Do you have to attend every game?

It’s August and school starting mean football season at our house. Our 15 year plays football which means he dresses varsity and plays JV. Therefore, fall, school, and football has swooped in and pretty much destroyed my calendar and I assume many others.

Believe me, I enjoy football season and look forward to watching my son enjoy playing the game.  Many of us enjoy those moments when your child truly loves and enjoys the sport and they are fun to watch.  However, do you have to attend everything that your kids are in?

I have had many, many conversations over the past couple of months with moms and dads and almost all have said “YES” or “I can’t miss not getting watch them!”  I also get the, “I think you are crazy look” for even asking this silly question from a few.   However, from some, I see heavy shoulders, downward glances, and the weight of the world on their shoulders as they run in circles to every single event.

What is it that tells us in our heads and hearts, that we have to be at everything?  Is it parent guilt?  Is it social and societal pressure?  Is it out of habit?  Every family and parent is different and I will never tell anyone how to parent.  That is your business, not mine.  But why I bring this up, is that I see the quality of life for many parents and families, the level of stress, the level of running in circles, deflating the fact that you enjoy or want to see you kid do well and you want to be there to support them. 

You know what, I don’t make every game, horseback riding less, practice, etc.  The secret is out! I missed my son’s first JV game due to sickness and I did cry.  Call it parent shame or just the disappointment that I wanted to be there, to watch him play, to support him.  I had to remind myself, I can’t make every game and it’s ok. There will be dozens, upon dozens of games.  He understood and knew why.  He was good with it.

Sometimes my work, travel or another event like a wedding shower, wedding, etc. disrupt the fact that I (we) cannot be there.  But you know, your child knows you love them, that you support them and you are their biggest fan regardless of your presence.  That they can be successful, without you in the wings, that they can have a great game and talk your ear off about it when they get home.

I will call my kids before or after, get photos sent via text message and I hit up the next game, lesson, etc. the following week. 

I understand that your child might have their best game ever, or they hit that homerun or break that school record, make that first goal, etc. but I bet you money, they will do it again.

I had to remind myself not to put so much pressure on myself!  It is hard enough to be a parent and raise children today.  Don’t add to the stress and unrealistic expectations!  Find a balance, and learn to accept that you can’t do everything and that this is OK. 

Take care of yourself.  Take care of your sweet family and find time for yourself.  No more parent shaming and guess what, you don’t have to attend everything.

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