‘They’ll have to give something up’

Naively, I thought the extra-curricular activities might be easier to juggle this term. My daughter would be back to one ballet class a week, after doing two a week since just before Easter, and she would no longer be going to her tutor. So that was two activities less per week! Easy, right?

Er – no.

Because when my son informed me, with just a day’s notice, that his school rugby would now be on a Tuesday, it all came crashing down around my ears.

He was finishing rugby in one part of town at 5pm, except he often doesn’t come out until 5.10 or 5.20. My daughter had her ballet class in a completely different part of town at 5.30. If he finished on time and it wasn’t rush hour, I could do it. But it was rush hour and he would never finish on time. It was impossible.

I know it sounds silly, but it was a huge weight on my shoulders. A giant jigsaw puzzle I couldn’t solve. I actually shed tears over it. It’s a small thing, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. With so much other stuff going on in my life, so much stuff to balance, so many late nights, so much silly teenage behaviour to deal with, it was too much.

I felt like the whole house of cards that is our carefully constructed lives came caving in on me.

Because it is all me. My husband doesn’t get involved with the extra-curricular activities, apart from football.

I could ask for help, of course. But I hate asking for help. I’d like a nice, regular reciprocal arrangement with another parent, so I wouldn’t feel guilty accepting help.

I’ve offered help to other parents in the past. If I’m going to a ballet class anyway, what difference does it make if I take an extra child? But I know that parent can’t help me in my hour of need.

Plan A – help with rugby – failed. Maybe it can be salvaged for the future. We regularly take another child to football, so I don’t have any qualms about accepting lifts in return for rugby.

So I tried plan B – help with ballet. That worked, thank goodness! But that’s only one week. Do I ask if it can become a more permanent arrangement, or do I carry on worrying myself every week?

My husband says he or my parents might be able to help out some weeks. But some weeks isn’t good enough. I need to know that someone is going to help out every week.

And if that doesn’t work? My husband has a simple solution: ‘They’ll have to give something up’.

But it’s not that simple, is it? How do I say to my talented daughter, ‘Sorry, I know you’re a really good ballet dancer, but you won’t be able to do grade 3 because your brother is at rugby’. Or maybe I should say, ‘Sorry, you can’t play for the school A team because your sister is at ballet’.

It won’t happen, will it? It can’t happen. I’ll be broken into tiny little pieces, completely unable to cope with life, before I do that to my kids.

Ballet shoes, Daughter, Activities


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Aww Sarah, what a difficult decision. I hope you can get it sorted without one of them having to give something up. You’re a fabulous mum and so supportive of their interests but you can’t be in two places at once and shouldn’t feel guilty about that.

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    • Thanks very much! I really do try! The start of every school year is always a nerve-wracking time as I wait to see if we can piece everything together.
      Luckily I think the parent who took my daughter to ballet will be able to do it most weeks 🙂 It’s such a relief!

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        • Thanks! It’s a huge relief!

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  2. How old is the son playing rugby? Can he not get a bus/train closer to home?

    We’ve had to do this with my son although he’s now 14 and yr 10, but he’s had to do this for the last 2 years as I just can’t be in 2 places at once and either his dad is at work, which doesn’t really matter as he can’t drive or my son has to walk/bus/train closer to home and I can then pick him up.

    I have to pick up my daughter as she is 10 and yr6 and they don’t allow them to leave hockey/netball without an adult collecting them, even if I did consider letting her start walking home alone.

    Its a nightmare as I would much rather they were out playing sports or doing activities they love (guides/scouts etc) than sitting in bedrooms playing games all the time, but then as a parent it costs so much time and energy that you wonder if its all worth it and oh by the way, when can I go to the gym/running/swimming?

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    • My son is 12 and in year 8. There’s no public transport, but his school is just about walking distance from home. The only problem is, it’s in a bad area and it’s not safe for a boy on his own in his uniform.
      Luckily, the parent who took my daughter to ballet should be able to help out most weeks. It’s such a relief! One less thing to worry about…

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  3. I completely get this. It is so hard to juggle everything and when it all gets changed and overlaps, it really is enough to drive you to tears. I am lucky that my husband does help with the evenings otherwise I would literally tear my hair out. I hope that you manage to sort something out, it would be so hard to make one of them stop.

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    • Thanks very much! Luckily the mum who took her to ballet has offered to do it regularly – and I didn’t even have to ask! It’s a huge weight off my mind.
      It must be a real help to have your husband sharing the load. With the exception of football and Explorers, all our activities take place while my husband is still at work, so it falls to me!

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  4. Always ask other parents if they can help! I only have one child and am very happy to take other children to/from a club and regularly offer but parents seem to feel guilty… hmm…
    I’m sure I’ll need bailing out occasionally too. It works both ways!

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    • Thanks very much! It is hard asking for help, but it’s reassuring to hear that people don’t mind! Let’s be honest, I help out others and I don’t mind! Luckily the friend who took my daughter to ballet has volunteered to do it every week, which is a real weight off my mind!

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  5. Argh that is a lot of juggling and sounds like a reciprocal arrangement would be so perfect. Did you manage to get it all sorted?

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    • Thanks very much, it is a bit of a nightmare! I got it sorted, though – the friend who took my daughter to ballet is going to take her every week and I’m going to take her daughter to tap in return 🙂

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  6. Relief that you’ve got help for ballet. Nightmare. I struggle enough with work, after school activities and getting N to either afterschool club or being picked up – and have had to rely on one of the other parents picking him up. Thankfully, other mums have offered help if their kids are at clubs on the same day, so people are willing to help.

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