Saturday, January 30, 2010

Because my daughter says I never write about her... Now I do


Today is Saturday.

In our house Saturday's used to mean getting up early to get the kids off to football or baseball or soccer games, followed by a day of rushing from one field to another, all over the county.

Now that fall sports are over Saturday has become a day of rest and relaxation.

Sleeping in and lounging in PJ's until... well whenever. After months of constant activity-filled weekends it seems almost sloth-like to sit on the sofa, with laptop in hand, watching The Weather Channel, while snow spirals to the ground outside our windows.

Of course there are activities and committments the kids have to their youth groups, but they do not have the urgency and high emotional investment that the wins and losses of sports hold.

For my grown daughter, Saturdays play an entirely different role.

For her they are a respite from the hectic Monday through Friday work week pace. Much earned days of rest to spend playing with FancyPants, her daughter and my granddaughter, now 7 months old.

As all GOOD moms know, staying home with your kids is not enough. Or so the media and other GOOD moms are more than happy to point out to new moms. Thus the creation of Gymboree and KinderMusic and such.

Because of this need to be THE BEST MOM and provide EVERYTHING for FancyPants, last Saturday was spent at Gymboree. Much laughing, playing and dancing ensued and both FancyPants and her mom had a wonderful time. This is all good. The aftermath, however, was not. FancyPants loved the music, the high-level activity and the other kids. So obviously, being the GOOD Mom that she is, my daughter wanted to find out how to make this a Saturday ritual.

The cost is, in my humble opinion, a bit much. For the cost of a week's groceries for their family of 3, they can have a monthly membership that gets 4 Saturday "Classes" and allows them to come to any and all OPEN GYM times.

Sounds great.

But, with both parents working full-time through the week, use of the OPEN GYM is not really an option. Times during the day while at work can't be used, and who wants to dash home, inhale dinner and rush out in the cold winter night to hit the open time with a kid who, more likely than not, will be looking for her bed about the time they get there?

Even knowing this, GoodMom, looked at the family budget to see where she could cut back to make room for the additional expense, and failing to find enough leeway, was left feeling guilty and like she is not the GoodMom that she really is.

FancyPants is crawling, standing, laughing, singing and reaching every milestone ahead of schedule. She is healthy and well-adjusted. She is beautiful- which she gets from my side since she looks exactly like her mother and her aunts.

In other words, SHE IS THRIVING!

Why then do these young parents feel guilt and pressure to persue these extracurricular activities?

Gymboree and KinderMusic and Karate for Kids are new enterprises. Whole generations have gone before, lived and survived without attending one single open gym or dance class.

For me the decision is simple, if you cannot afford it, you don't need it.

For GoodMom, it's not so black and white. If she cannot afford it, she feels that she is not being GoodMom. While sacrificing other things in the budget will make her feel like GoodMom again, it will make her anxious and stressed daily.

Which all of us OLD MOMS know will only make things worse.

I feel for GoodMom and FancyPants. I mean, who wouldn't want to spend Saturdays playing, laughing and singing...

But Wait!

They already do all of those things! They just do them in the privacy and warm comfort of their own home. On their own time. In their own way.

And honestly, these are the memories that FancyPants will carry with her... not of the Gym or the Music Class... but of the time spent with GoodMom.

Singing, Laughing and Loving... in their own special way, in their own special time.
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