I make a living by fixing things. Organizing garages, freshening a room with a coat of paint, cleaning the unthinkable, decorating homes to look like the cover of Good Housekeeping. Give me a project, and I will shine.
Parenting, however, is hard for a fixer. It’s easy to fix a broken toy, or a scraped knee, or even a splinter in the foot (next time, we will just go straight to the emergency room). Heartbreaks, disappointment, feeling inadequate, these are the tough ones.
For those of you just tuning in, Chris and I have two boys. CJ (9) and Ty (8) who are a year and six days apart. It’s like having twins. Only better. They’re both smart, and athletic, and different as day & night. It is so hard to be a parent- especially during sports season.
When they’re babies and toddlers you do everything you can to keep them safe and happy. Lif is just a series of breaking up fights over toys & video games. Good times, y’all.
Then they start playing sports, and getting involved in extra curriculars, and before you know it, one is better at this or that than the other. Sure you have good years, when they are on separate teams and you are running to two separate practices, two separate games, and just trying to stay sane.
Then the stars magically align, and your little darlings are on one team, one schedule, and you actually get to cook dinner occasionally. Bliss. Until one gets more playing time, or a higher score, or more tackles. Good lord, here we are again.
If this isn’t enough, you have all the parent drama. Here are the basic types of sports parents.. and sure I’m a little bit of all of them.
- The Matron Saint of Housewifery. You know her, or maybe you are her, hell I’ve been her. The mom that brings popsicles for the whole team after practice (guilty🙋). She always has extra socks, bandaids, and bottled water.
- The dad who should’ve been the coach, or the ref, or the team owner. He knows it all and knows it loud. At practice, at games, on Facebook.
- Life story mom. Yep, here she comes. Do not make eye contact. Shit. She’s heading our way. This woman has not had an adult conversation all week, and you just got crowned as her temporary bff. She’ll give you a thirty minute (if your lucky) rundown of everything she has thought, done and ate today. Every. Single. Thing.
- Parent who is sure your child isn’t supposed to be on the team they’re on. How much does he weigh? What grade is he in? He’s awfully big for a third grader. Ya know what lady, I feed him steroids every night at bedtime. SMH
- Excuse parent. We were late because… we can’t make it when…we need to leave early….I have to work…I can’t help.. blah, blah, blah. Get with it sissy, the rest of us don’t have lives.
- PJ parent. Maybe this one isn’t such a big deal anywhere else, but the trend in our neck of the woods is ridiculous. Seriously. They sell pajamas that look like jeans, invest. And please, brush your teeth & hair.
- Mom who you’ve never seen before. I’m guilty. I don’t go to every single practice. Sometimes I have to work, or shop, or find my center at yoga. But in all seriousness, which kid does she belong to?
- Parent who’s kid didn’t get equal playing time. These are my favorite. They sit there with a stopwatch and a clip board making sure little Johnny got his fair share of clock time. Jeez. #participationtrophy
I’m sure there’s more- y’all weigh in.
Anyway.. I got off topic. Being a sports mom sucks. Hell, being a parent sucks. All you wanna do when your kid feels like he isn’t good enough is go punch someone in the face. Kids are mean, adults are mean. Life is tough.
There comes a point, before you are ready, that you have to let kids feel their pain, and process it, and learn from it. I think at 8 & 9 years old my kids are old enough to deal with bullies and unfairness and life, without (for the most part) my interference.
My youngest didn’t place at an academic team meet last night- sure I could go whine about it, but you know what? It’s his fault. He didn’t put the study time in. Did it make me hurt for him, sure. Did I tell him it was okay? Not a chance. It’s not okay, he is far too smart to not place. Kids have to learn responsibility, y’all. There is always going to be a consequence for that action.
When he was told he wouldn’t be playing at a scrimmage, we didn’t stay home, we didn’t call the coach and whine. We dressed out, and sat on the bench. Guess what? He played – not much, but he played. You are a part of a team no matter how little you play. Take the time to learn the plays, practice, work. If your coach is any kind of coach he (or she) will recognize your efforts.
I don’t believe in trophies for everyone. I don’t believe in equal playing time. I believe in giving 110% in everything you do. I believe in consequences for your actions. I believe in responsibility. I believe in accountability. I believe everyone is destined for greatness, and if they work hard, they will achieve it.