I’m here to offer what may be an unpopular option. Nevertheless:
It’s May. May is the spring equivalent to busy December, with all of its end-of-school activities, communions, graduations, confirmations, and sporting events, which is why they put Mother’s Day right in there, too, I’m sure: there weren’t enough have-tos already on our calendars.
I’m here to nicely suggest: You needn't go to every one of your child’s games, events, meets, competitions, or whatever other activity they may partake in that allows for parent attendance.
If you have children, and you want to, you may, at this very moment, be filling up your whole life doing their activities: driving to practices, watching 3-hour baseball games, volunteering at their schools, taking them to friends’ homes to hang out — all noble, and sometimes fun, ways to spend a night or an afternoon. We delivered them and we should be there for them, right?
We should have something for ourselves. We can’t have anything for ourselves if we cannot find a moment for ourselves. Also, the moment for ourselves must come after 6:30am and before 8pm once in a while.
You don’t need permission from me, but maybe you need to hear it from another mother who loves her kids so much that she, too, would do, and does, the most she can for them at so many points: I nursed each kid forever and I skip their baseball games without even a reason. I love that they love to play, but their loving to play shouldn’t have to mean that I have to love to watch every single game.
There’s much discussion about children’s sports in this era: Is it all too much too soon? Are coaches putting too much pressure? Are parents? As with most issues, I believe there are a combination of factors that can make it too intense for some.
Remember 1987? I do. If my mom was at my game (and there were plenty of times she wasn’t), she was at the park with my little sister while my little sister played there and I played on the field or court. She kind of watched, mostly talked to other people, and always came a little late. Not because she wasn’t a good mother, but because she didn’t really care about every single sport I enjoyed. And that was totally fine.
I want my kids to have activities they love to do and part of that means they need to figure out what they love to do by doing it even if I’m not watching. Remember: The goal for all of our children is as much independence as they need with a hearty side of “Don’t forget how much I did for you and come back to visit me often enough.” Oh, and who decides if it’s often enough? I do, of course.
It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend here. It’s gorgeous out right now. I know because I’m sitting in my car at a baseball field, not because any one of my kids has a game, but because their friends did and they wanted to watch, practice, and play at the park. I’m alone in my car with the windows down and we are all winning right now.
Tomorrow is soccer Saturday. I can’t wait to go to watch that one tomorrow because it’s a first this season for our youngest; I’ll hit a baseball game, too, so long as it stays beautiful. And then that’ll do for a while. And they'll be ok. This won’t be the thing that makes them turn to drugs in high school, I don’t think. Also, those same people who raised us and didn’t really care what we were doing all of the time are now grandparents, and - craziest thing - now that they’re regularly sleeping through the night, they like to go to so many of these events for their grandkids. And they can cheer while we’re not there. Also, other parents who send pictures of whatever your kid did well while you’re MIA? That’s real teamwork. We all know it takes a village. Let’s set them up well in one and remember that we will never make it as the whole village for them, as much as we may wish for it to be so.
Want to join me? Take a break. Find a few minutes to have a little life other than their activities. Have them tell you all about how they played when they get home. They might exaggerate a little about how they did, but don’t we all deserve the chance to pretend we were better than we actually were? I think so.