A friend with younger children recently asked The Spouse whether there's any alternative to the insanity of driving kids to and from a bunch of activities, spending half your free hours in transit. The Spouse’s answer was succinct:
Sure. You can let your kids sit on a couch all afternoon, playing video games and getting fat. How’s that?
Ummm . . . not a good alternative. I must note, though, that one of the ironies of muscle-building, calorie-burning extracurriculars like swimming, basketball, and soccer (not to mention tennis and cross-country) is that it leaves working parents with no time to feed kids a healthy dinner. So, on the way to practices and games, what do we eat? Last night (basketball), we had yogurt parfaits from McDonalds and—wait for it—Zotz. We then had a late dinner at 8PM, by which time the kids were seriously wilted and ready for bed. Tonight (swimming), we’ll probably stop in at Chipotle. Backyard Burger sometimes makes an evening appearance, as does Starbucks. I draw the line at Krystal and Sonic, though I’m not sure why. Probably because their advertising looks cheaper.
So, in the long run, am I doing my kids any favors with all these extracurricular and no real dinner?
I’m just not sure, and it’s a question I’m pondering.