June 1, 2009
"Bad" Baseball Mom reveals how, like many of us, she struggles to encourage her son while quieting private thoughts of disappointment, despair
I'm honored to post this honest, heartfelt confession from a long-time friend and fellow sports mom. She expresses some difficult feelings that I, too, have wrestled with:
I’m happy to post as a guest blogger for my buddy Crazy, whom I’ve known for years. While she’s Crazy in Suburbia, I’m Crazy on Suburbia’s fringe, as I live on the other side of the tunnel. The foggy side.
I’m going to title this post, “Bad Mommy,” because of a pressing matter. To get to the point, I have a son in Little League. He’s in fifth grade. (Same era as Crazy’s kid.) His team is having one of those roller coaster seasons with lots of ups and downs. Maybe I should say lots of downs and some ups.
Now, I’m a good mom about Little League and competitive sports: meaning I don’t push my son hard; it’s his choice whether to play; I encourage him to have fun, relax, enjoy his team, aim for his personal best, and not worry about the scores.
"It’s only a game," I say. "Win some, lose some; this is life."
But. ... I confess to having a bit of a competitive streak. And while I truly believe all the above, especially when we’re talking about kids’ sports, I’m also vulnerable to emotional ups and downs based on my son’s team’s performance. I feel high when they win; low when they lose. I try hard to hide these feelings from my son, because I know they aren’t helpful. He feels bad enough after a bad game. He certainly doesn’t need to his mom to feel bad, too.
But last night I struggled, teetering on the edge of Bad Momdom. My son’s team got beat really badly in a dragged-out game. They gave up a healthy lead in the last two innings, completely falling apart; their third loss in a row, and this mom felt like crap all evening. It was low-grade crappy feeling, but crappy nonetheless.
I tried super hard not to let it show. I said lots of upbeat things about “bad luck” and the “damned heat.” I remarked on his good plays. Lots of versions of “tomorrow’s another day.”
Yet, inside, I still feel, well, disappointed. Bummed. I was even embarrassed when a couple of neighbors asked later how the game had gone. Try as I might, I’m sure my son picked up on this. I was a little testy all night. Bad mommy.
Do any of you know this place?
I sincerely believe that us parents, we really need to get over it, and not hinge our emotions on the sports wins and losses of our kids. All this does is pressure them to perform for us—on top of all they’re learning about their game and team play.
I know there are really Bad Moms and Dads out there who get so emotionally invested in their kids’ sports that they start fistfights at games, or worse. Spit on refs. Throw tantrums. I read these stories with horror, and pity their kids. But hey, I woke this morning feeling guilty about my own self-indulgence last night; vowing to adjust my attitude for the rest of the season. I hope I can.