Being a sports mom is sort of like a badge of honor right? Your kids get into soccer or baseball or hockey or gymnastics or whatever and you jump right in along with them. All over Facebook and social media are pictures of mamas joyfully cheering from the sidelines. My girlfriend Kate recently told me she nearly lost her voice cheering at her sons game because she was so excited to be there. I love Kate for that– she is so quintessentially that sports mom who’s in for every single part of it.
But I am not.
I love my kids more than anything on this planet. But sports? Meh. Sports aren’t really my thing. And for several years I beat myself up because I dreaded having our Saturdays disrupted by a game schedule. I felt like I was a crappy mom because I should want to be out there watching my son play soccer or baseball but I really didn’t. Oh sure, on the outside I’m cheering and yelling and making the special game day snacks but on the inside — and I know I’ll get flack for this admission — I think it’s kind of boring.
My husband? He could not be more thrilled to be there. He loves sports of any kind and I suspect watching his sons play them, might be on his list of top three favorite things on this planet. But, I don’t get it. I mean, I’m happy the boys are happy. I’m thrilled that they’re involved in a team sport, learning the benefits of physical activity and gaining confidence in themselves. But beyond that? It’s just not my favorite thing. And I know there are those of you who don’t understand this perspective. For you, these kind of activities make your heart sing. For you, these kinds of moments are exactly what you imagined when you dreamed of being a mom and I think that’s so rad that you feel that way. It’s awesome that we each get to experience moments of blissed out, mama pride with our babies, but what evokes that is different for every one of us.
Years ago, I would have beat myself up because my version of mama joy didn’t look a lot like the women I saw at soccer practice. Years ago I would have chastised myself for my failure to be like the other moms. But years ago I didn’t understand that this attitude of beating myself up because I wasn’t a certain way, didn’t serve me or my children at all. If time has taught me anything, it’s that our differences are what make this life unique. None of us are exactly like the other and that is a good thing because there’s no right way to be. The room mom, and the working mother, the woman without children, the retired grandma, the mom who co-sleeps, the mama who bottle fed her baby, the strict mom, the hipster mom, the one who let’s her kid go shoeless or the one who enrolls her baby in music enrichment classes at birth — whoever, whatever you are, you’re adding spice and texture and nuance into this big beautiful soup of modern day parenting. I can look at other mamas and learn from them. I can also leave the things that don’t strike me as authentic or practical for our family. You can do the same for your own. That is the beauty of growing and learning and figuring out exactly who you are.
Want a simple craft to do with your kiddos? Try this.
Do your boys love Minecraft as much as mine do? Check this out!