Having kids in sports does not automatically turn you into a stressed out sports parent. In fact, I’ve known many parents who know how to enjoy the experience without letting it turn them into crazed moms and dads.
Families with multiple kids playing multiple sports are more prone to the stress-out sports parent syndrome. Many, however, have not stopped to diagnose the “ailment” and continue on, even while the joy of the youth sports experience is fading.
Stop, take a breath and think about this with me for a few minutes. If you are exhibiting any of these signs, it could be that you are letting the stress of a busy sports parenting life get to you.
You resort to fast food way too much.
Because you’re too tired or busy to cook. Nothing wrong with fast food every now and then, but if your family is overdoing it, then perhaps you are putting too much on your plate. (pun intended:)
In the midst of all the crazy eating you may be doing, please be sure you are taking care of yourself and taking a good women’s vitamin. I’ve been taking SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins, which come in mens, women’s, children’s, pro-biotic and pre-natal. It’s more than a multi-vitamin and it’s non-gmo. (That’s my affiliate link)
You get uber-nervous before your child’s games.
A little case of the nerves is normal, especially if you happen to be the parent of a QB like I was (I could barely eat before my son’s high school football games!) or maybe you’re nervous just because you want your child to do well. That’s normal.
But when it gets to the point that you can’t sit still and enjoy the game because you have to pace the sidelines, perhaps you’re taking it a bit too seriously. Your child just wants to have fun playing sports and with you acting all nervous on the sidelines, it will be hard for him to focus on enjoying the game.
Your child is always late to practice.
I understand that you have other things to do, other kids to pick up, but if you are constantly getting your child to practice late, then maybe it’s time to let something go. Late players hold up the team and the coach, and quite honestly, show a lack of consideration for both of them. Once in a while is forgiveable, but all the time? No.
Your expectations are too high and you are are constantly disappointed in your child.
Sometimes your stress shows itself in the way that you get easily frustrated with your child because you think she is not trying hard enough (check out this post I wrote on that exact problem), or because you are expecting way too much of an athlete who is still a kid, after all.
Kids are gonna be kids and although I’m all for encouraging high standards and setting goals to push them, I think you have to examine the why and the how of your expectations. If you are consistently feeling disappointed, it’s probably because your expectations are unreasonable, and maybe because they are YOURS, not your child’s.
You are always finding reasons to criticize other players on the team.
When parents look for others to blame, it’s because they are way to invested in their child’s performance. Throwing the coach or other players under the bus is a reflex action when you are letting the ups and downs of youth sports get to you and you are looking for answers as to why your child didn’t have a perfect game.
I’ll tell you why, because she’s a kid, and in competition, no one is perfect. NO ONE.
You get angry at the refs way too much.
I honestly think that parents who get angry at the refs are often taking out their frustrations on the official for something that really has nothing to do with them. They are aggravated because their child isn’t playing well–or at all–or because their team is losing, and ultimately it boils down to the fact that they are seeking an outlet for their pent-up frustration. And often that frustration is tied to the fact that they are tired, over-worked, and just plain stressed.
If that’s you, you might want to think about chilling out a bit. Better yet, don’t get so overly invested in youth sports.
You never have time to yourself and it makes you irritable.
If you are busy running your kids everywhere, managing a household, and working a job, you probably laugh at the idea of “having time to myself.” But for the sake of your family and the health of your marriage, taking time to be still, be alone, or do something that refreshes you or fills you up is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
It’s okay if your child isn’t constantly on a sports team. It’s okay if you ask a friend to pick your child up from a game or practice. It’s even okay if you skip your child’s game once in a while because you need some time to yourself.
You are so busy that other responsibilities get neglected.
Letting the dust gather or the laundry pile up is pretty normal for busy sports parents. That’s not what I’m talking about. The question is this: are you doing a lot of things at 75% or fewer things at 100%? Sometimes, when you have too many things on your plate, you end up giving a half-hearted effort to all of the duties. Is that really the contribution you want to make to others?
If you are stressed, you are probably doing way too much and if you are doing way too much, then it’s probable that the things that you are doing are not getting your full attention. If they are really worth doing, aren’t they worth doing well?
You are always getting upset with the coach.
Coaches really get a bad rap sometimes. Oh, I know that there are coaches who deserve it, but I also know that there are a lot of coaches who don’t deserve it, but who are still the target of much parental anger.
When nothing is going right with your child’s youth sports experience, it stresses you out and the easy scapegoat is the coach. It’s his fault because your child isn’t improving his skills fast enough. It’s her fault because your child isn’t playing enough. Stressed parents, who are also high-strung, are constantly looking for someone to blame for the stress.
You blow up way to easily at your child.
If you find that your first instinct is to yell at your child when she forgets to do her homework, clean her room or feed the dog, you might be a tad stressed.
Kids are going to do things that push our buttons simply because they are kids. They will lose their uniforms, forget their chores, leave their clothes laying around–but getting upset never resolves the problems they create.
It’s best to focus on ways to resolve the problem, instead of just yell at it. For instance, I remember that my kids were notorious for misplacing sports uniforms or shoes or even the duffle bag. One of the best ways to handle this problem is to be sure they are well-marked. I had to learn this the hard way! But once I started labeling the equipment and/or clothes, the chances of losing them diminished greatly. Check out Mabel’s Labels, they have very fun and creative ways to label your kids’ clothes and sports equipment.
One Last Thing
The honest truth about stress is that you are not the only one who feels it. When you are stressed-out, your children and spouse feel it too. Stressed-out sports parents make the season harder on everyone–kids, spouses, coaches, and other sports parents.
If you’d like to learn about some habits that will help you be less stressed, click here!
P.S. Sometimes stress just calls for Chocolate! If you’ve ever heard of Taste Trunk, you know what a great gift idea it is for coaches, friends, anyone really. They box up a bunch of great treats in gift form. For instance, check out this Valentines Special or this Man Candy Deal Box in the Sweet Tooth Collection. Use the code Chocolate to get 20% off Death by Chocolate and ManCandy to get 25% off the Man Candy Deal Box. Deals end 2/9. (these are my affiliate links)