Parenting Dreams

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All parents have dreams for their child. Mine started when I was pregnant. We didn’t find out the gender with my first baby (my son), but when I was pregnant for the second time I knew I was having a girl. Immediately the hopes and dreams of dance recitals, braiding hair, and dress up filled my head.

While I have experienced all those things by now, I’ve also been a football mom, a baseball mom, and now a gold team mom. There’s nothing more exciting, thrilling, and sometimes heartbreaking than to see you child participate in a sport or activity. With my son the up and downs have been over play time on the field and kids being assholes. With my first daughter the ups and downs have included seeing her perform solos (something I never thought she’d ever do) and several lows when she didn’t get roles that she has wanted in Nutcracker.

My youngest daughter took a while to find her “thing.” I think she naturally did dance because her older sister did. She likes dance, but when she tried gymnastics it was clear that is where he heart was. It’s been an exciting ride.

I’m proud of all of them for different reasons. Both my girls chose to step out of their comfort zones and switch studios/gyms to further their training. My son has worked really hard to be a better player and went into his freshman football season confident in his game. Unfortunately, when you have a parent of twins as a coach, and one of the twins plays the same position as your son, we learned it just doesn’t matter how well you play. Sometimes you aren’t getting that playtime and it’s not always fair.

While this made for a difficult and emotional first season, I’m proud of my son for not giving up, even when some of his teammates were complete assholes. Since my son was beating the “twin” out in practice, that boy’s friends did whatever they could to knock my son down. Definitely a tough lesson but a good life lesson. Bosses aren’t always fair. Teachers aren’t always fair, and yes, coaches aren’t always fair.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I don’t want to be the pushy sports mom. None of my kids have even been a huge standout in their activities. My older daughter is a beautiful dancer, but there are many beautiful dancers on her team. My youngest thinks gymnastics is life, but there are a lot of girls in her group that don’t have the fear that I sometimes see in my daughter.

It’s really hard to know what to do in these situations. With my son and football, it was everything I could do to reign in my anger and not want to punch some 14 year old. I made a decision to let him handle the issue on his own as much as possible but it was so freakin hard to have your child get in the car in tears that the whole team hates him. Did the whole team hate him? I’m sure not. But at the time he felt like he didn’t have any allies.

It’s hard for me to sit and watch my older daughter on stage for a solo. I spend the whole time praying. Praying she doesn’t fall; praying she lands her turns, etc. I thought it would get easier as the season went on, but it didn’t.

With my youngest, I think I need to pretend I’m not nervous for a meet. She took the year off competing after switching gyms and recently just started on a competitive team again two weeks ago.

I think I was always aware that there would be stress parenting tweens and teens. It’s a whole different world from the stress of having three kids under the age of 4. I realize it’s a bit ridiculous that I’m stressing out over my kids’ activities and it’s something I want to change. It’s hard. I’m emotional and I just want my kids to be happy. They don’t need to be the best, but they need to do their best. I’ve learned that I’m not calm when my kid isn’t being treated well by a coach or teacher, but I’ve also made a conscious effort to take a step back.

Parenting is freakin hard. My son is finally having some happiness with sports on the high school golf team. He’s a really good golfer and it’s nice to be recognized for his talent. I think his most exciting moment so far was when a junior asked him (a freshman) to help him with his golf game. My son was so excited to help someone else and that the kid even would ask him. It was that type of complement he’s been missing in his sports.

As the seasons are all winding down and before they start up again in September, I’m trying to remind myself that it’s not about me. I can’t fix it. I can’t change it. I can just encourage my ┬ákids to do their best.

So how do you deal with the parents who think their child is going to the Yankees or the Giants? Smile. I’m telling myself just to smile. Perhaps they are living vicariously through their kids success. I don’t want to be that person. I want to sit an observe (and maybe pray) that all goes well.

Lord, I wish there was a rule book for this crap.

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