I became a single mother when my three girls were quite young. It was not an easy time. There wasn’t enough money for after school activities: no dance classes, cheerleading, softball, soccer, gymnastics or horseback riding lessons. For a long time, I felt guilty about this. I felt as if I was depriving them of some vital life experience and, without it, they would always look back on their childhood and feel like something had been missing.
As they have grown into kind, thoughtful, well-rounded teens, I’ve been able to put the guilt behind me and see the benefits of not joining a team but, instead, nurturing the home team – our family.
The Family Team
A very good friend of mine also has three children and each child has an activity outside of school. I don’t think that there is a day of the week that doesn’t involve getting someone to and from a practice or a class. She has a full-time job, as well, so you can imagine how busy and tired she is. Many of my peers live this life. I admire them and I know their children enjoy doing these things. But it’s not for us.
For us, being home together in the evenings has led to laughter, debates and the opportunity to connect. We talk about our day at the dinner table and there’s time to help with homework. With one of me and three of them, it is hard to give them undivided attention, but our schedule makes it more likely.
We turn on our own music and we dance. We cheer each other on. Our lessons aren’t the kind you learn on a field or in a studio, but that’s okay. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and one another. We’re our own team and I can’t feel guilty.