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Feeling frustrated about extracurriculars


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I was with a group of my hsing friends today and got really stressed about some things. They all have more children than I do. They all have each dc in four or five outside activities each. Their kids play sports, debate, do scouts, play an instrument, take art classes, and more. Plus, they do co-op. Most of them have one full day out of the house, several activities per day and don't have even one day home per week. Plus, some of their activities are over an hour drive one way.

 

I can't function that way. I like to be home. I have a hard time getting school done with my kids, take care of the house, run the errands, and take care of calls, bills, etc. I don't want to have to be somewhere every day. I honestly don't see how they get school done with several dc and keep up with their schedules. I do know that most of them have moms that help with their housework.

 

But, then I get around all of these families and feel that I am letting my kids down. They can't play any instruments. They don't care for sports. And, they won't be awesome public speakers winning debate awards in the next few years. All of their friends are also together several times per week doing some of these activities and my kids feel left out because those others have more shared experiences. However, my kids don't desire to do sports or debate (neither do the other kids, they are forced).

 

My kids are all in scouts. My oldest is in choir. They attend Sunday school and we attend one or two events with our hs group per month. I feel that they have plenty of social events. They would like to each add one more activity, but that has us going to three or more things per week. I don't feel that we have the time or the money.

 

I know I should let it go. I know I do more academics than those families. I read aloud with my kids and most of them do not. I use curricula that I teach and most of those are workbook families. My house is usually clean and I like it that way.

 

I have been doing this a long time and I know every family has its own priorities. I know I should let this go and that my kids are not going to be permanently damaged because they didn't learn to debate as a middle schooler. But, for some reason it still leaves me feeling that I just might be holding my kids back from something they would excel at. Then, I remember that I chose to hs and I wonder why these other families sign their kids up for every class that comes along. One even admitted to me that she does it because she isn't confident in her abilities to teach her dc.

 

Vent over!

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My guess is that they don't do a lot of schoolwork with their children. Maybe they do and they are very organized, but I would place bets that they aren't doing much for school. I have a friend :tongue_smilie: that I did a lot with the past couple of years. She had one that had graduated, two teens, and then upper elementary kids at home. To hear her talk at our homeschool meetings, she sounds like super homeschool mom. She knew about a ton of different curriculum, had "tried" many, etc., etc. However, once I got to know her, I found that they really didn't do much school. She herself was never home. The first year, she was working in the mornings, and had planned on doing school in the afternoon. I don't think that ever happened. Whenever she would call it would be a lengthy phone call. She was always out shopping, running errands, or eating lunch with friends. Her younger boys are struggling readers -- 6th and 4th grade. It's pretty sad.

 

Anyway, I wouldn't compare. There are probably things that you would learn that would surprise you greatly.

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I don't do any extra with my children (except for one day a week enrichment--and I think that is for me :D)

 

I try not to worry about things I cannot change.

I don't have the money for them to do band or soccer or... anything.

We give it all to HSing.

I trust that the Lord will take care of the details as long as I take care of the basics.

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That kind of schedule would send me to the looney bin. I'm nearly there already :D. Besides church, my 4 younger kids each have only one activity (scouts - same place, same time), and my 2 oldest have 3 each (oldest can drive himself). They barely manage to complete their work as it is.

 

If we had that many activities, we'd have to eat out/have microwave meals all the time, and they'd have to do their school work in the car, and our gas budget would at least double. I'd have to get someone to clean my house and do the laundry. In other words, we'd have to have twice the income to manage it, besides the expense of the activities themselves. We'd have to get another car to accomodate oldest's activities.

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I know mom's who don't homeschool their kids that can't handle doing any extracurricular activities. I think it all depends what your goals are. It's not a bad thing. I allow each of my kids to pick one thing. That keeps me almost too busy. I certainly couldn't handle anymore than that. To me, the academics are more important. So long as my kids are getting some time every week to play with some other kids and socialize, I know their social needs are being met as well as they can be. Extracurricular activities have the work EXTRA in them for a reason. They are not the core of what a child needs, they are just some extra icing, and well, icing isn't always need to make the cake good.

 

I require piano for each of the kids. That is not an extra in our house though. It's part of their music program.

Edited by Dory
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My guess is that they don't do a lot of schoolwork with their children. Maybe they do and they are very organized, but I would place bets that they aren't doing much for school.

 

I wouldnt say that.... we have an activity every night and do plenty of schoolwork. We probably don't do as many read-alouds as some other families - but we aren't skimping on the schoolwork.

 

Funny, one of the stories we just read yesterday was The Fox and the Grapes and the PPs poster sounds a little like the sour grapes in the story. Just because a certain arrangement doesn't work for you - or there is another way you would rather do things doesn't mean that those folks who *are* filling their children's days/evenings with activities aren't meeting their academic needs.

 

I think what is important is to find what works for YOUR family and what sacrifices you are and aren't willing to make. For us to make it work, the house is usually messier (ie in disarray, not dirty) than we would like and the biggest sacrifice is time between me and DH. But to make it work, we really don't get to spend much time together - but *right now* that works for *us*. Maybe it won't forever, but the best any of us can do is make the best decisions in our current situation an then go with it.

 

OP - if you'd like to add more - I'm sure you can handle more than you think. I well organized (written) schedule that EVERYONE has a copy of is key.

 

If you don't want to add more, that's okay too! Our activities are mostly things my girls have expressed a passion for (except church-related - they enjoy those, but I chose to sign them up - the rest they asked for).

 

That being said, I do see part of my role as helping my DC find things they enjoy and are passionate about. It doesn't have to be music or sports - but I do think its really great for kids to spend time with children with common interests... but not the end of the world if it doesn't happen, kwim?

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But, for some reason it still leaves me feeling that I just might be holding my kids back from something they would excel at. Then, I remember that I chose to hs and I wonder why these other families sign their kids up for every class that comes along. One even admitted to me that she does it because she isn't confident in her abilities to teach her dc.

