Extracurriculars, Lessons and Why I’m Doing Things Differently Than My Mom Did.

When I was a kid, I played flute in the school band. I sang in the school choir. I was a cheerleader. I loved choir. I loved cheerleading. I was a little neutral on band. The reason I was able to do those things, though, was that for the most part – they were free. Sure, I had to come up with money for cheer camp or new shoes or band camp that one year – but for the most part, I was able to supplement the out-of-pocket expenses with school-driven fundraisers. Had that not been an option, I don’t know if I’d have been able to take part.

My family didn’t have a lot of money for extra activities. My mom was essentially a single mom for a big chunk of my childhood and the logistics of the expense and getting me to and from lessons was probably more than she needed to deal with.

It’s part of the reason why I have vowed to let my children explore their interests and find the things they like to do and nurture the opportunities that come their way. Currently, both of my daughters take gymnastics. The Princess can wrap herself up like a pretzel and loves to show her flexibility and strength. Pumpkin is fearless and is the only kid in her class who can walk on the high balance beam without a teacher’s hand steadying her. Are either of them the next Nastia Liukin (don’t be too impressed – I had to Google that)? I don’t know. But – I want it to be up to them to decide if this is or isn’t an avenue they want to pursue, and just how far they wish to pursue it.

Likewise, if one of them decides at the end of this session that gymnastics isn’t her thing and she’d like to try an instrument instead? I want to find a way to make that happen. Yes, I’ll do things along the way to minimize the cost (for example: borrowing or renting versus purchasing an instrument), but it’s my hope that my daughters get to find a chance to explore different activities and develop their skills and talents — or, in some cases discover that perhaps that particular avenue isn’t really their cup of tea.

I don’t want my kids to end up thirty years old, sitting on the couch watching “So You Think You Can Dance” (or whatever the future version of that happens to be), bemoaning the fact that, “That could have totally been ME if my parents had let me take dance!” Or watching the US Olympic Gymnastics Team take the gold knowing that maybe they had the talent to have gone far with it – but they didn’t even get to try. Or seeing someone nail a triple axel and wondering if they’d have been able to do that and wishing that they’d had a chance to learn something like that. Maybe they go to an opera and they hear an aria and wonder what it would take to perform like that.

We don’t believe in spoiling our kids – and it’s not that we particularly ENJOY spending money. I am finding in my 30s, as I’ve been taking guitar lessons for the past year, that it’s something I really enjoy. And no – you’re probably never going to hear of me making some awesome recording and making a boatload of moohlah with my wicked guitar skills, but it makes me so unbelievably happy that I get to do it at ALL – even at this point in my life. I want my daughters to have a chance to explore their options, the avenues open to them, and find out what makes them happy. Even though I complain about the stinky-feet smell of the gymnastics studio and how it’s too hot in the summer and bone-cold in the winter, I’m glad that The Princess and Pumpkin are getting the opportunity to try.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. What a blessing that you can offer that to Princess and Pumpkin! I hope to offer more to my daughter, too. My parents let me take 6 months of dance lessons, and I fell in love with it. But then it became too expensive. So you know that girl watching SYTYCD with a tinge of sadness and what-if? Totally me. 🙂

Speak Your Mind