The T-Shirt Declares My Tribe: Band Mom

By Karen Austin

While taking stock of my closet this weekend, I count three t-shirts and one sweatshirt. They declare me as a “band mom” or “trumpet mom.” I’m picking up two more high school marching band shirts next week.

When people ask me what I do beyond the roles of wife and mother, lately the answer has been this: “I teach one class a semester, write blog posts, go to the gym, and volunteer.”

For people outside of the church, the term “volunteering” makes more sense than “serving in a calling,” especially when I’m working with the cub scouts right now. However, I’m also supporting my daughter by volunteering as a booster for the marching band.

But I’m not volunteering with every one of her extra-curricular activities. My daughter participates in various plays and musicals at the high school and in the community. She build sets, works with props, or plays in the theater orchestra. She also plays in the band that accompanies the high school show choir. I feel guilty about not being a theater mom and a show choir mom. I do very little except drive her to rehearsal and watch one performance. I’ve never bought a theater or show choir t-shirt.

But I accept multiple assignments with the marching band.  Why?  It does take up more of her time than all her other extra-curricular activities put together.

Read More

Afternoons of Nothing

By Hildie Westenhaver

I have just done my most radical act of parenting so far in my fifteen-year career of raising six children: I have pulled my children out of all extra-curricular activities.

Even piano lessons.

Last year I spent just about every afternoon driving little people to various lessons, games, practices and rehearsals. There were the accompanying happy experiences: pride and excitement as my daughter performed onstage for the first time; my sons becoming more flexible and strong through Kung Fu; the sense of accomplishment my oldest two kids felt after finishing well in a golf tournament.

But there was the ugliness of all the extra-curriculars too: the fact that I spent very little after-school time helping kids with homework and just being there; the nagging and quarrelling about practicing, the lack of decent dinners (I always meant to do something in the crock pot, but it just never seemed to happen).

This year instead of becoming more accomplished we are going back to the basics: we will be working on eating good meals together and getting to sleep early. That’s our after-school curriculum now.

Read More