 

Vent over!

 

Just because someone chooses to homeschool and has their kids in a bunch of activities doesn't mean they aren't engaged and parenting well. Maybe it means they have extroverted kids, their kids that need extra outlets, or maybe they just need some alone time for their sanity. I really don't think it's healthy to compare yourself with other families. If your kids are happy, learning, and engaged it's a win. If you did have a child absolutely begging to try some activity, I think I might personally work to make that happen at least in the short term.

 

And FTR, this year I'm discovering my younger prefers to have a pile of workbooks to run through rather than listen to me drone on and on. :tongue_smilie: I still do out loud reading with them, but it's definitely not their favorite.

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Just because someone chooses to homeschool and has their kids in a bunch of activities doesn't mean they aren't engaged and parenting well. Maybe it means they have extroverted kids, their kids that need extra outlets, or maybe they just need some alone time for their sanity. I really don't think it's healthy to compare yourself with other families. If your kids are happy, learning, and engaged it's a win. If you did have a child absolutely begging to try some activity, I think I might personally work to make that happen at least in the short term.

 

And FTR, this year I'm discovering my younger prefers to have a pile of workbooks to run through rather than listen to me drone on and on. :tongue_smilie: I still do out loud reading with them, but it's definitely not their favorite.

 

This. We have activities every day of the week. I still read aloud to my kids, and our academics are rigorous. My house is clean, the laundry gets done, and I cook every night of the week except Wednesday, when we eat at church.

 

How do I do this? I get up early and go to bed late. I multi-task, like putting dinner in the slow cooker while I'm making lunch. I go, go, go, when I would rather stay home. Why? Because my kids thrive on this kind of activity. I can rest when they're grown.

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We don't do a co-op b/c I can't handle anything else. We have ballet, piano for both kids, and soccer. My rule is one activity a piece and they all have to take piano. Dd2 wants to take balletso that will work out. Dh takes care of soccer, I just show up to games:)

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I see music as a part of home education - so we have piano and violin... and next year will add choir. I see scouts as exploration into areas of interest that might spark a career one day (4-H helped me find areas that I studied in college for my degrees). So, it is an extension of home educating also.

 

Dance, gymnastics, and sports are what I consider extracurricular and physical activity.

 

That said, I don't take all the kids to all the activities. They one NOT involved can stay home to study quietly (for a change...haha). Sometimes we all go b/c I try very hard to book things on the same day.

 

we still get our work done... but it may get done at different times of day.

It is tougher on me than them. Hubby is out of town all the time. I am the cab driver to everything.

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I'm not sure what kind of replies you're looking for, Mothergoose. You've already answered yourself in the OP. You already know that what you're doing is fine. Are you looking for reassurance?

 

I do get the same feelings. My kids have already been doing more activities than we really have time and money for, yet I still wish we could give them more. And I also wish we could completely ban extracurriculars so we'd have time for a rigorous Latin-centered curriculum. And I wish we could be radical unschoolers so I could learn to knit while the kids figure out calculus by looking at trees or however the heck these things happen. :lol:

 

The bottom line is, nobody can do it all. Here are a few things I would like to do:

 

  • Spend lots of time on my physical, intellectual and spiritual improvement
  • Have lots of meaningful time to romance my husband
  • Work in a satisfying job
  • Spend hours being a supportive friend / relative to people around me
  • Have an immaculately tidy house and garden
  • Be self-sufficient, growing all our own food
  • Be a perfect attachment parent 24 hours a day
  • Have a comprehensive structured school day that covers everything important and is precisely tailored to each child
  • Have each child in about a dozen extracurricular activities, with at least one of them at elite level
  • Let the kids have long days of unstructured unschooling

 

 

Maybe I can do two or three pretty well, or maybe I can do them all very badly, but doing it all? Ain't no way it's ever gonna happen.

 

For every time you think that maybe you should be doing more extra-curriculars with your kids, there's probably one of those people wishing they could be more like you!

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I know what you are talking about, and many of those families are using their extracurriculars as their school. And yes, it looks good, but you don't really know how it is truly working for their kids or family. You have to find what works for your family and your kids. I would never force my kids into extracurriculars they have no interest in.

 

I think we may qualify as a family with too many activities, but, my kids want to do them. However, I have figured out ways to minimize time away from school.

 

4H, which gives Ds leadership experience, event planning, record keeping and more, meets 2 times a month in evenings--so that usually doesn't interfere with school, unless the kids have a public speaking project. When something like that comes up, we do a unit on speech writing and public speaking as part of our writing/English for the year. Dd is the club reporter, so she writes 4 times a year for the county newsletter, and those articles take the place of some of her writing for school. Ds does have a little more on his plate since the leaders rely on him to do a lot of the organizing and emailing for the club, but that doesn't require him to leave the house. :001_smile:

 

Piano is taught by a local high school junior who comes to our house.

 

Dog classes are pay as you go and we skip if we have too much school work. They are first thing in the morning and we can easily finish up school work when we arrive home. Dh also brings them some nights if we aren't able to go during the day.

 

Ice skating is one day for lessons, one for practice. We are gone a little over an hour first thing in the morning, and the rink is about 5 mins from us, so again, we are home early in the morning and able to finish up school---and the closeness to our home was a big factor in us allowing them to continue. Skating helps Ds with stress relief and gives him much needed physical activity.

 

It's still a lot, and sometimes I wish we were just home all the time like when they were younger. BUT, these things are all interests my Dc are passionate about and the forward educational goals too.

 

So we have 4 activities for each child, but we are home for most of the day almost every day. I'm not finding it to be too cumbersome this year b/c I have my evenings free which is good for me. I don't do well with being out lots of evenings.

 

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I'm not sure what kind of replies you're looking for, Mothergoose. You've already answered yourself in the OP. You already know that what you're doing is fine. Are you looking for reassurance?

