Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Dropping the Ball and Skipping "Enrichment" Activities
Then life happened. The swim instructor email went out saying lessons would be on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Wait, what? My hyper-active Type A planning mind froze-up. I work late on Tuesdays and Thursday, the kids go to after school. We CANNOT due swim those nights. This past summer the kids had swim on Tuesdays, after a full-day of summer camp, and on more than one occasion our oldest was in tears in the pool because he was being pushed so hard. For 24 hours I asked around for recommendations. My plan was to have them swim on Sundays. And then the storm clouds cleared and my mind settled.
My kids are 9 and 7. We are entering cold and flu season. What are the chances they'll both be healthy enough to swim on Sundays in late-October to December. What will the weather conditions be like for driving? I may have been born with a Swedish last name (Gustafson), but I really dislike driving in snow (we live in Madison, Wisconsin -- we get snow, and ice). And then I realized I could simply take them swimming with me at the gym. Friday night and Saturday as well as Sunday there is "family swim", and other times we could just share a lane. They know HOW to swim, for now we just need to keep swimming. Lessons aren't essential.
Gone was the stress of scheduling, opening up time for the kids and I to share a way I love to stay active - swim just to swim. I have no dreams that a swim scholarship will put them through college. Our frugal ways and devotion to funding their 529 college savings plans will pay for school. They are not yet double-digit age and have a hefty amount tucked away for higher education. My undergraduate and law degree are from public universities, so I don't buy into the "you have to do x, y, and z to get into the ivy league sales mania."
So I dropped the ball and found: piece of mind, more relaxed schedules, no stress of missed lessons due to illness, and more money in my budget. Today the Washington Post ran an article on teens delayed development. Oddly there is little to no discussion of the modern trend to "enrich" our children's lives with near constant organized activity. Kids these days have little to no time to just play in the back yard or splash in the pool. I'm bucking the trend with our kids and backing off of the enrichment activities more than I have in the past. Where are you on your frugal path?