July 19th, 2012 — Family Life, Life Coach, Mother-Daughter Emotional Osmosis
We have taken the year off from extra-curricular activities. Ainsley did tutor a second-grader before school every morning but that was it.
No soccer. No dance class. No after-school play. No summer camp. No after-school program. No vacation Bible school. No school choir.
Our family is in a period of significant transition with “the divorce,” there’s enough stress in all of our lives as it is. We don’t need a packed schedule this year. We don’t need to be busily running back and forth. We need to create as much routine, structure and stability as possible to help each of us adjust to our new parenting schedule.
Also, I loath being a soccer mom. There, I said it. I hate finishing my workday only to cart children back and forth after school several days a week and have my Saturdays sucked up by games. It’s boring. It’s stressful. It’s exhausting.
I’m not at all convinced that it’s enriching my children’s lives one iota. What I am almost convinced of is that it’s inflicting on them the pervasive American disease: Busyness. It trains them to embrace the Busy Bitch, and I have had enough of her temptations. The idea that you must cram as much activity into one day as humanly possible, that every person must be so entirely well-rounded that they lack any ability to say “no” to activities that create more stress in their lives, and the insane notion that to rest and experience creative free time is to be lazy.
During our year of no extra-curricular activities Ainsley has learned to make presentations on PowerPoint; written, produced and starred in several plays, puppet shows and rock star performances; read lots of books; written poems, stories and music; crafted a killer ticket and snack booth for her productions; done a heck-of-a-lot of chores; reorganized her room; entered writing contests (and won); created a webshow and a blog; and a million other creative projects she’s thought up on her own.
Zack has played like a six-year-old boy with his friends; creatively made some serious messes; found every stake marking every power line for miles and dragged it home; learned to clean bathrooms, sweep, mop, vacuum, organize the pantry and his room; and learned to read, sort and do simple math.
We’ve taken walks to the park and to the wild places around our neighborhood, or gone to the pool, daily.
They’ve also watched a lot of television. Which I will not be ashamed of. Go ahead – try to shame me about it. I don’t care. Television is as much art as the theatre. You get to choose which station you tune into, making it either enriching or demoralizing. Television is awesome. If you don’t know this then you read way too many parenting books criminalizing television. Television is like a meditation. It allows your brain to go into “relax” mode. You can learn cool things from it and you can simply allow yourself to be entertained.
Things may change in the future. We may decide that soccer is back on the program, or swim team must be Ainsley’s new passion.
For now, I’m loving the year of no extra-curricular activities. So are the kids.
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July 13th, 2009 — Body Image & Self Esteem, Fit Girl, Girl Culture, Mentors, Role Models, Peers
You all know Amy at Shaping Youth by now, but I wanted to run a piece about the new Women Talk Sports Network and what it will mean for girls.
May 19, 2009 In the “Young Runners” post yesterday I glossed over the new Women Talk Sports network and Shaping Youth Correspondent Rebecca Scritchfield’s involvement as one of their cadre of contributing bloggers, because I KNEW this media magic warranted a post and presence all its own.
One of our readers yesterday was seeking a hub for encouraging teen girl athletes dealing with body image issues and healthy tips on raising athletic daughters…I loaded her up with links and ‘go to’ spots, including Women Talk Sports network, but in reality, I could’ve given her just this ONE source.
Why? Because WTS folds umpteen resources into one ‘real time’ hub, which cuts to the chase by putting girls in touch with athletes themselves in ‘we’re living it’ mode!
Their conversations raise issues of importance and voices to be heard from all over the sports spectrum grappling with everything from critical analysis of media portrayals to sports specific tips ‘in the game’ and nutrition and training regimens. Continue reading →
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November 20th, 2008 — Fit Girl
Soccer season is over.
Ainsley played on a local church league this year. No scoring, no winning, only one team to play against.
I think we’ll consider putting her in a competitive league next year. I see no point in pretending not to keep score. Our team knew we lost every single game.
Why do we keep insisting children are stupid or not paying attention? Why do we attempt to teach them the wrong lessons? We live in a Capitalist Society – if you think winning isn’t important here – YOU haven’t been paying attention.
Winning IS important and we should teach them how to try their best to WIN.
I did not coach because I think she is less inhibited and shy and has more fun without me there. Coaching my own kid was quite frustrating for me.
Soccer is MY favorite sport for girls because there is lots of actual exercise (unlike baseball with it’s endless waiting) and it’s gender neutral.
Also, I think Ainsley has an aptitude for it.
She says she wants to try gymnastics over the winter instead of going back to Taekwando. I’ll let her if it isn’t cost prohibitive.
10 Antidotes to Self-Objectification
Sharks v. Happy Feet
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November 19th, 2008 — Body Image & Self Esteem, Mother-Daughter Emotional Osmosis, Sexualization of Girls
(photo courtesy: Shaping Youth)
The more I use my body the better I feel about it. The less active I am, the worse I feel about my body. There is a definite cause and effect relationship. My feelings follow my actions.
No matter how much time I spend talking about loving my body or telling my daughter to love hers, all the talk in the world won’t do as half as much as getting up and taking a hike, learning to run or mastering yoga and insisting my daughter to do the same.
(Photo courtesy: Mims Muddle)
What we usually value about the bodies of boys is competence and skill. Competence in athletics and things they can DO with their bodies. This probably explains why so fewer boys have body image issues that escalate to self-destruction – because their bodies are useful.
It occurs to me that the more opportunities we present to encourage our daughters to use their bodies competently the higher their self-esteem and body image will be.
(Photo courtesy: Confessions of an It Girl)
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November 18th, 2008 — Family Life
The grandparents came to town and we took them to the Community Dance. Live band plays Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Bring your own drinks and snacks or buy some there. $5 adults, kids are free.
So, we’re the only people there not collecting Social Security – think my kids care? No way.
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