 

:iagree: It sounds like the OP is already doing what is best for her and her family.

 

I do get the same feelings. My kids have already been doing more activities than we really have time and money for, yet I still wish we could give them more. And I also wish we could completely ban extracurriculars so we'd have time for a rigorous Latin-centered curriculum. And I wish we could be radical unschoolers so I could learn to knit while the kids figure out calculus by looking at trees or however the heck these things happen. :lol:

 

The bottom line is, nobody can do it all. Here are a few things I would like to do:

  • Spend lots of time on my physical, intellectual and spiritual improvement
  • Have lots of meaningful time to romance my husband
  • Work in a satisfying job
  • Spend hours being a supportive friend / relative to people around me
  • Have an immaculately tidy house and garden
  • Be self-sufficient, growing all our own food
  • Be a perfect attachment parent 24 hours a day
  • Have a comprehensive structured school day that covers everything important and is precisely tailored to each child
  • Have each child in about a dozen extracurricular activities, with at least one of them at elite level
  • Let the kids have long days of unstructured unschooling

 

Maybe I can do two or three pretty well, or maybe I can do them all very badly, but doing it all? Ain't no way it's ever gonna happen.

 

For every time you think that maybe you should be doing more extra-curriculars with your kids, there's probably one of those people wishing they could be more like you!

 

This is exactly how I feel. I :001_wub: this post and I'm right there with you experiencing all those yo-yo feelings. Add to the list I'd like to write a novel, some poems, learn to ice skate, get back to riding lessons, spend more time in the garden, more time reading, draw, paint, spin wool, raise sheep, and the list goes on....:D

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It won't matter in 30 years what extracurricular activities your kids do now.

When they're 40 and married with kids and have a mortgage and bills to pay, who will care that they played soccer when they were ten? or that they took a gymnastics class? or that they had music lessons? Yes, some kids will make a career out of these things, but most won't. All that will matter at 40 is that they have a steady income. Extracurriculars are nice, but they just don't matter in the long run. If your child has a passion for something, you will know. There is no holding them back.

 

Continue to do what works for you. Your kids will be fine, and will be better off with a relaxed mom than a stressed out one.

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It won't matter in 30 years what extracurricular activities your kids do now.

When they're 40 and married with kids and have a mortgage and bills to pay, who will care that they played soccer when they were ten? or that they took a gymnastics class? or that they had music lessons? Yes, some kids will make a career out of these things, but most won't. All that will matter at 40 is that they have a steady income. Extracurriculars are nice, but they just don't matter in the long run. If your child has a passion for something, you will know. There is no holding them back.

 

Continue to do what works for you. Your kids will be fine, and will be better off with a relaxed mom than a stressed out one.

 

I am going to disagree with this, but not because I think the OP should add in a bunch of extracurriculars. There is just no way that what my Ds & Dd are learning through 4H leadership activities and dog training wil not transfer into adult skills---there are too many to list here. And I'll add a plug for fitness activities. Studies show that most kids who are involved in individual type sports (tennis, swimming, skating, horseback riding, gymnastics) tend to continue to have a higher level of fitness than kids who are not.

 

That doesn't mean that skills gained in extracurriculars can't happen at home, but I certainly cannot provide Ds with county events to organize as he does for 4h. He doesn't just come up with the idea, he contacts the appropriate people, fills out forms, books the space for the event, writes the presentation, and recruits and organizes volunteers. And that's just one aspect of what he does for 4H. It's a level of responsibility that will transfer into all aspects of life. And both he an Dd will also know how to handle and train dogs, groom them, and work with them in agility, obedience, as therapy dogs or other areas. I'm pretty certain they'll both end up owning dogs and passing their knowledge on to their own children. And what my Dd has learned in just this year alone by doing almost all of the training for her puppy has already transferred into her daily work habits and focus for school work. And, btw, dog training principles aren't far off from child rearing principles...so there's another application for the future.

 

I guess I feel just as passionate about their activities as they do. For some kids their extracurriculars are providing them with experience that will transferr into college, work skills, and even their future family life. For some Dc, their extracurriculars are just so much a part of who they are that there is no way those activities won't matter int he future. And, for our family, they are providing us with memories and bonding experiences we wouldn't find elsewhere. Our entire family is involved with 4H and dogs, and we all ice skate together on Fridays, even Dh who comes during his lunch hour. My kids love it when he is there. I'm pretty sure they will end up with many happy memories of skating together. Already they mention some of those memories.

 

And, yes a steady income is important at 40, but the memories and time you spend doing things with your children are important. And, if those extracurriculars helped make mom or dad fun to be around and explore things with, then they have served a wonderful purpose, even more so if they have taught Dc a skill or passion that can be passed on to their own children.

 

All of the above are in no way a plea for the OP to add a bunch of activities. Maybe her and her Dc's interests are easily explored at home and those extras aren't part of who she is or who her children are. I'm just saying don't undervalue what some of us find to be lifelong passions that build lifelong skills and wonderful memories. :)

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It won't matter in 30 years what extracurricular activities your kids do now.

When they're 40 and married with kids and have a mortgage and bills to pay, who will care that they played soccer when they were ten? or that they took a gymnastics class? or that they had music lessons? Yes, some kids will make a career out of these things, but most won't. All that will matter at 40 is that they have a steady income. Extracurriculars are nice, but they just don't matter in the long run. If your child has a passion for something, you will know. There is no holding them back.

 

Continue to do what works for you. Your kids will be fine, and will be better off with a relaxed mom than a stressed out one.

 

I don't really understand this. I took many extracurriculars over the years, and I have fond memories of all of them (even the ones for which I possessed NO talent... I'm looking at you, violin), and learned various different skills at all of them.

 

I agree that if they're not interested in extracurriculars, then it's not a huge deal. But extracurriculars were very important to me as a child, and my children very extroverted and love doing as many activities as I can find for them, and I think it's ridiculous to say that this means they're not receiving a thorough education or that these activities are useless if they're not still playing soccer in 40 years.

