The weekend comes and goes no matter what you do.
This weekend, for the second weekend in a row, I was at my daughter’s softball tournament.
In two days I watched ten softball games. I even watched a few games between teams I did not know.
I’ve lost count of the games I’ve seen since my daughter started playing softball, I’ve eaten more sunflower seeds than I ever thought possible. I’ve watched my daughter enjoy a victory or two with her team, and I’ve watched her go through a stunning loss with them too. I’ve come to many ballparks with the “softball essentials,” and a laptop. Heck, I even worked on my thesis at several tournaments.
This weekend I saw my daughter in two different stages. One: the unhappy, hangry, hitless first baseman who just wanted a hit and call to go her way. I saw someone frustrated and annoyed, hot and tired, hungry and thirsty, and worn out. I watched my daughter play four consecutive games in one day. Two: relaxed, having fun, fielding well, hitting well, and I watched her play a ton of softball in one day.
I was tired for her.
My mom fail happens on the daily. I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be, nor will I ever be. I packed all the things for her: snacks, water, fruit, sunscreen, bug spray, change of clothes, shoes, and yet, despite all the games, heat, and little breaks, I was the one annoyed with her.
Shame on me.
After the third straight game she came out of the dugout real unhappy. She snapped at me.
Oh no she didn’t, I thought.
I also began to think of the miles there, the hours in a lawn chair, the hustle, bustle, papers to grade, housework to do, and I said fine.
I’ve been told that saying the word fine is not a good thing–as a female…oops. I was annoyed, tired, and guess what?
So was my daughter.
Day two was a different story.
I saw determination, grit, fight, a smile here and there, hits, amazing defense, and I even got hugs in between games.
My daughter’s team had a mission: win. And boy did they play hard. It was like watching a different team with totally different players.
What a difference a day makes. And also food and sleep.
I think we put too much pressure on ourselves as parents–to be the best, to “keep up with the Joneses,” buy the best, make sure our kids have the best, and it is exhausting. I already put pressure on myself, there’s no need for me to extend that to my kids and make them miserable.
Because even through the happy moments of the softball weekend, I see a lot of miserable parents and kids.
We shouldn’t force our kids into travel sports, prep them to be professionals and “coach” them as if they are professionals. News flash: they are kids. Let them be kids.
I’m not a perfect mom. I have many mom fails…and I anticipate many more.
People often ask us “why do you do that?” And “how can you do that?” It’s just one of those things we do for our kids. It’s like a little adventure. A mini road trip. Time to bond. And despite the long hours, multiple games in one day, concession stand food, flavored sunflower seeds, and gallons of water—one day, this will all end, and we will have memories of travel ball.
So for now, we’ll enjoy the chaos. Because one day it will be gone, and we will miss it.