The Perfect Sports Parent Doesn’t Exist
The Perfect Sports Parent Doesn’t Exist. So, I was walking my three dogs the other morning (yes, 3 – I know, insane) when a mom I’ve known several years pulled up in her minivan. She’s been a big fan and supporter of Ilovetowatchyouplay and even mentioned once writing a piece for us. After a few minutes of chit-chatting, she apologized for never getting it done and confessed that she had been really struggling with the whole “Ilovetowatchyouplay” philosophy. She felt she was dishonest to write a piece for us when she herself wasn’t truly able to embrace what the website stands for yet. It really took me aback, and I haven’t stopped thinking about that conversation. So, I decided I needed to clear the air and set one thing straight that I thought was pretty obvious.
We didn’t create Ilovetowatchyouplay because we had it all figured out; we created it because we needed it. We all need it. The saying, I love to watch you play, is an ideal. It’s something to strive for, but it is far from easy, and most of us with children who compete have a difficult time ALWAYS feeling that way – or even half of the time.
Call me a hypocrite. Call me whatever you’d like. Still, I would assume that if you don’t struggle occasionally – or often, with being a good sports parent, you probably aren’t reading this article, you aren’t on this site or searching the internet at 11 pm for information on how to do this better because it AINT easy.
I struggle every single day to make the right choices for my three kids in all areas of their lives. And anyone who says they have it all figured out just isn’t telling the truth or is delusional. This website was created for people like me, who are competitive, enjoy sports, and love watching their kids play – but know there is a better way and want to do it better because we want our kids to be happy, healthy, and successful. But it’s not easy to do this today because those three things can often be at odds with how our youth sports culture operates. This dichotomy affects our choices, our psyches, and ultimately our kids.
Anyone who has a kid on a team with one of mine knows I can be hard on my kids. I’m not a screamer, and I don’t speak poorly about the other kids or coaches or referees, but if you happen to sit close to me, you might hear a few harsh grumblings. Sometimes I can keep it in my head, and sometimes I let it out. Sometimes, I can change my mindset and understand the damage my negativity creates (even if the kids can’t hear it), but other times, it slips out into the universe. Thankfully, I continue to get better and better and heed my own advice that seeing a frowning, mad face in the crowd is the last thing our kids need when they are struggling out there. I also don’t get upset with my kids after they play sports. I used to. I could be irritated and cranky after a bad game, and it would be hard for me not to ‘discuss’ what happened on the field court or in the pool. But that rarely happens these days. It takes a LOT of constant practice and mindfulness, and on occasion, my aversion anxiety band to snap me back to a positive state. I’m still just as competitive, but once I really grasped how unproductive, hurtful, and polarizing that behavior was for my kids, I found a way to stop. It’s been years since I’ve had a bad car ride home.
I created Ilovetowatchyouplay because parents aren’t perfect. And we are all struggling because we love our kids so much and want the absolute best for them. But sometimes, we lose sight of what that is and how to do it. And we need to know that others are struggling, too, and that there is a better way.
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