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It won't matter in 30 years what extracurricular activities your kids do now.

When they're 40 and married with kids and have a mortgage and bills to pay, who will care that they played soccer when they were ten? or that they took a gymnastics class? or that they had music lessons? Yes, some kids will make a career out of these things, but most won't. All that will matter at 40 is that they have a steady income. Extracurriculars are nice, but they just don't matter in the long run. If your child has a passion for something, you will know. There is no holding them back.

 

Continue to do what works for you. Your kids will be fine, and will be better off with a relaxed mom than a stressed out one.

 

It may matter very much that your child has worked with a team, or a mentor, or learned something very difficult incrementally. These experiences can be made at home, but in some cases will be harder to reproduce. If that works for you, great. But I do think it's pretty short sighted to say it doesn't matter. It mattered quite a bit to me because academics came easily.

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I couldn't do those things, either.

 

Dds did dance (ballet for a year, then Highland dance), which was one afternoon a week.

 

They did soccer twice--two practices a week, a game every Saturday from September through November, I think. Too much time.

 

They did 4-H--one evening meeting a month, project meetings as needed, never more than once or twice a month, almost always in the late afternoon or early evening.

 

Camp Fire...mostly we did it as independents, which meant no club meetings; we worked on badges on our own, although we did do occasional parades and candy sale and whatnot.

 

They did Missionettes or Pioneer Club or AWANA on Wednesday evenings when we were in church anyway.

 

No classes during the day/school hours. Never. No music lessons, other than church choir. No co-ops.

 

I wouldn't worry about it. Some people are just overachievers.

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This. We have activities every day of the week. I still read aloud to my kids, and our academics are rigorous. My house is clean, the laundry gets done, and I cook every night of the week except Wednesday, when we eat at church.

 

How do I do this? I get up early and go to bed late. I multi-task, like putting dinner in the slow cooker while I'm making lunch. I go, go, go, when I would rather stay home. Why? Because my kids thrive on this kind of activity. I can rest when they're grown.

 

This is me, too. We homeschool with rigor. We are very involved in Church. We also do multiple music instrument instruction, sports, art, scouting, etc. It requires a lot of organization.

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Maybe this has been said already (haven't read the whole thread) but I think one huge and desirable advantage your kids have is that they're learning how a house is really run. They are also learning how to have limits and how to manage down time. And that down time is important and desirable. And that being involved in outside activities involves deliberate, careful decision-making.

 

I'm on your side.

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I think some extracurricular (especially for younger ages) has evolved as almost "planned play".... kids do not get up soccer games or baseball games on empty lots anymore (like in Little Rascals). So many can't even ride bikes in their neighborhoods.

 

If you have a bunch of kids.... live near other homeschoolers.... or many acres where adventure can be abundant, you have options to not pursue activities.... and enjoy these gifts and blessings.

 

However, I see many moms using these events as "organized play" almost. they dont' really care if the kids are even learning anything.... they just bring them to play.

 

I imagine some is "keeping up with the Joneses" too. Some are compelled to be in it all because they think the neighbors might be doing the same. (that is sad too).

 

I think you find the balance for your family. My kids can't mingle in our neighborhood. So, we reach out for homeschool recreation events. I mentioned in previous post that I also use it to plant seeds of future entrepreneurship or scholarship. But it requires a balance or you will go nuts and hate every minute.

 

What fits your family is best! (I do encourage music lessons though & not as extracurricular, but core)

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Maybe this has been said already (haven't read the whole thread) but I think one huge and desirable advantage your kids have is that they're learning how a house is really run. They are also learning how to have limits and how to manage down time. And that down time is important and desirable. And that being involved in outside activities involves deliberate, careful decision-making.

 

I'm on your side.

 

I'm confused by this. My children have lots of activities and have been very successful in academic endeavors. My 6th grader has a schedule similar to your middle child. Is our house not being run correctly? I hope my children are learning an amazing work ethic from their chosen activities. I hope they are discovering that there is more to the world than our little bubble. They have never needed my help to manage down time, nor have I had a complaint about following through with extracurriculars.

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I guess I'm confused reading your post...what frustrates you?

 

I really am trying to figure out how the number of extracurriculars other families choose to do affects the number you choose to do. You know what you're doing works for your family and you're comfortable with your decision (until you start comparing). You don't need them to make the same choices to validate yours. You already know you should let it go. One way to do that might be to trust that they know the best choices for their families, and trust yourself the same. Be content.

 

We do lots of extracurriculars. More than I'd like to do, actually, but my kids are exactly where they need to be right now. We also have a rigorous academic schedule, a clean house, and family time. We read together. We cook healthy meals. We're content with our choices and priorities. I would hate to find out that one of my friends is secretly thinking, "Man, those guys are stressing me out because they're signing their kids up for everything."

 

Cat

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Comparison has been the death of many a homeschooler.

 

If you're doing what you feel works best for your family, then you're good. Stay focused.

 

No comparing to others. It's just not fruitful.

 

Absolute best advice on this thread! Now we just need a comment about not making assumptions and withholding judgement.

 

We are out more than I'd like, but I know it's what is best for Dc currently. I would think that most homeschooling parents would monitor and adjust outside activities to fit appropriately within their educational philosophy and also allowing for their Dc's particular gifts, talents, and interests, while also keeping an eye on finances. It's a tall order.

 

I know there are families who just don't have the finances for many extras. We are fortunate that 4H offers us so many opportunities and costs $5 a year. I know at one point on the high school board one mom posted her list of ways she found free and inexpensive extracurricular outlets for her Dc. It was amazing the types of opportunities she found for them locally in the community using a little imagination and simply having the courage to ask.

