Extracurricular Activities

A couple of months ago, I took baby steps into volunteering. I’m serving on the “young professionals” steering committee for my local Planned Parenthood, an organization I’ve always supported in words and a few dollars.

It’s an ideal commitment for me, because it’s only a few hours a month (if that) and helps me support a cause I believe in without sacrificing too much time with my family. Plus, I get to meet cool people and have fun.

But the group meets on Monday nights after work (ugh), once a month, which means I probably spend all of one hour with Cassie on those days. I really miss her after working all day, especially after a weekend, and it’s so dang hard to get home after she’s gone to bed.

This brings me to a broader question about participating in “extracurricular activities” (anything that’s not work or family-related). I know it’s healthy for me to have a social life, and I occasionally hang out with my girlfriends–which cuts into my family time. I want to feel like I’m contributing to the greater community good in some way, hence my Planned Parenthood affiliation.

But a part of me feels … well, a little guilty about doing these things. Only a little, though. Mostly, I feel like they help me be a better mom, wife, etc. Still, why the guilt? Do men feel bad for playing video games by themselves instead of Candyland with their kids? Or whatever it is men do for their extracurriculars?

My other question is, what are your extracurriculars? Do you feel at all guilty about them? And if not, good for you!

7 thoughts on “Extracurricular Activities

  1. Mommy Bits says:

    I know what you mean about feeling guilty. I am involved with three groups right now but of all my obligations I only have one that meets in the evening, the other two happen to meet during the week day.

    I just boil it down to the fact that the boys need a mother who is well rounded and I deserve some me time.

    Trust me, I feel like poo getting home at 9:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month, but in the end that time is important for me.

    Glad you found something you like. Enjoy it!

  2. I used to sing in the May Festival Chorus, but it was such a huge time commitment that I just felt so bad about being away from my daughter that much – especially since I worked full-time. I mean to go back someday, but my novel writing has cut into my singing time. I DO feel guilty sometimes about taking time from my family to write, but I’m hoping sooner or later it will bring some income. Plus, I love it so much – nothing makes me feel so fulfilled. Sure, being a Mom fulfills me, but in a different way. Perhaps someday I’ll figure out how to write books, sing in the chorus, work AND be a decent mom and wife, but for now I still need to prioritize. For now, that means no choir. 🙁

  3. I play bassoon in my town’s community concert band. We practice every Thursday night from 7-8:30. I miss bed time every Thursday, but I don’t feel guilty for 2 reasons…I think it is good for kids to see their parents doing something they enjoy, and my oldest LOVES coming to my concerts.

  4. just4ofus says:

    You need to keep things for yourself. If you don’t keep at who you are now, when they are gone (grown up) then what are you going to do if all of your time was parenting and just work.
    Choose time when Cassie is in bed for going out to meet friends. Jason and I do that, go out after 8(our bed time for the kids).
    Choose one thing to be involved in besides friends and work. It sounds like you have done that.
    She is young now, goes to bed early and that will change when you have more and when they get older and are into extracurricular activities themselves with homework etc…..
    So you are well rounded with a side of guilt. Everymom comes with a side of guilt.

  5. I totally know where you’re coming from. I always did a lot of community activities, before kids. But now I can’t stand to give up that time w/them, even if it’s only once a month. It doesn’t help that my husband isn’t real encouraging when it comes to leaving him with the 2 girls for the evening. But that’s another story…

  6. I would love to do more, but have the same concerns. One way I ahve done anything (exercise, see friends) is to try and work it around bedtimes and naps. For example, I take a yoga class that begins at 8pm – just about bedtime for my kids. So I start their bedtime routine – then head out at the end. I also have managed to do some activities during naptime (generally 1-3) on the weekends. Good luck, and good for you!

  7. I know all about the guilt, but I also know that if I totally devoted my life to being a mommy and a wife I would be one.cranky.woman.
    I think the guilty feeling is okay, I just continue to reassure myself that having time to do things I enjoy or things I feel strongly about, that it makes me a better wife and mother.
    And sometimes having time away from the family is what makes me appreciate the time I DO have with them so much much more.
    My extra outside-the-family activities mainly revolve around our church, I teach Missions Friends on Wed. nights (but my daughter is in that class, so I get to spend time with her too) and then I also do children’s church one Sunday a month and I’m an active member in the choir.

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