Monday, August 12, 2013

Violin Lessons and Volleyball Tryouts: This Mom's Transition from Elementary School to Middle School Life

Today is the first day of volleyball tryouts for The Girl. At 5'3" tall with 110 pounds of muscle and only in the sixth grade, we've already been approached by the basketball and soccer coach about having her play those sports later in the year. We were warned then that the coach for the volleyball team was partial to the older kids- seventh and eighth graders, so we did what any family of a sixth grader who really wants to make the volleyball team does...

We practiced all weekend long. I played volleyball for four years in high school, so I was happy to teach The Girl the basics, and we even had fun doing it as a family. As we practiced, I couldn't help but think...

Elementary school life is so much easier than middle school life.  For my family, the difference between the two is like night and day.

Take The Ginger's upcoming week (he's still in elementary school, just starting the third grade): He has his GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) class on Thursday, and that's during school hours. That's it. The first PTO meeting at his school is Tuesday afternoon, but if we all can remember last year's run in with the PTO, and the same women are in charge again this year, I'm not quite sure I will be participating.

The Girl? Volleyball tryouts Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, then violin lessons on Friday- all after school. ALL of her days this week, with the exception of Wednesday, will end way after 5pm. Her day starts at 6am. And she has chosen to do all of this.

I guess she's following in my footsteps as an overachiever. You think?

I know there are Tiger Moms out there who taught their children Russian at the age of 2, how to play the
piano at age 3, and how to build a functional robot that can clean their entire house at the age of 5. But I'm no Tiger Mom. I'm the furthest thing from a Tiger Mom. I believe kids should be kids for as long as possible. I experience Mom Guilt every now and then when I see these kids with viral videos on the internet because at age 7, they can play guitar comparable to a mini-Jimi Hendrix, and I look at my kids, sticking cheetos up their noses to make each other laugh. I wonder what my kids would be like if Hubby and I did push them a little more into structured lessons or organized sports at an earlier age. We've pretty much just waited for our kids to tell us what they are interested in, and then we go from there.

This is why The Ginger isn't involved in any after-school acitivities at the moment. He's perfectly happy building Lego creations when he gets home from school. I've looked into having a local comic book artist do weekly art lessons with him, and we've brought up the Cub Scouts, which interested him for a total of 23 minutes. Then he went back to building superheroes out of Legos. He's not very athletically inclined, which upsets Hubby, so when the subject of sports is brought up, he just shrugs his shoulders.

I'm on the side of not pushing him. Hubby is on the side of making him try things to see if he likes them. We're still trying to meet in the middle on this one.

School has only been in session for a week and a half now, and I am already seeing (and feeling) the effects of the transition from elementary school to middle school. My shoulders and back are killing me from all of the volleyball this weekend. My calendar app on my phone is starting to bend with all of the new activities being entered in.

Not my calendar app or my schedule,
but close. Pic courtesy of iEnticement 
And instead of taking the little bit of down time I have to relax when I can, I have found that the go-go-go momentum of being a middle schooler's mom doesn't just stop-stop-stop so easily. I've actually scheduled a consultation with a personal trainer this week AND am currently working on a drawing for a tattoo client that's NOT Hubby. It's been months since I've tattooed someone other than my husband.

My calendar app is seriously wondering if someone with a life stole my phone recently.

Things have not been this busy since I was a single working mom.

And I can already hear you moms of high schoolers giggling at me. I know what's ahead. I know it only gets worse from here, especially with an overachieving daughter like I have. Now I know how my parents felt when I was growing up; I was involved in basketball, soccer, volleyball, Envirothon, prose reading for forensics, Academic Challenge, and started working at the age of 15 as a cashier at the local grocery store. No wonder my parents happily bought me a car when I turned 16- they were tired of driving my ass around to all these different practices and events. They full-heartedly supported me, and were at every game or event, but the daily driving to and from gets old quickly- something I'm now finding out.

I stand behind both of my kids in the decisions they make in life, especially when those decisions help them grow. My daughter's interest in violin and sports makes me very happy. Is it tiring? Yes, for all of us, especially her. Will I continue to support her and drive her around for various practices and lessons? Of course. I'm a mom, it's my job. Will it get easier as we figure out a routine? Damn, I hope so. Will I be happy when The Ginger figures out what he wants to do, even if that means adding more lessons and practices to our ever-growing calendar? Yep, I sure will be.

Should I buy stock in coffee? Yes, definitely. I'm having to keep a food diary for a few days to show the personal trainer at my consultation later this week, and I can already hear her now, commenting on the amount of coffee I drink in a day. Hubby asked me on Saturday if our large 32 ounce bottle of coffee creamer was going to last until Wednesday- I just laughed at him. That's the funniest thing I had heard in a while.

But, would I change any of this? Honestly, no. This is what being a mom is all about, and if my kids are happy, then I'm happy. Exhausted, but happy.

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  1. Exhausted, but happy. That says it all!

  2. I always wondered what my girls would do when their own preferences and interests took shape, and was happily surprised when it almost always came up soccer - it was my chance to coach them and continue our connections.

    We have to show the kids the world, you know? Or at least be willing to drive them around to find their own worlds.

  3. I never played sports in junior high (middle school as a child); however, both of my older children were allowed to pick one extra curricular activity and both of them chose band in the 6th grade. High school band is very time consuming but it has been very rewarding for my daughter so I support the madness(she is on her second year of marching band). My son is starting band in a few weeks when he returns to school.

    We made my kids pick one extracurricular activity so that we weren't constantly running them around. Of course that kinda backfired on me when my daughter entered HS. Band camp starts 3 weeks before school starts and runs all day long and then she has to be at school early and stay late several days a week. We live outside of the school district so I feel as if I am a taxi driver for a few months. It does get better after football season is over with.

  4. I have been hearing a lot of mom's say that car time is the best time with their kids. The kids can't go anywhere so you can talk about whatever you want and they are forced to listen. When taking their friends you over hear a lot and learn more about your kids.

  5. Middle School through to High School, before they can drive is just crazy time! All I did was just run around all day, every day for about 8 years with 4 girls;) All those activities do stick with them, and help them in life I think, especially now looking back.

  6. Great job, mom! Don't feel guilty, lol! As a single mom homeschooling three kids, I've had to accept doing just the basics during some seasons. My oldest just turned 18, and will start community college soon. He's done really well on his tests, so I think he'll be fine. I wish we could have done more, but overall I think my kids got a pretty well-rounded education.