You thought this was going to be another post on how to make sure you are supporting your kids through their fencing career, right? Well, guess what. You’re important, too — and we know how dedicated parents (and spouses and other loved ones) have to be to deal with demanding sports schedules. What we really hope is that you’ll take this to heart and focus a little more on yourselves.
Self-Care for Sports Parents
Self-care is an incredibly important part of adult life; even more so if you are a parent; and even MORE so if you are a sports parent. That never-ending go-go-go feeling you get from sun-up to sun-down, with work, school, kids and family obligations, can feel tirelessly endless.
So what can you do about it? Plenty. Consider the following:
- Care a little less. Bear with us here. We’re not telling you to not care at all. We’re just telling you that you don’t need to get tied up in the tiny details. Don’t worry about whether or not your child wins or loses, makes a hit, gets hit, messes up their footwork, or whatever other scenario you can imagine. Let your child’s coach worry about that stuff. All you need to do is support your child afterwards.
- Take a break. Believe it or not, you do not need to be physically present at every single practice. Don’t feel guilty about taking a quick nap in the car or enjoying the next chapter of that book you haven’t touched in weeks. Go to the library, grab yourself a cup of coffee, or even go for a brisk walk.
- Be realistic when making sports-related purchases. There’s a difference between quality equipment you won’t need to replace every other month and straight-up luxury equipment. Learn the difference and stick to what’s needed as opposed to what your child really, really wants. Those special purchases can be saved for birthdays and holidays. Otherwise, remaining realistic will make you (and your wallet and financial stress level) much happier.
- Don’t take responsibility for your child’s mistakes. Did your kid leave an important piece of gear at home? It’s not your problem or your fault, especially if retrieving it means driving a half hour in each direction. The truth is you do not need to take the blame, and you do not need to solve every problem. Let your children work it out with their coaches.
- Work with other parents. Find a group of parents and work out car pooling days, snack arrangements, etc. By working together to get the kids where they need to be, you can help to ensure you each have the chance to take a little break throughout the week. You may just make some new friends, too.
- Have your own interests. Find something you can do at least a few times a month, child-free, that is just for you. That might be a book club, class at the local pottery studio, or even a session with a personal trainer. Whatever it is, make sure it’s for you.
Raising children to be well-rounded, respectful individuals who can contribute to society isn’t an easy undertaking. But at the end of the day, you have to make sure you are guiding them down the path of life without making yourself insane in the process. Please don’t be afraid to make yourself a priority.