorporate and accommodate said schedule. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that simply driving them to and from all the things they have to do isn’t exhausting. Not to mention the ridiculously hot days we’ve been having the past few months in Jamaica. Special mention to the air conditioning in my car that struggles along with us.
So back to choosing activities…
When he first started prep school, activities were limited based on his age. Now that he’s older, more options are available – it’s like going to your favourite restaurant and the menu is 5 pages of everything you love – what to choose?? We started with Art & Craft – which clearly made an impression. He loves making things and my office bulletin board and fridge doors are mini galleries of his work. Then my anxiety kicked in – he needs to be outside, running around, something!
Then came football (soccer for the blasphemers). This was offered as an activity by his school, after school. Oh it got him running around outside! We did this for a whole school year – but he didn’t *love* it. He liked it because his friends were all there and it was playtime. This made me iffy about signing up again this year, so I did some research. I had heard about a martial arts programme for his age group so I sent them an email with some questions and asking for their recommendations. Armed with this information I sat down with him the week before school started and gave him the choice – football or Kung Fu? Did I mention he fancies himself a ninja (or something)? I’ll give you one guess what he decided.
We’re now three weeks into the new school year, with Kung Fu and swimming as his extra curricular activities. Between the 2, he’s got 4 days of activities = 4 days of taxi duty for me outside of the regular school run. I’m fortunate to have the flexibility at work that allows me to be able to commit to his activities. I’m *massaging* my budget to make it work. His growth and development deserve it.
I’m happy to report he loves both so far, and I use the time he’s working out to hang out in the lobby or by the pool and catch up on reading articles/reports, answer emails and whatever work task I’ve got on my plate at the time. I’m officially tired. He’s having so much fun so I won’t complain. He’s not half bad either with his terrible coordination and unusually impressive balance. I’m looking forward to seeing his development with the lessons of focus and discipline – he’s 5, he really doesn’t know how to be silent or keep still. Much love and thanks to Iron Lotus Academy of Martial Arts for welcoming him with open arms.
Who knows if the choices he’s made now (swimming is not an option – it’s an important life skill) will last past this school term, school year – but involving him in the choice this year was the best decision. Empowering him and seeing him enjoy the outcome, as well as his growth and maturity, is easily the most rewarding part of being his mom.
Now to win the lottery so I can afford a driver…