Practice is hard with children

I did not ring much for years after I had children because our family schedule, ringing room layouts, and child care needs made ringing more work than fun for me.  My small children woke early and sometimes at night, so by 7 pm I usually felt too tired for the brain effort and concentration of ringing.  When I did go to evening practice, I rarely felt up to trying harder things.  Ringers welcomed me to bring my children from babyhood on, and I sometimes did.  Towers where someone can mind a child within sight of the tower captain worked best.  Otherwise, whoever took a child out couldn't get back to join a band, because there wasn't enough time between methods.

I went to Sunday ringing for years at one tower, but not evening practices that ran past bedtime, so I held my skills constant and didn't try new methods.  The tower captain there set a band for each method.  He and I arranged that when he called me, he would ask one of three designated other ringers to be responsible for my preschooler while I rang.  It worked well to assign the three people who had offered and became practiced sitters.  I set behavior rules to keep everyone safe and not distract ringers.  The designated child-minders knew my child and the rules, and the captain and I knew they enjoyed the task and did it well.  With three plus me, no one had to sit out more than they would have.  We moved to another area with less convenient towers and our family schedule got fuller with different work, school, and children's activities.  I rang less because I had more schedule conflicts.  After a few years, I was disappointed to find I was no longer up to Sunday ringing standard.  A ringer kindly suggested I should come to practices if I wanted to ring on Sunday.  She was right, but I valued sleep more, so I stopped ringing for years.  I resumed when I had a small tower within 15 minutes of home and older children who slept better.