A Small Break From Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Keep Calm and Dance Parent On

Now that dance is back in session, and full-throttle at that, I find that I have less and less time for myself. When you're carting around a child to activities almost 7 days a week, your evening is no longer your own. Sure, after homework is done, everyone is washed up, read to, and tucked in bed, I might have an hour or so to pay attention to my PVR before I pass out myself. Otherwise, the only free time that I have is at the studio while the little girl is in class, or at the library while she's being tutored, or at the gym while she's working on walk-overs.

There aren't many activities available to parents who choose not to, or are unable to leave for those few hours of dance a day. In my case, I live too far from the studio to make going back and forth an option. Also, I try not to leave for the mall or any other store, because I'm technically already spending money. Sure, chatting with the other parents is an option, some of them have become great friends. The best part about great friends though, is that you don't have to spend every second talking to them. You can catch up, have a laugh, sip your coffee, and then just relax. How to relax is the issue. It's not like you can break out the spa tools and give yourself a mani/pedi. So, how can a parent spend quality 'me' time at the studio?

1. Catch up on work: My least favourite option. This totally defeats the purpose of 'me' time. I get that some people are always on the clock, but if this is the only break you're going to get that day, just take it!

2. Knit/Crochet: This is the best artistic endeavor I've come across. You need minimal space for supplies and movement, and most people find it incredibly relaxing. There is always a feeling of accomplishment after because there's visible progress in an hour or two, and most of what you make can be useful (especially in Canadian winters). It also has the upside of being a quiet activity. Really, any hobby along these lines will do. Perhaps you can take up needlepoint?

3: Become a Netflix junkie: My choice activity for a while, but it only works if the studio gives their guests access to wi-fi. This may be the only way you have time to enjoy a film. This does require the purchase of costly device though - iPad, laptop, smartphone, and don't forget the headphones!

4. Planning: Bring a notebook. It may seem like this is also being done for other people, but honestly, it alleviates a lot of the work load from the coming days/evenings. Budgeting, meal planning, vacation itineraries - these are all valuable endeavors that will save you time and stress. You will actually create more free space in your day for yourself by taking this up.

5. Reading: I've been a voracious reader since before I could remember. I will read anything really, but found myself lacking any time to. This is obviously my choice studio activity. Sometimes it gets a bit loud, but along with getting to check a book off you're 'must-read' list, there is also the benefit of improved concentration and focus. I couldn't sit still during activities until I started bringing a book with me to all of them.

I'd love to know how other people spend their time during activities. Maybe there is something totally awesome I'm missing out on!

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