Alright guys, this is our first Collaboration post outside of our introductions on Mother’s Day. We have taken some notes and ideas from our followers. What you want to see from this collaboration is very important to us and that is why we are doing it. We are starting with how we deal with planning extra-curricular activities. How our children are able to participate and all the adults can be involved, despite two different households.
Jess @ Not The Average Mama
Steph @ Making Time For Me
How Do You View This Topic?
Jess: I grew up very involved in school activities, sports and church. Extra Curricular activities were just always apart of my life. My mom was literally our personal taxi driver for years. I loved being involved in different things growing up. Being apart of a community is important in a child’s life, it helps them thrive and grow into well rounded adults. BUT there was a down side. I played travel soccer my entire childhood. I literally traveled every weekend to a different part of the state or out of state. I missed so many opportunities to be a KID. I missed friend’s birthday parties and school dances because I was playing soccer. To me, being a kid is more important than making the most elite soccer team in the state.
Steph: I believe that kids should know their options of activities they can be involved in, but not pushed to do one thing over the other. I want them to be excited about whatever activity they have decided to get involved in. Lastly, I don’t want them to “give-up” or “quit” in the middle of a year/season. See it all the way through and then if you don’t want to “sign-up” again, that is fine with me. I was involved in things here and there all throughout my childhood including sports, dance and church. They were important to me and definitely helped shaped me as a person.
How Important is this to You and Your Household?
Jess: Matt and I find this extremely important to be involved in different extra curricular activities. Matt loves to be involved with anything that the kids are in to. Even if that means sitting through an entire dance recital for our daughter. He will have a smile on his face and tell Jordan how excited he is to see her dance. Do you think he honestly is excited to sit and watch four year olds freeze on stage and not move the entire dance? I’m going to go with no, but he NEVER lets Jordan know that. This is important to HER which in return makes it important to US. They are getting older and wanting to try different sports/activities. We say, GO FOR IT! As long as they are doing something THEY want to do, we will support them 100%
Steph: Personally, I believe that extra-curricular activities are very important. They are important for building children’s confidence, giving them something to be a part of and learn how to be a team player, take chances and achieve goals. Paul and I believe that the kids should participate in some activity that excites them. We love being a part of it. Being able to encourage, support and practice with them is one of the best parts of being a parent. Sometimes we have to miss out, but we try to be as present as we can. Our oldest 3 kids live further away and it isn’t easy to be involved in their day to day activities. We wish that we could be, but it just doesn’t work out that way when you live in different states and 2 hours apart. We know how important it is for the kids to have the support of whatever adults can be there, as many or as little. As long as they know they are supported!
How Do You Work it out in Your Household?
Jess: Scheduling can be tricky within our household. Matt’s work hours vary week to week and I have kept the same job because it has aloud me the flexibility to be there for the kids whenever they need one of us. Matt will usually wait until a schedule for baseball/activity is posted then take it into work and negotiate days he can have off or work early so he can be there for them. After he figures out his entire schedule he will bring it to me and I will adjust my work/personal schedule to fit the days he is unable to be there. We try to make it to where at least one of us will be at an event for James or Jordan. A lot of parents have family members who live close to them and can help out with watching the kids and getting them to certain activities. We do not have that luxury. Matt’s family lives in Florida and my parents…well, my parents aren’t like most normal “grand parents” so I don’t really expect much from them. Getting the kids to where they need to be, especially on our days with them, is something Matt and I only do. No nanny, no sitter, no grandparents, and no friend help, but we make it work and it really has never been an issue. But on days that emergencies arise, it would be really nice to have that back up.
Steph: We want the kids to know that there are a lot of options for involvement. That being said, I don’t give them many “ideas”. I would prefer them come to me and talk to me if there is an activity that they really want to get involved in. When they bring up something, we try to look into it. Where they are available, how much they will cost and how time consuming it would be. If it is something simple, then we will get them signed up for it, involved in it on a day that they are at our house. When it is is something that has sporadic days, times, games….that is when we have to talk about it in more depth. Paul and I have a divide and concur strategy. Where at least one of us is with the kids for their activities. We figure it out one way or another. We do have some friends and family that will sometimes lend a hand, weather it is to run Jordan to dance or to babysit one/any of the kids, so that Paul and I can both make it to activities.
How Do You work it out Between the Two Households?
Jess: Working it out between both households use to give me such anxiety! I know that Stephanie is a planner and plans a lot of things ahead of time. I am the complete opposite and I like to see where the day takes me. But when it comes to the kids, I respect the fact that a routine and schedule is what is BEST for ALL of us. When Matt signs James up for baseball he will always forward the schedule over to Stephanie and Paul. I will actually remind him like a 100 times a day because my anxiety will kick in knowing Stephanie would like to make sure everything fits into her schedule (we are not the only people who she co-parents with, she has a lot of other schedules to look at too). Coordinating with another set of parents can be really tough when extra curricular activities are involved. Everyone wants to go and everyone wants to be apart of it. Not getting along the past six years didn’t change that either, if the kids needed to be some where, we all made sure that happened. It really always has been for the kids. There are times where one of us can’t make it to an event but the other parent will always let us know how everything went. Whether that is through texts, pictures or a phone call. There have been times where we have felt left out, that was in the beginning of us co-parenting. I think once we made it clear to each other that we all want to be involved, we made it a priority to make it happen. It’s a two way street though. You have to give to get. In co-parenting you can’t always take control of the situation, EVERYONE has to be able to have a say in what is going to happen. It’s hard at first, but in the end you have to remember who you are doing this for in the first place, the kids.
Steph: For the most part the only on going thing that we have had to deal with like this, is Baseball. James has played baseball for 4 seasons now. When it first started, we had to discuss what city he would play for. We only live about 20 minutes apart, so it didn’t really matter, but mattered because we needed to get him signed up. So, he has played in the city that Matt and Jess live in for all 4 years. We work together to keep each other informed. Schedules for practice, games, etc. It doesn’t matter whose days, what thing is on, we all work together to get him to his obligations.
There are a couple of other times that we figure things out between the 2 Households. Jordan is in Dance, her practice is on a day where she is at our house, so I just take her to practice each week. However, as soon as I find out when the recital is, I let Matt and Jess know. I have always purchased the tickets for all of us, sitting close by and making it work. Sometimes there are things that don’t even occur to me. Like how important it might be for Jess to help Jordan get ready for her recital. That has nothing to do with no wanting her to be a part of it, it just simply doesn’t even enter my thoughts. Though last year and again this year (in a few weeks), Jess will be coming over to my house to help get Jordan ready, do her make-up and hair before her recital.
I take the kids to church regularly. It is the church that I grew up in and I try to stay as active as I can. The kids love it and are very active in it as well. Just before Christmas every year there is a Children’s Christmas Pageant. So far both James and Jordan have been involved every year for the last 6 years. When I find out the day and time of this event, I let Jess and Matt know so that they can attend the program.
We work really hard to make sure that everyone is happy. Paul and I have 6 kids, that live in 4 different households. It is really hard to stay on top of schedules, coordinate with all the other parents and make sure that no one feels left out. We try our best to stay active, involved and make sure that everyone feels included! In the end, its all about those kids!!