 

BTW, to address Ellie's comment, I don't consider us overachievers. For years Ds's 4H goal with his dog was to help him get to the point that he could go places without shaking and having diarrhea. It was all about learning to help his dog gain confidence. Over time Ds discovered other passions through his involvement in 4H. It's about Dc doing the best they can, not overachieving. His biggest achievement with his dog has been getting him to the point where he will allow strangers to pet him and a judge at the county fair to examine him. It was the fact that his dog improved, not the idea of getting a ribbon.

 

I do understand that some really are overachievers, just not every family with a lot of extras.

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I know I should let it go. I know I do more academics than those families. I read aloud with my kids and most of them do not. I use curricula that I teach and most of those are workbook families.

 

I have had exactly the same experience! In every group I've been in it seems like the kids are in one extracurricular activity after another. I have no clue how they have time to do any school work. So I can only conclude that perhaps they don't, or their homeschool is far less rigorous than mine.

 

My guess is that they don't do a lot of schoolwork with their children. Maybe they do and they are very organized, but I would place bets that they aren't doing much for school.

 

Or maybe they just work really hard and make sacrifices (like spotless houses) to make both school and extras happen.

 

That's what we do.

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So we have 4 activities for each child, but we are home for most of the day almost every day.

 

Right.

 

My daughter isn't homeschooling any longer (because she graduated), but she doesn't drive yet, meaning that I am still driving her all over town.

 

Between her and my son, we go to the following activities:

 

Monday --

- Choir rehearsal for my son

- Tap class at one dance school for him

- Zumba for her at another school

 

Tuesday --

- Volunteer shift at her dance school for my daughter, followed by ballet class

- Ballet class for my son at his dance school

- For the next several weeks, my daughter has a show rehearsal from 9:00 - 11:00.

 

Wednesday --

- Volunteer shift at her dance school for my daughter, followed by jazz class

- Every other week (roughly), an additional tap class for my son

- Rehearsal from 9:00 - 11:00.

 

Thursday --

- Voice lesson for my daughter

- Rehearsal

 

Friday --

- Volunteer shift at her dance school for my daughter, followed by hip hop class

- Rehearsal

 

Saturday --

- Once a month, model rocket club for my son

- We're waiting to hear specifics, but he will have some extra dance rehearsals during the year and will do two competitions.

- Twice per month, five-hour volunteer shift for him at the science museum

- Once a month, he has a meeting with the volunteer corp at a youth theatre program.

- Daughter either has another shift at the dance school or attends an acting class.

 

Sunday --

- Church and youth group

- About once a month, his choir sings either a church service or a concert.

 

And, of course, all of these rehearsals lead to performances. My daughter just finished a five-week run of one show and is heading into a three-week run for the next one in October.

 

However, even with all of this, the earliest we have to leave the house is 2:20-ish three days a week. My son takes assigned reading in the car. And two of those three days, he and I come home after dropping her so that he can continue his schoolwork. We have nowhere to go until late evening on Thursdays.

 

For my son, having things to do and places to go actually motivates him to focus on schoolwork. It doesn't interfere, and it keeps him happier and much more pleasant to have around the house. We absolutely don't sacrifice academics for extras. It is possible to do both, and do both well.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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We try to do a lot of extras, partly because my son is an only child in a neighborhood of strangers, partly because I think outside play is important and it's hard to get that alone in a rocky back yard, and partly because we just like doing them. We take breaks when there is not enough time or too much financial pressure, but we generally make things like co-op and park day a priority.

 

I assume that each family strikes the balance they need to strike. Every choice to do one thing is a choice not to do infinite other things. When we are on the go a ton in a week, we are getting social interaction and time management skill building. When we are home a lot in a week, we are getting more one on one time, have time for working on more home-keeping skills, and we have time to relax and pursue solitary activities.

 

If you are happy with what you are doing, be happy with it and don't make yourself crazy by comparing. If what others are doing is really bugging you a lot, examine your choices and see if you need to make some adjustments somewhere. That's the beauty of homeschooling, right? That you can be flexible and address changing needs in your family, even when those needs are so different from other families. :)

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This sounds like an ongoing debate DH and I have. He wants the kids to have the opportunity to try out many different things, to learn a lot of skills, to find their passion and have the opportunity to develop talents. I want those things, too, but I end up being the main one carrying it all out. And you know what I think is most important? A happy mom that is not super stressed about getting everyone everywhere and managing school and trying to keep the house from imploding.

 

The last few years I have been a grumpy mom because we have been doing too much. So I decided to take a break from several if our activities this year. DH immediately wanted to plug in different activities. We went to the homeschool conference this summer together, and he didn't care how much money I was spending on curriculum because he was busy collecting flyers: chess club! Swim team! Boys choir! PE! All I could do was laugh. All great activities, we just can't do them at the same time, especially not while schlepping babies and toddler's around.

 

I took the month of August off of absolutely everything but school so that we could get back into a good routine before adding back in a few things (like cello, violin, piano, Suzuki class, PE, possibly gymnastics) and I was happier than I've been in years. The kids were more cooperative. The house was cleaner. School work was getting done consistently. The baby took a nap at the same time every day. It was amazing!!!!!

 

Now you have to strike a balance between all or nothing. But that balance is different for every family and might change through different seasons of life. And if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

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This sounds like an ongoing debate DH and I have. He wants the kids to have the opportunity to try out many different things, to learn a lot of skills, to find their passion and have the opportunity to develop talents. I want those things, too, but I end up being the main one carrying it all out. And you know what I think is most important? A happy mom that is not super stressed about getting everyone everywhere and managing school and trying to keep the house from imploding.

 

The last few years I have been a grumpy mom because we have been doing too much.

 

Yes, it can become stressful, that's why I have enlisted the help of Dh with driving for some extracurriculars. I think, if I were you, that's what I'd be telling your Dh. :D

 

So I decided to take a break from several if our activities this year.

