Recently, my partner's coworker told him that she doesn't understand why we keep our daughter so busy with going to events and learning new things. She wondered why we don't just let her be a kid. This coworker was also a mom but her daughter was younger than ours. Her comment might have been innocent and not judgmental but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Unfortunately, I was not able to tell her why I keep my daughter SOOOOO busy. What I wanted to tell her was:
My daughter is not that busy! She might be signed up for one activity a season with the exception of summer, where she isn't signed up for anything! I try to find events for the weekend if there is something she might be interested in or I think it is important for her to attend/experience. If she shows zero interest in it prior to it, we don't go. If she doesn't look like she is having a good time, we leave. There is no pressure for her to enjoy whatever activity it is. I just want her to see and try it out. She is really not THAT busy.
I keep my daughter so-called busy for three reasons:
IT IS UP TO ME TO BROADEN HER MIND
She doesn't know what is out there or available to her. She doesn't know what she likes yet and the only way to know is through trying and experiencing things for herself. It is up to me to find activities that might be of interest to her, let her try, and also let her quit if she hates it.
IT IS UP TO ME TO BUILD HER SELF-CONFIDENCE
Once she finds something she is interested in, it is up to me to help her build her skills and confidence in that area. If there is something she is uncomfortable with doing, it is also up to me to help her through it. She doesn't have to excel in everything but I would like to limit the things that make her uncomfortable.
IT IS UP TO ME TO PREPARE HER FOR THE WORLD
We have to share the world we live in. It is better for her to be in the real world and to see/meet different people. She won't be living in a world alone so it would be nice for her to get used to sharing and co-existing with the ones around her. Personally, I don't like crowds or noise but I still try to take her out to events where there might be a lot of people around. It is much easier to stay home but she won't learn anything from that.
I don't know why partner's coworker's comment hit such a nerve with me. Maybe because I thought it had no merit? Or maybe because I had good reason for keeping her "busy"? Regardless, I think I am doing the right thing with her.