Thursday, September 19, 2013

Keeping up with the Jackson

The Jackson trio in their variety of extra-curricular activities

It’s hard enough being a single parent. But when you’re crazy, like I am, and you allow them to participate in several activities, hard is putting it mildly.

The problem is that I want my kids to be exposed.

As a kid, I lived with my grandmother, so by definition my experiences were limited.  However, I was still involved in a lot of activities. I played sports, participated in show choir, performed with the drill team and was a cheerleader. I went on to a great university (go SMU Mustangs) and had some great times.  However, my grandmother would always say, “ I just want you to have a really good job, like at the post office.” Because of her limited exposure, not her fault…but society’s, that was her view of what would lead to wealth and prosperity. I want my kids to know there’s more to life than just the post office.

But DAMN. I am killing myself physically, and some months financially, trying to keep up with the Jacksons.

I have elected to put my children into private school. And as I have said in a previous blog, there is more to the cost of this decision than just tuition. When you’re in this environment, there is the desire (maybe pressure) to make sure that you keep up.  They need some exposure to organized sports and activities. How you ask??? By joining the soccer team, flag football, basketball, mini-cheerleaders, mini-drill team, cub scouts, girls scouts, Y-princesses, chess club, choir and we’re just in lower school.  I worry about gymnastics classes because I know that when cheerleading tryouts roll around in high school, some of the participants will have been on a tumbling team since age three.  I worry about private lessons for whatever sport we are playing because I don’t want my kid to ride the bench in the future. One of the choirs that my son auditioned for required a resume.  He’s eight!!! In short, I’m worried about whether I’ve made the right decision by placing myself in this competitive parenting environment because, frankly, I don’t know if I’m up for the challenge.

It seems all this exposure is leaving me, well….exposed! Keeping up with the Jacksons is giving me 3rd degree burns. I didn’t grow up with all of this and I turned out okay.  Right?  I didn’t have a portfolio of activities for my resume by age 10. I’m still relatively successful. Right?

But like most parents, I want my children to leave me and my experiences in the dust.  I want them to know the sky is the limit. But the question I keep asking myself is whether they will know that because of the schools they attend or by the model they are given….me.

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