WOHMS to blame for overscheduled kids

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
WOHMS to blame for overscheduled kids
17
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 12:48pm
SO the latest round of magazines are being passed between some friends/family and I just read an article about the over stressed, over scheduled children. The journalist profiles an upper middle class family - dad own a business, mom SAH (she works about 10hrs a week doing the books, but for the article she is a SAHM). Their 4 children are into a TON of activities. Everyone is stressed, they eat too much fast food, don't get enough sleep - all the usual stuff. After we are introduced to this family, the article discusses the reasons for this phenomona and even though the Mom says she wouldn't let her children pick just one activity becuase it is too limiting - the author points right to WOHM as the cause.

Reason #1 - WOHMs feel so guilty about working that they try to maximize every second by enrolling in all of these activities (seems like backward logic - if you were feeling guilty about NOT being with the kids wouldn't you cut out activities to be with them - what do I know?)

Reason #2 - All of the WOHMs have thier kids enrolled in activities, so if the SAHM kids want to play with anyone they have to enroll thier children too.

Schlocky journalism? Pandering to the demographic (presumably of SAHM)? Undertones of a societal view of WOHM?

SUS

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 1:58pm
Reason # 2 has happened to me, as I explained somewhere else.It's woh/ and sahps though, once kids get to be school aged.My ds is in two activities, which I think is enough, but at least on my block, all the school aged kids are not home in the afternoon or on weekends.

If you were to say that your kids weren't doing something *every* day after school in my neighborhood, you would hear about how an early bedtime and a non fast food dinner are so unimportant next to art lessons and the almighty hockey ice time.I think lack of sleep and lack of good nutrition is a real problem in kids.I think activites *are* important, but we Americans seem to have a hard time with the concept of balance.

The Boston Globe did a story on this, but it was a more glowing account about how educated sahms/ pt wohms see child raising as a job and apporach it as such with tight schedules and family strategy meetings.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 7:29pm
I am not arguing any of that - I just thought it was interesting that in this article the author laid the "blame" solely at the feet of the WOHM (dual WOHP) and the SAHM's were forced to go along with it if they wanted their children to have any social life at all. BUT the family being profiled was a SAH/WOH combo and the mother had stated that she wouldn't limit her children to one activity - even though she has peers that do so.

SUS

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 9:14am
More like bad journalisim. It's vogue to blame WM's for just about everything and anything. I don't think WM's and what they may/may not do have anything to do with this family being over scheduled. That is their own choice. My kids are in two activities. Dance and Piano. I'd just as soon they dropped the dance. Piano will stay because of the link between math/science ability and creativity and early musical trainng. If my kids want to do something else, they can. They're both asking to take gymnastics this summer, which is fine since piano and dance will be done in May/June. I would expect both to be involved with band and into some kind of sport when they're older. IMO, sports teach teamwork so they're worthwhile. But, whether or not we're over scheduled has nothing to do with my working status other than I couldn't afford these activities if I didn't work. Anything we're involved in is by choice.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 10:15am
Jeez...not this WOHM! My son is now in one activity (baseball) and I'm ready to take him out of it because *I* can't handle the schedule!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 9:26am
I think if I were a SAHM, my kids would be a lot more scheduled. We all like "downtime" on the weekends to just hang out. I'm sure this will change as the kids get older.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 7:15pm
I agree, and that is actually what I have seen in real life. How are wohp's supposed to get the kids to all of those activities anyway?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 10:13am
Pandering to the demographic, IMO. I happened to read that article last night. Actually, I'm making a concerted effort to cut back on the number of magazines I buy, since reading them (and carting them to the recycling drop-off) has become more of a chore than an enjoyment lately.

As I was reading, it dawned on me that it was the same article you were talking about. (LHJ, right? I'm thinking this is another one I can let go of. :) ) There was a paragraph or two inserted as to how this 'overscheduling' was the fault of the WOHM's in this family's neighborhood, but that seemed really irrelevant to the particular situation.

The suggestions for resolving it seemed pretty simplistic, too. Limit the kids to fewer activities, plan meals so you can have groceries on hand, plan meals ahead in order to limit last minute fast food runs, learn to cook at home, don't expect the whole family to attend every single game/practice/activity.....Who lives the way these people do???

The whole thing sounded overblown so that the magazine could offer a tidy solution.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 11:12am
Another thing I miss about the office!!! Someone started a book/magazine exchnage and there was one in workout room as well, so I could recycle and trade pretty easily. I am down to two that I will not give up and I trade with family/friends. The addiction started out as a treat when I quit smoking (not buying a pack of smokes at the newstand at the train station, so I would justify magazine purchases!:-))

SUS

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 11:21am
Now that's a good trade-off! Most people who give up smoking seem to take up gum chewing, which isn't all that much better, at least to bystanders (LOL). Buying magazines, now there's an addiction that I can get behind!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-16-2003 - 4:14pm
Is this realy true? I thought that my kids missed out on all these activities because we both work an have no time to take them. My daughter only takes piano lessons and my son only plays two sports - and no travel teams, no scouts, cuz mom and dad can't hack it.

I do know plenty of parents both working and not that try to do it all . . . I never thought it was strictly a WOHM mom issue. I was told that it's good to keep your kids busy so they don't get bored and into trouble. An athletic child might get a scholarship. Having your kids at a planned, supervised activity is so much better (and easier) than having them and their little friends in your living room playing video games or trashing your back yard with toys. Have them entertained, encouraged, and coached by others - and catch your meals at the Burger King drive thru.

I'm sorry if I sound flip . . . I've had many parents ask me why we don't have our kids do more - and they tell me how wonderful it would be. I prefer to see my kids entertain themselves, even if it means I must entertain a few extra kids in my house come snack time or on rainy days. When I get supper on the table - all the little friends go home and we get to eat home-cooked food as a family. Everyone gets to watch a little TV and go to bed early.

Are they bored? Sometimes . . . but they find something to do real quick if I start assigning chores. Will my son win athletic scholarships? Only if he can develop his own raw talent shooting hoop with dad in the driveway. I think they'll turn out just fine.

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