I needed to read this today, which chronicles the real costs of parental pressure.
Because as I've talked about several times before, I'm really torn on the question of how many activities to sign kids up for (because let's be honest "letting" them sign up for things involves the parent actually filling out the paperwork and writing the checks, obtaining the uniforms and special footwear, writing more checks for recital costumes and music stands and teacher/coach gifts and extra fees, and shuttling them to and from each and every activity and...)
I think some of my ambiguity comes from the fact that many activities have separate "additional" components that are either hard to predict, poorly timed, or not something that particularly appeals to me or the child. We made up so many rained-out softball games last spring/summer that there were weeks where my then-6 year-old played softball four days out of seven. Even the most ardent fan of the game (and she was not particularly ardent, though she enjoyed being with friends) might not keep up with their interest at that pace.
The band that my son plays in through school (I plan to write a separate post at some point about how my Facebook friends convinced me that letting him sign up for band was a good idea) has extra concerts - some optional, some mandatory. Tonight's I believe is mandatory. Oops. He's enjoying the process of learning to play the clarinet, and I'm glad for that opportunity, but with all the extras with band, I think it's going to become optional next year.
This past weekend there was a gymnastics meet on Sunday. Every meet we've had thus far in the 3 years my son has been on this team have taken place on Sunday mornings at 8, 9 or 10 AM, depending on how far away they are. With that in mind, we made arrangements to stay with friends Saturday night near the meet location (40 miles from home.) And three days before the meet, the time was finally announced. 4 PM would have been the first event. Uhh...
So I feel just a smidge guilty because I recognize at this point my son's participation in these kinds of activities is really up to me to get him there. He's a happy go-lucky kid, he'll participate in most anything if I get him there. But is that really the right choice for our family? Being out all day Sunday, getting home at or after bedtime (meets often run 3+ hours, plus the 40 mile commute...) -- did that make sense? A weeknight concert, late start time, more time away from home on a school night?
Maybe. If these were his only opportunities to have the performance/competition experience, I might feel differently, but since by now they're just adding to his performance and competition experience (and he's happy go-lucky, he doesn't get particularly nervous. Remember? My kids always get picked first.)
Am I sending the wrong message to ask my kids to skip some activities? To accidentally take so long in finding a dance class that by the time we do go in to sign up all the classes are full? (or to take a deep relieved breath upon hearing that news, as it means one fewer $85 recital costume and all-day rehearsal in my future.)
We've reached an interesting milestone in our family for this summer. We have collectively decided to only sign up for one session of swim lessons (and truthfully, that's mommy deciding there - the lessons are very close to home, indoors so all-weather, and not very expensive. Plus if mommy were to be really really honest with everyone, even though mommy is a Pisces and a passable swimmer herself, she has some water-related fears. Having someone else  impart swimming knowledge and skills onto said children is worth it.)
Other than one session of swim lessons, the kids are not going to sign up for a single camp or lesson. No piano, no science camp, no day camp at school, no tennis, nothing. The gymnast might even skip gymnastics for the summer, depending on his decision around gymnastics for next school year (if he's going to continue on in gymnastics he'll continue this summer, but if he plans to drop it, we can drop it by the end of meet season in late May.)
Just think, a whole summer full of opportunities for the kids to tie each other up!
While it's possible we'll be certifiably insane by June 11, hopefully this will give us all some breathing room, and some time at home/library/new swimming pool in town. Is it wrong that I'm already eagerly anticipating the start of summer?
 Enthusiastic teen members of the high school's swim team
 Is there any other kind of teen member of a swim team?