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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Girl Drama

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My older daughter is turning 12 in two weeks. For those of you that have been there you probably know the signs. Going from 0 to 10 on the freaking out scale for no reason. Stomping around her room because she has “no clothes,” and sometime I’m just waiting for her head to spin.

Honestly, I’m pretty lucky. For the most part she is an even keel kid with a good head on her shoulders. I think being a child with dyslexia has made her work hard for her grades and in turn she knows that hard work will get her where she needs to be.

She has had the same core group of friends since kindergarten or first grade. I feel blessed that they are good kids. But now it’s middle school and life is changing. I’m proud of her for standing up for her friends when people are unkind, and in general she really hasn’t had any girl drama…until now.

My daughter is a quiet kid. She is busy with ballet several hours a week and spends several hours studying to keep up with her peers due to her disability (which we never refer to as a disability in this house).

In the past few weeks there is a girl that has gotten upset if she doesn’t have enough of my daughter’s attention. For example, my daughter was talking to her friend abut something that happened on the bus and this girl cried because they were leaving her out. This girl cried when my daughter’s friend offered her some potato chips, and then decided they were no longer friends and she wasn’t going to talk to my daughter again.

My daughter came home upset but we talked about it and I tried to explain that there are girls like this at 12 and there are women like this at 40. If someone brings drama into a friendship, it’s not worth your time. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. She seemed good with that talk, until she heard from other friends that this girl was telling mutual friends my daughter was bullying her.

Now I don’t live in a glass house and my children are not perfect. Every person who knows my daughter has burst out laughing at this, because she is one of the kindest souls you could meet. My two other children struggle a bit socially and if they feel hurt, they have been known to come back with some not so nice things…we are working on that. Again, not a perfect family, but my shy middle child is not a bully.

I let it go because my daughter knows she’s not a bully. She has friends that know she’s not a bully and I believe that we need to let our kids try and solve their problems as much as possible. That was working well for me until today when I found out the mother is telling people my daughter is a bully and mean.

Now I will say things here with unnamed people that I would never say to people I know, but this mom should really spend more time paying attention to her daughter’s needs and cries for help than worrying about my daughter. When her child is texting girls at a party that she is going to kill herself because she wasn’t invited and the party host’s mom calls the mom worried…and the girl’s mom laughs it off, that’s a fucking problem.

Sometimes we need to look at our own situations before we start casting blame. I’ve done it with my own son. My son has pushed away friends because he doesn’t know how to fit in and when he feels hurt, I’ve wanted to blame the other kids, but I do know my son is very much responsible for his actions.

That’s not to say I’d ever condone a child being mean. But when this girl tells two other girls at a party that the song they are singing sucks, and my daughter tells her that is rude and that makes her cry, I’m sorry…that doesn’t make my kid mean.

And for heaven’s sake if you have a problem with my kid how do you think going to other moms to talk about her is going to help? Are you trying to enlist other children against her? Because that’s super mature.

I’m sleeping well tonight because at the end of the day, my daughter has at least three friends she knows she can trust and count on. She knows they like her for who she is and she like them just they way they are.

If I’ve done anything right through this it’s that my usually shy and sensitive child really understands this isn’t about her as much as it’s about the other girl’s insecurities. I told her she could ask the girl what it is that she did that made the girl not like her, but I doubt she’d get a straight answer. I left that up to her whether it’s worth doing.

At 44, I don’t do dramatic people who suck energy out of you if you aren’t paying enough attention to them. She might feel differently at 12. We all have to learn out own way.