I feel kind of bad saying this, but I really hate going to my son’s baseball games. I go occasionally, but most times it’s my husband, the baseball lover, who takes him. I’m the one who does the ballet and music classes for the other children. It seems to be a good division. Sometimes if we’re busy I’ll send the kids to their lessons or games with a neighbor.
I thought this was the way most parents do things until I talked to one of my friends. She explained how either she or her husband has been to every single practice, lesson, game and concert that her children have ever participated in. With a high-schooler and two middle-schoolers that’s a lot of stuff she’s been going to.
Compare this to my parents. Sometimes they’d come to a chorus concert, but athletic events? Never. We were responsible for getting ourselves to all clubs and practices. Like most weird things in people’s childhoods, this seemed normal to my siblings and me until we grew up and realized that it was a little too hands-off.
I seem to be caught somewhere in the middle. I think it’s important to show my children that I love and support them, but it’s not my entire existence. I blew off my daughter’s piano recital last month to meet up with an old friend who was in town for one day only. I don’t know if that makes me selfish. I guess it does, but I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. (Besides, it’s not like I haven’t heard my daughter play those two songs a million times already.)
Shouldn’t my kids know that my husband and I have a life too? I don’t want my children to feel neglected and that I don’t care about their interests. But I also don’t want to be a helicopter parent, hovering and suffocating my children’s independence. Is it wise to make my children the center of the universe, or is that how things should be? At what point is there too much involvement or too little?