 

In another thread we talked about taking breaks from extras. When the kids are young, it's easy to do, and I've done it. But, once they reach high school age, it's not so easy. If you take time off your Dc will lose ground in his/her pursuit. Sometimes they may even lose their position. There's no way you can be president of a club and announce that you are taking a month off.

 

DH immediately wanted to plug in different activities. We went to the homeschool conference this summer together, and he didn't care how much money I was spending on curriculum because he was busy collecting flyers: chess club! Swim team! Boys choir! PE! All I could do was laugh. All great activities, we just can't do them at the same time, especially not while schlepping babies and toddler's around.

 

I took the month of August off of absolutely everything but school so that we could get back into a good routine before adding back in a few things (like cello, violin, piano, Suzuki class, PE, possibly gymnastics) and I was happier than I've been in years. The kids were more cooperative. The house was cleaner. School work was getting done consistently. The baby took a nap at the same time every day. It was amazing!!!!!

 

Now you have to strike a balance between all or nothing. But that balance is different for every family and might change through different seasons of life. And if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

 

Definitely, and it's not always easy to determine that balance. I've been thinking about the OP and wondering if the moms she is talking with somewhat encourage her to compare. One thing we don't do is co-ops or classes with the local homeschool group.

 

I found that many of the conversations there had a subtle competitive edge, and some were not so subtle. AND, I saw many moms idolize the standout superstar mom in the group. She had her kids in a lot and seemed to have it all together. But, I think she was just being herself, doing what she thought her kids needed.

 

Other moms tried to follow her exactly instead of looking at their own Dc and figuring out what suited them and their family. I even had some try to make their kids follow exactly what I was doing with mine, right down to curriculum. :001_huh: Now that was truly scary! :tongue_smilie: I wonder if a lot of it has to do with them not having confidence, as the OP suggested. That's also where I saw unhappy kids being forced to participate in activities they were taken to by stressed out mother, who was trying to follow some other mom's plan. They also seemed to be the families that had a hard time fitting in schoolwork. When kids love what they are doing, they will be motivated to get done school b/c they want to continue their extras. You absolutely have to do what fits you, your Dc, and your family and not what suits others.

 

Activities that aren't a good fit are the ones where you are apt to feel stressed. We were invovled in a 4H horse club about a year ago that we stuck with for a year. Just yesterday we were talking about how glad we are that we aren't involved with it anymore. We really tried, but it was not for us. It turned riding into drudgery. Both Dc love riding, but they picked dogs over riding b/c we could not do both (and we can afford two dogs, not two horses). They may get a lesson here and there from a friend just to keep up their skills somewhat, but no clubs, shows, or commitment to lessons.

 

We have an ongoing dialog in our family about extras. I make my Dc rank them, b/c we cannot do everything they are interested in. Whether or not they can finish schoolwork is always part of the discussion.

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I assume that each family strikes the balance they need to strike.

 

Now you have to strike a balance between all or nothing. But that balance is different for every family and might change through different seasons of life.

 

Only YOU know what's right for your children and family. Try (I know it's hard) to stop comparing activities and be satisfied with where you're at. If you were supposed to be doing something else, you'd know. Trust yourself :)

 

And I meant to say, too, that these statements above are very wise. Yes, we do a lot, because I have the kinds of kids who thrive on that, and because they have a mom who is willing to/motivated to make it happen. My husband tells them often that they should appreciate having me as the primary driver, because there is no way he could or would do what I do.

 

But we do make sacrifices to keep up this pace. Our house is never ready for a magazine shoot, and we have to be intentional about making family time when all of us are home to spend it together. Financially, of course, there are things we don't/can't do because a larger chunk of our budget is devoted to paying for activities (although we've drastically cut back on tuition in the last couple of years and have found things to do that cost little or nothing). We don't have a lot of flexibility in our schedule, because the kids are committed to being certain places at certain times.

 

These are compromises we're willing to make, because they feel right for our family. Every kid and every family is different. If what you're doing is working for you and yours, relax.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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Yeah, but at least with the people I'm talking about, they are doing several activities every single day. Not just one activity every night. As in they join every homeschool everything out there. I think they think these things replace school work. In my experience, they definitely do not. If I sign my kids up for any of these things it is mostly with the thought that maybe they will meet other kids, but definitely not because I think it replaces a subject. Most of the activities have been pretty fluffy.

 

But I do know some who do a lot and still do schoolwork. So it apparently can be done. "I" just can't pull it off. One of those to each their own things...

 

I know what you are talking about, and I can't do it either. We don't participate in any homeschool activities. Tuesdays 2X a month are going to be very full for us with multiple activities, and school time will be somewhat limited. Some of the work may carry into the weekend or evenings. I've also never found a local class that replaced our academics at home. That's why we don't do them.

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Some people do manage a lot of activities and do a lot of school work. I did. I never had a clean house. I wanted one, but dh doesn't care and doesn't want to help and he especially didn't want to help teach the dc to clean. I can't get the house clean on my own. I clean parts of the house. I make sure we get rid of (donate, freecycle) stuff regularly so there's not clutter which makes it easier to clean when I do.

 

For each family it's an individual choice what the family needs as a whole, what the parents envision for the dc, etc. It's different for everyone and there is no right answer.

 

Activities were a priority for me. For oldest they served both for motor skills and social skills development. For my dd, she just loved trying stuff. She finally landed in something that she spends most of her time on. Youngest has special needs, but he has activities too.

 

I found I had to be super organized to meet the level of academics I wanted, get to all the activities and have dinner. Activities were not a priority for dh. Since he wasn't driving it wasn't an issue.

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Only YOU know what's right for your children and family. Try (I know it's hard) to stop comparing activities and be satisfied with where you're at. If you were supposed to be doing something else, you'd know. Trust yourself :)

 

I like this response....

 

 

I'm very much like the OP.... we stay home way, way more than all of my homeschooling friends.... partly because I wouldn't be able to handle the constant flurry of activities and partly because my young son, at this stage in his life, seems to do much better in either very small groups or one on one with peers.

