This spring our family has spent a lot of time on or around baseball fields all over Massachusetts. (Side note: Not all of them have bathrooms or porta-potties, FYI.) I have embraced the fact that I am now a #baseballmom, and I kinda love it.
Recently, though, I learned an unexpected lesson right on the sidelines as my kid and his team gave their best and struggled against the best team in one of the leagues he plays in. You see, this baseball life has shown me a lot about the kind of parent I am, the kind of parent I want to be, and the kind of parent I hope I don’t become.
Everyone on and off the field is trying their best. I can say that all the parents I’ve met and encountered this year — many whom I had never met before — are there because they genuinely care about their kids and want what’s best for them (or what they think is best for them, anyway). But sometimes we, the loving and imperfect parents that we are, get carried away, and in an effort to give our kids all the best opportunities available we confuse our childhood dreams with theirs. And sometimes when that happens, we lose track of what is really important, why we are at the field, and who we are there for.
There’s a reason many children’s baseball fields have signs up reminding parents to keep their cool and to remember that our kids are kids and this is a game — that there are no college recruiters in the crowd.
And this spring I got to see what happens when parents forget this and make it about themselves instead of the children. A parent of a child on one of my son’s wonderful teams had to be asked not to return to any more games due to their behavior during games (after having been warned at least twice before). This parent loves their child, and I know they did not plan to cause disturbances. But the truth is, when it came down to it, they did. And the kids noticed and suffered because of it — yep, the 8-year-old kids on this parent’s child’s team.
My husband and I took some time to discuss the situation, and that’s where the lesson really kicked in for me. We often confuse what we wish we had done or accomplished as children with what we hope for our own children now that we’re adults. And we must be mindful not to do this.
If we let our childhood dreams get in the way of our parenting our children, we will likely lose our cool when things don’t go our way. Our disappointed inner child will come out to play, and it will not be pretty.
Let’s remember to let our kids be kids. Let’s let them have their own dreams. Let’s guide them and let them make mistakes, change their minds, try again, or not. Let’s stay on the sidelines and watch proudly no matter what. It’s not our turn to be on the field; it’s theirs.