3/8/12

Career Update: Published!


I was so excited to see my article published in New York Family! It's amazing to hold a glossy magazine in my hands and read my own words. Not only that, but I also got to sneak a picture of Ella into the article, too! I just reread it. I'm trying to play it cool, but come on, really. I'm thrilled!

Here's the first three paragraphs to get you started:

To Ballet or Not To Ballet?
By SHARON BEESLEY
A Stay-At-Home Mom Struggles With Whether To Enroll Her Daughter In A Popular Dance Class Or Hold Onto The Free Family Time They Love
Last week, I got an email about arranging a ballet class for my six-year-old daughter Ella and her friends. A bunch of moms wanted to form a class at a posh dance studio for the girls on Monday nights. I ignored the email at first because I rarely sign up my kids for classes. Planned events and organized activities that start at a specific time are not my strength. As a mother of three, I’ve learned that I’m much happier when my kids have an open schedule. I treasure the flexibility.

That’s not to say that my kids have empty schedules. It’s the exact opposite. We love being free to explore the city on a whim! On days off from school, we’ll run around the New York Botanical Garden or trek out to the Queens County Farm Museum. After school, we’ll take a stroll through Central Park. If we haven’t been to the Met in a while, we’ll take a cab over and roam the exhibits. If my kids are grouchy, we’ll hibernate, eat popcorn and watch movies together. As a stay-at-home mom, flexibility is the biggest perk of my job. As soon as my day gets too structured, the chance to be spontaneous is taken away.

But emails about ballet kept flooding my inbox. More and more of Ella’s friends were saying “yes” to the class. When the number of girls reached ten, my guilt started kicking in. I began to wonder if Ella would feel left out. Finally, when I read about the girls participating in a recital and being fitted for costumes, my heart sank. I imagined how much fun she would have performing on stage. I started doubting my praise about the joys of a flexible schedule. Should I be signing my daughter up instead?

Click here to read the entire article and find out what I decide to do! I share a little bit about my childhood and how it affected my decision. One of my favorite quotes the editors highlight from the text is: I always wanted to be just like [my mom]. That is, until I became a mother."

Signing my kids up for classes is one of the ways I am very different than my mother. While I avoid it, she signed me up for everything!

How are you parenting differently than you parents did? Do you feel guilty about it? I sometimes do!



42 comments:

  1. cut and pasted from above :)
    If Ella had it her way, she would be signed up for classes everyday of the week and weekend. I think that's why i struggle with it so much. She's always up for an adventure and to learn something new. Right now, the only formal activity she's signed up for Girl Scouts on Fridays.

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  2. cut and pasted from above :)

    If Ella had it her way, she would be signed up for classes everyday of the week and weekend. I think that's why i struggle with it so much. She's always up for an adventure and to learn something new. Right now, the only formal activity she's signed up for Girl Scouts on Fridays.

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  3. If Ella had it her way, she would be signed up for classes everyday of the week and weekend. I think that's why i struggle with it so much. She's always up for an adventure and to learn something new. Right now, the only formal activity she's signed up for Girl Scouts on Fridays. That's all I can take right now.

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  4. Aw. Thanks!! Oh--BTW the Beesley curse is contagious! I've turned into such a cry baby since joining your family. And Ella! Oh my. You should have seen us crying our eyes out while watching Marley and Me today. We woke up Rob from his nap. haha

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  5. Congrats on being published. Just wondering if Ella was given the option and she opt out too.

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  6. Congratulations Shar! I enjoyed reading your article. You are so good at being spontaneous and filling your kids' days with awesome NYC experiences. I think it was one of those decisions that didn't really have a wrong answer. You just had to pick what was best for your family. It sounds like you did just that. The article made me evaluate our schedule. Life gets busy so fast.

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  7. I was wondering the same thing as ava - did you ask your daughter whether or not she wanted to take the class? She seems old enough and mature enough to make a decision like that (based on what I've read about your family on your wonderful blog), especially if one of your concerns was her feeling left out - she might not care at all, or I imagine she could get pretty bummed out about it. I'm pregnant with my first, and a lot of questions about "what kind of mother will I be" have been on my mind... My mom signed me up for ballet classes (which I loved), but as soon as I stopped showing interest (a few years later), she respected my wishes to quit and try something new (I believe pottery was next, then a few other art classes - which lead me to art school and beyond)... She never forced it, but encouraged me to discover my interests as I went along. But, she also STRONGLY believed in having adventures - having one class a week didn't take away from all the fun we had together as a family.
    Congrats on the article - very well written, and gave me food for thought.... thanks!

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  8. Congrats, Sharon! Very big accomplishment. I think it is really great that you followed your motherly instincts. You and only you know what is best for your children and family. Personally, I do not want my kids to have an overcrowded schedule, but I do think some interaction with children outside of school is healthy. Taking classes, like ballet or soccer, teaches great life skills (teamwork, sharing, sportmanship, etc.) I think one activity per child is just about perfect for my family.