 

Even though I instinctively KNOW that what I'm doing is right for me and my family, it is VERY hard not to question yourself, not to feel left out, etc, etc when everybody I know is signing up for quadruple the number of extracurricular activities than we are!

 

I get it and I get the vent that the OP posted... Thank you for posting btw - I somehow feel "less alone"! :D

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This. We have activities every day of the week. I still read aloud to my kids, and our academics are rigorous. My house is clean, the laundry gets done, and I cook every night of the week except Wednesday, when we eat at church.

 

How do I do this? I get up early and go to bed late. I multi-task, like putting dinner in the slow cooker while I'm making lunch. I go, go, go, when I would rather stay home. Why? Because my kids thrive on this kind of activity. I can rest when they're grown.

 

This is like us as well, minus the cooking every night of the week :) We don't eat out a lot, but I dislike cooking, so I cook once or twice and then do leftovers and quick meals like sandwiches and such some of the others. Dh cooks 2 nights a week for me. My house is clean, but not as clean as I would love to have it. But that will come in time, and then I will miss these busy kid years.

 

We don't have 4 or 5 activities per child, but with my new part time job (where I get to take the kids to interact w/other kids, so they love it..) we are out of the house every day. Plus we have a full day of co-op out of the house once a week (where I teach the main latin lesson for each for the week) and the kids both get science and P.E. So it is a real school day, minus math which we do 4 days a week. Both are dancers and have dance classes. Both are in scouts which I co lead one night a week after work. We are active in church, but for now keep it limited to Sundays most of the year. They will participate in the Christmas pageant and have mid week rehearsals for a couple of months for that. In the summers they do camps and VBS.

 

We like it this way. My dds are very well educated. I am very organized. I organize the co-op classes so that they complement our home education. I teach some there, and then do the rest of the work at home during the week (and they take some w/other teachers where they do the main lesson there, and then we work on it throughout the week too) If co-op did not offer something valuable, we wouldn't do it just for fun.

 

I have to keep us on a school schedule to get our work done in time before we leave the house each day. I read aloud daily: during lunch, before nap time when my young niece is here half of the week, and for many subjects, especially for my 3rd grader or ones we do together. My kids have homework to finish on their own each evening plus reading.

 

So please don't assume busy homeschooled children aren't educated. My kids participate in science fairs, art contests, and one took the ACL's Elementary Latin Exam last year and scored very well.

 

I am actually an introvert, and prefer to be home more, but I am not shy. So I survive the busyness for the sake of my family.

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Do what works for your family and stop comparing. I feel like this too, at times. It is challenging to find a healthy balance, but all you can do is work on balance for your family and stop comparing. We (my family) are homeschooling in part to end the rat race we felt we are in and we see others around us in. Therefore one goal is to not be so busy that our relationships suffer, or that the kids miss out on play time.

Edited by warneral
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Here is why it is worthless to compare. When we compare we are either going to give ourselves an artificial sense of what we should be doing. Or we tell ourselves that someone who is doing it all must not be doing a very good job at it (causing defensiveness).

 

Perhaps some people CAN do it all. But you (and I) are not those people. We have different goals, needs, abilities. Our children are also different.

 

Some people thrive and believe in all of the opportunities available to their children. I, personally do not. Some people do more "extras" than I do, and some people do less. It matters not.

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I wouldn't be so certain they aren't doing school. Mine have been in lots of activities and still do lots of school. Currently mine attends coop full day one day and for an hour another day. She attends Physical fitness training for one hour. She goes to Ventures every other week and some weekends. She goes to youth group on Sunday evenings. She will be adding both dive practice and trumpet lessons, and those will come out of her free time, not school time. She also has joined a service group, will join the robotics group and will be on the Science Olympiad. SHe also wants to go to a speech tournament.

 

She is my only child I am homeschooling. No, she isn't taking two languages but languages aren't her forte. She takes four classes with me and two at the co-op, for which she does work at home. So basically she needs about 24-28 hours outside of the co-op. That is happening even with all of her activities. Some happen at nine at night. Some happen on SUnday afternoon. Some happen on what others have as school holidays.

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I went back to the original post and cannot find anywhere that the OP suggests that the busy families are NOT schooling or NOT educating their kids....

 

I'm saying this because I noticed a few posts here that seem to assume the OP is saying or insinuating these things... I just don't see that - am I missing something???..... she DOES, on the other hand, mention that some of these families are more workbook oriented...

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I went back to the original post and cannot find anywhere that the OP suggests that the busy families are NOT schooling or NOT educating their kids....

 

 

I'm saying this because I noticed a few posts here that seem to assume the OP is saying or insinuating these things... I just don't see that - am I missing something???..... she DOES, on the other hand, mention that some of these families are more workbook oriented...

 

A sample of some of the comments to which some of us were responding:

 

I know I do more academics than those families. I read aloud with my kids and most of them do not.

 

I have no clue how they have time to do any school work. So I can only conclude that perhaps they don't, or their homeschool is far less rigorous than mine.

 

Some do not cover many subjects at all and they all have their kids do curriculum that is hands-off for the parent.
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We're a very busy and on-the-go family. Lots of extracurriculars with lots of field trips scheduled in.

 

Our only workbook-y subjects are Math and Latin. Other than that our school is very conversational, involved, teacher-intensive ... but that's also why and how we can do it on-the-go. We don't have to be sitting at the table or direct-teach necessarily (beyond those workbook subjects). We don't have pages to finish or curriculum maps that need checking off. We're able to multi-task as we're on the go :) Subjects that some study formally or via curriculum (spelling, science) we study without a curriculum, which lends considerable flexibility. It's about educational philosophy and style.

