Like a lot of other parents I know, I've done hard time in dance school lobbies, on benches outside art studios and on saggy couches while a violin lesson goes on.

Dear Columbus Parents,

Like a lot of other parents I know, I've done hard time in dance school lobbies, on benches outside art studios and on saggy couches while a violin lesson goes on. This photo is me revisiting the "good old days" when I was spending quality sitting time at BalletMet Dance Academy while my daughter took classes there.

You have to approach this waiting stuff with a clear-cut game plan: Some parents come to chat, others to get caught up on reading or work (in this photo, I'm demonstrating a strategy that I learned from another ballet mom, Sheryl, who taught me that if you pop the ear buds in but don't turn on your iPod, you can still listen to what the chatting parents are saying without having to participate. Sheryl was very savvy about navigating waiting-room politics.).

Still other parents do a "dump-and-run" - visiting coffee shops, libraries, grocery stores or, literally, running paths nearby while their kids practice pliés or piano scales. It's all just another part of this wonderful job we call "being a parent."

Here at the magazine, we've been pondering the idea of creating a comprehensive guide to extracurricular-activity programs in the area for a while. With the positive feedback we get on all the other kid-oriented guides we have now (childcare, schools and summer camps), we decided there was definitely a need for a directory of art, dance, drama and music classes.

We also have collected info on sports-instruction programs, but quickly found that a directory with both arts and sports was so huge, it went beyond the limits of how much anyone could reasonably digest in one issue, so we'll run that directory in the June issue.

Columbus Parent's editorial assistant Heather Weekley spearheaded the effort to gather all this info, but she generously gave first billing on the directory credit to Michele Theodore, an Ohio State University sophomore who has been interning with us this spring. If compiling a directory like this doesn't scare both Heather and Michele off of parenthood, I don't know what will! But I really appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication to detail that they both have displayed in completing this monumental task.

As with any of the directories we compile, if you know of other programs to include, please let us know! Email the info to contact@columbusparent.com and include the words "Extracurricular Activities Guide" in the subject heading.

Now get out there and enjoy waiting for your kids, Columbus parents!