Over the weekend I spent 5 white knuckled hours driving to Boise in foggy, icy conditions. I saw 15 people off the road just north of Brigham City, and then 3 semi accidents outside of Boise. The next day I spent 5 hours in stadium seats watching gymnasts do flips, tumbles and twirls (don’t tell them I said twirls, I used it because it kinda rhymed, gymnasts don’t twirl – just ask one).
The following day, it was back in the car for another 5 hours to get home. At least it was daylight and I had a really good podcast to listen to. Anyway, I digress – my butt hurts. Any other soccer, gymnast, football, dance or cheer leading moms know what I am talking about? I have bleacher butt compounded by car butt.
My middle daughter has been a competitive gymnast for 8 years. She is competing level 8 right now slated to go level 9 this summer (they only go to level 10). This kid goes to the gym 20 hours a week. She heads to gym right after school and gets home sometime between 8 and 9 every night. She loves it with every fiber of her being. I have never pushed her to go to gym. I have had to make her stay home when she was throwing up from the flu so she didn’t infect her whole team. Sometimes she gets frustrated when she gets home because she occasionally still has homework to do and she is tired, but this child puts forth full effort for this dream of hers.
How many of us can say that?
Not that this doesn’t require commitment and resources on the part of our family. We have to schedule a lot of our outings around her gym schedule. There are financial resources dedicated to her dream as well as a lot of time. Carpooling, chauffeuring and sitting in the stands – teeth clenched, on edge, cheering her on and hoping she doesn’t fall. One thing about this sport is a lot of energy is put into short amounts of time. One fall can be the difference between first and last place.
So many of us go all out in the pursuits of our children’s dreams, but how many of us would put that energy into something for ourselves (you didn’t see that coming, did you?). Think about it. I mean really think about it, then ask yourself the question, WHY NOT?
Several years ago, I sat myself down and gave myself a good talking to. Since that time, I have spent lots of time, energy and resources so that I can impact the lives of women and girls. I have been pursuing my dream and do a really good job of not feeling guilty about it. I have missed a few family outings, but in general my kids have been fine when I am focused on something besides them. I actually feel I am doing them a service by showing them that they can be a spouse and parent, and still have a life of their own – on their terms. This will definitely be a good lesson for my 3 daughters. My oldest who wants to become a doctor, the middle one wants to do sports medicine and my youngest a zoologist.
The greatest gift we can give to our children is becoming our best selves. Modeling self care, self compassion and self love will go a lot farther than being at every practice they have. So take some time for a little self reflection and ask yourself if these 3 selves are showing up in your life or if they are hidden away in the darkest corner of your closet. Invite them out to stay awhile. I promise you that your kids will thank you for it.