 

My two closest homeschool-mom friends fall on opposite sides of the spectrum. One is very rigorous, Classical-style, college-prep and formal. She's strict about school being 9-2, no interruptions, and her kids do a number of extracurriculars but evenings only. The other is very relaxed, get-them-through-high-school and informal. She uses workbooks exclusively, fit around their errands and other life, and her kids get one extracurricular plus scouts. Both have five children each. We're all just plugging along doing the best we can.

 

We're able to be frank with one another; to share our concerns and comparisons without worry of judgment. It happens to everyone, the questioning and insecurity. None of us feels we're doing anything any better than the other; we all know we're doing what works for our individual families, and that our families have very different needs, desires, tolerance levels, and overall dynamics. That's all it really boils down to :)

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Yes, I'm assuming. I seriously don't know how people can be out all day every day AND do school work. I'm not talking about people who have stuff scheduled in the late afternoon and evening. I'm talking about the homeschool get togethers, homeschool this or thats, homeschool gym, homeschool science thing, nature walks, tour of the bagel shop, etc. etc. Most of the homeschoolers I know are unschoolers. So I do think they count these things as school.

 

That's what "I" see. I don't, btw, care what they do or don't do. I'm mostly saying "I" could not do all of that and do school.

 

One of the benefits of homeschooling, of course, is that we can set our own schedules. I knew one family, for example, who did the bulk of their regular schoolwork during the summer. The weather is hot and nasty here, and there wasn't as much opportunity to get out then. So, they had all kinds of free time to do field trips and hit amusement parks when the weather was more pleasant.

 

I knew another family who did most of their book-type work in the evenings, because their kids were night owls who were most productive then.

 

Others of us start our days early and stay as focused as possible until we need to leave the house. And my son is doing some work evenings and weekends in order to keep up with his assignments and still have time for activities.

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Reading more of the thread, and adding ...

 

the student matters, too. I'm able to do a lot of extracurriculars and field trips because my kids are good about getting their work done. They know that school comes first, and the extras will cease if their effort does. I'm also lucky to have kids that really just don't mind school all that much. They have phases of being giant PITBs but for the most part we've worked through those and gotten to the "it's not going away, make the most of it" perspective. Extras are just that - extra. You can fight me about math and spend six hours crying at the table and you'll still have to work through it. Or you can focus, knock it out in 30 minutes, and free up our afternoon for something fun. My kids get that, thank goodness LOL.

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OP here. I was not saying that the families are doing a poor job of educating their dc. I did say that I do MORE academics than they do. I know these people. They are my best friends and have been for over a decade. I mentored many of them when they started hsing, and they often still call on me for hsing advice. I KNOW how they school and I do more academically. I cover more subjects, go deeper, require more of my kids, and am more involved in their educations. I spend more of MY day in my school room than any other in the house. These moms don't do much one on one instruction with their kids. They do it differently and not how I would want to or in a way that would work for my kids, but they do educate.

 

What I said is that I don't see how they fit it in and I really don't. When I know their schedules down to what time they get up, wake their kids, and when they leave and return to their houses each day I just can't see where they fit academics in.

 

As for the whole point of this thread, I guess I just struggle with feeling the pull between "we are doing what works for us" and "am I being a bad, selfish mom because I don't like to run ten thousand directions at the same time?" As I said, I KNOW these families. I know that some are rarely home and practically live out of their cars. I know that some rarely have a family meal with the whole family and usually eat whatever mom has stuck in her purse or what is on the dollar menu at various fast food restaurants. I know that some do it to keep up with everyone else (and yes, I struggle with this). Others do it because they think their kids have to be the best at everything. While still others do it because they honestly feel incapable of giving their kids a good education while perhaps I am overly confident that I can. I wasn't speculating as to why "you" in particular do this. I am referring only to the families that I know and what I know are their reasons. And, I simply don't get it. I don't see that their sacrifices of family time and a peaceful environment are worth the rat race. I feel sorry for the exhausted babies and overstressed moms. And, some of the kids have told my kids that they hate some of the activities. I know sometimes they NEED it even if they hate it, but do they really HAVE TO learn to give an award winning oral presentation in middle school if that is not their bent? Do they HAVE TO be in an orchestra if they have no desire to play an instrument? Why? When it all boils down to it, in the case of some of the families I know, it is because they are trying to validate their decision to homeschool by having their dc succeed at everything.

 

That may sound judgmental or like I am trying to validate my own choices not to participate in the rat race. I don't mean it that way. While I like our schedule, I just get stressed when I am around some of these families because I start to think that I am holding my kids back. Then, I get home and think it through and realize I am doing what is best for us. But, the struggle still pops up at times.

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As for the whole point of this thread, I guess I just struggle with feeling the pull between "we are doing what works for us" and "am I being a bad, selfish mom because I don't like to run ten thousand directions at the same time?"

 

Do you know what's selfish? Trying in vain to do "what you think you should do" knowing that it's not what works but you can't shake the guilt ... and then throwing the family into upheaval trying to do "good" when your heart knows it was never a good idea to begin with. Trust yourself. Trust that you know yourself, and your family. Trust that even when that inevitable and occasional pull comes around ... you spend a moment on it, then shake it and go right back to trusting yourself.

 

 

I don't see that their sacrifices of family time and a peaceful environment are worth the rat race. I feel sorry for the exhausted babies and overstressed moms.

 

ITA. But how can you say that ... know that ... and still feed those kernels of doubt that you're a good mother for opting out of all that? :grouphug: Just stop.

 

 

While I like our schedule, I just get stressed when I am around some of these families because I start to think that I am holding my kids back. Then, I get home and think it through and realize I am doing what is best for us. But, the struggle still pops up at times.

 

Acknowledge it, but don't buy into it. I'm not one who believes all comparisons are bad, I think they are normal and sometimes even healthy. To that end I'd say how you've compared yourself to your friends was fine - you kept it to yourself (and us LOL), and it helped you to process your own feelings to sort through this particular struggle. I believe you that you weren't being judgmental, that you care about your friends and their kids.

 

Doubt affects us all at some point or another. Shrug it off.

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