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  9. Sharon, I love the article! Congratulations on being published - that's amazing!

    Like you, I pretty jealously guard our family's free time together - there is so little of it. I have never thought about putting Eli in charge, but it's a wonderful idea! I see the pool in our near future...

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  10. SunnySide_LindsayMarch 30, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Hooray for being published!

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  11. Hi Shannon,
    I'm wondering if Ella showed an interest in the class, or if you asked her? Sometimes I think parents overbook their kids with activities, and other times I think parents need to offer lessons beyond school and family outings. So many decisions to make!

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  12. And by Shannon, I mean Sharon. Geez. I feel like a goof.

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  13. Great article. I am the same way - I don't see the need to enroll my little ones in so many things. Howmany skills does a child need?

    Congrats on your great work!

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  14. Wow. I couldn't be more happy for you. And your article made me cry. Not just because I'm a Beesley and am cursed with a teary eye, but because I feel this awesome admiration and pride for the mother/woman you are being. What an accomplishment. Keep going!

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  15. congrats!
    i am so different from my parents, but i think i always knew i would be, so it's not a big deal yet. i think they did an awesome job, by the way. that sort of adds complexity to the whole situation i guess.

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  16. Congratulations!! This is such an interesting topic to think about. I lost my Mom this year and have 2 babies. While she was my best friend and someone I hope to be like in so many ways... we are different kinds of mothers. It's just an interesting thing to think about, and not feel guilty about! Thanks :)

    agratitudejourney.blogspot.com

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  17. Sharon, this is wonderful. Congratulations! I so admire what you're doing!

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  18. Congratulations! Such a great story! I LOVE your writing!

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  19. haha. i know, right? i predict Ella will sign her kids up for everything :)

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  20. Congrats on getting published! That is so exciting :)

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  21. Congratulations! You are an inspiration!!

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  22. Congrats!

    Also, I don't mean this meanly, but you might want to check your blogs for spelling/grammar errors. I know others have mentioned it in the past, but in this post, it's sneak, not "sneek," and in your post about your trip alone, you spelled customer as "costumer."

    I'm not trying to be mean at all, but as a journalist myself, it's *always* important to present yourself in a professional light. You never know who's reading.

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  23. Well, great you made the decision. I never had a chance to attend all the classes, so as your mother did I am signing up my kids for everything. We always tend to do the opposite to what our parents did... I just hope my kids won't be bankers...

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  24. Congratulations! That's some good writing. It's also great that it's not just your words published, but a lovely photo too.

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  25. Awesome Job, Sharon!!!

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  26. SHARON!!! I'm so stinkin proud of you. And not just because you're my sister, but that article rocks.

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  27. Jill Vaughn TerraSavvyMarch 30, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    I was hoping you chose not to enroll Ella! Yeah for you! I have three kids myself and with two of them into soccer, I strive to keep a somewhat open and flexible schedule on the off days.

    Congrats on being published too! Clap-Clap-Clap!!!

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  28. haha thanks!! and as for your typos and spelling mistakes, i didn't even notice. ;) i'm a writer not an editor :)

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  29. huge smile over here. :) you nailed it my dear!

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  30. Er, sorry for all the typos and spelling mistakes! I posted before I was done. But, finally- also a big congrats to you on this milestone!

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  31. Sharon, this is a great peice and it is wonderful how you can appreciate and value what your mother did for you even if you aren't choosing that approach for your children. I think context always matters and your experience may have been more valuable becuase of the time and place you lived in and for your kids, the path you have chosen is more appropriate for the time and place they live in

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  32. Great article, congratulations Sharon! You are a very good mom, I love a flexible schedule.

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  33. Congratulations! An enjoyable read. I too had a full schedule as a child. I then hit 18 and just crashed - it was 6 months before graduating from High School. So much pressure from parents and friends. With our eldest son, we don't offer after-school activities because he says Yes! to everything. We wait for him to make his choices. Last year he went into Rugby and complained about training nights. This year we stopped Rugby. Last month, as a birthday gift, he is allowed one after-school activity. So far, he is indecisive about Karate or Guitar lessons. We're still waiting. People fail to realise, that yes, kids do have choices, but that choice has to be flexible for the working parent, the SAHM and the other child/ren... as too, the budget.

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  34. I have had fun scrolling through your blog! I am a designer living in Nashville but we used to live in NYC. I share your parenting philosophy and have often felt like the odd man out over the years. My oldest is now 18 and as they got older and showed real gifts in areas we have jumped in. I am actually about to put some photos on my blog of my 14year old who is a very serious ballerina (but not because I put her in class at age 6)

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