This morning, I helped get high school kids fitted for new marching band uniforms--finding the correct size for each kid, getting the pants hems snapped up (snaps! cool idea!), getting the right gauntlets and hats . . . we started a few weeks ago, have worked about an hour each day, and are finally done!
It's been so fun to hang out with them. I've gotten to be pretty close friends with Anne, "Karl's mom" :-) and we do things together besides band momming. So it's been a great social time for me as well as volunteer time.
I've never been that involved in my kids' activities--mostly because my kids aren't really that INTO activities. Robbie did soccer, and I brought treats when it was my turn, but never coached or anything. But I think some of these moms are real go-getters for their kids--involved in everything their kids do. Lots of them don't work, and some have odd-time jobs like mine, so they have time for it.
It's funny--I don't remember Band Moms from my youth. I don't remember parents being involved at all. My parents probably went to see us march once in a while, but I don't remember them doing uniforms--the older girls in the band did that! In fact, I don't remember parents being involved in any activities I did. Except for paying (though we didn't do expensive activities) and driving--until we could drive.
I like being involved in band, but I sometimes think we're not really doing the kids that great of a service. Wouldn't it be better for the kids to be responsible for getting the hems snapped up on their pants themselves? Or to have some of the older kids help with uniforms? Or have a bunch sign up to clean out the band room instead of the Moms doing it? Maybe not, but it seems like we kind of baby them.
And the parents going to every single activity--even staying for the Monday evening rehearsals. That seems odd to me. I like to see some of the events, but I also like it when Robbie comes home and tells us, with excitement, about the ones he went to. "It was so fun on the band bus . . . " It's HIS life, and it's fun to imagine his life apart from ours. I've always liked that.
I think it's easier for Moms (and some Dads, too) these days to be involved in their kids' lives. For one thing, most families are smaller! Back in the day, many of my friends had 3-4 siblings--parents were too busy with them to get involved with ONE kid's things. And maybe the expectations are higher for kids' activities today. You can't just go out and march and have fun, you need to be in 5 contests each fall (or maybe more) and be good enough to win. You can't have the older girls doing the uniforms for that to happen.
It sure is fun hanging out with the Band Moms, though. They need help checking the kids' uniforms before the game on Friday, so I'll be there!