Here’s to You, Parents of Kids Who Do All the Things :: A Tribute to Extracurriculars, and Embracing it All

I have a confession to make. I have been in denial for the last three years. I have two daughters who play softball. But I am not a “softball mom.”

Well, I wasn’t.

But I am now.

Hear me out.

My husband and I have always agreed that we wanted our girls involved in something. Whether it be band, sports, dance, gymnastics … whatever it is. They will all be involved.

Idle hands are the tools of the devil, and we both agree that helping our girls find their thing will serve them well in the future, along with teaching them valuable life lessons like team work, responsibility, commitment, and hard work.

So we have enthusiastically signed them up for whatever sparks joy for them. And consistently, two of my girls have played softball, and another is in band and dance (and she was in a play, and tumbling for a minute too).

However, when we made this agreement, we didn’t have five kids, a crazy messy house, and an overflowing schedule.

So when the time came for me to embrace being a “softball mom,” I was stretched so thin already, that I didn’t have the energy to go all in. I was running from field to field with a newborn strapped to my chest, a cranky two year old in the stroller, a nine year old begging to go hang out with her friends, all the while trying to catch one kid at bat and the other on the opposite field at pitcher.

Take it to the next level.

I would look over and see the other parents decked out in all their gear, the players siblings in the stands in matching team shirts munching on sunflower seeds.

There were high tech rocking fold out chairs, portable blue tooth speakers, stickers for yeti cups, vinyl stickers for their cars, I mean … you name it. These parents were living and breathing to support their kids.

My husband has always been all in. He’s coached and assisted for several years, gets excited and pumped up for every single game, and is unapologetically a Softball Dad. He has spent money on things that make me roll my eyes straight to the back of my head (although I have no doubt that feeling it mutual …). He’s gotten up early and stayed out late, committed to helping our girls foster a real love of the sport. And man do I love that about him.

After years of digging my heels in against the addition of yet another dollop of chaos in my schedule, I hereby announce I am diving in head first.

I am finally ready to call myself a Softball Mom.

And a Band Mom.

And a Dance Mom.

And a Whatevertheydecidetodonextweek Mom.

I’m jumping all in.

So bring on the logos, the vinyl, the ribbons. The team ball caps, the band jackets, the practicing “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat, the blaring “All I do is WIN!” while they run onto the field. Bring on the off road wagon loaded down with equipment and supplies, the sunscreen and bug spray, the ice chests and all the sunflower seeds.

I have decided to push the inconvenience aside. I vow to try harder. I will try not complain about the heat or the dirt or the bugs.

(But for heavens sake the dirt. Dirt from the ball field is of a different breed. That dang orange soot stains my tubs and clothes and children and has me on my knees scrubbing it out every. single. night.)

I’m encouraging my girls to dive head first into sports and music and art and dance.

My niece plays the clarinet and marched with her high school band in several Mardi Gras parades this year. She is my sister’s oldest child, and to say my sister was overwhelmed with pride and happiness is an understatement.

I watched my sister, tears streaming down her face, as she watched her daughter march. She was so proud of how hard her daughter worked to get to this point. Dedication, persistence, and practice practice practice. It was all paying off. I’ve never seen my sister so proud.

And I can’t lie, daydreaming about my girls decked out in purple and gold firing up the crowd while marching in The Golden Band from Tigerland, or whooping some tail playing for LSU’s softball team does make me a little giddy.

So I will sacrifice now.

I will eat dinner at 4pm or 9pm.

I will run each child to a different practice at a different time.

I will listen to Hot Crossed Buns eleventythousandtimes because practice makes perfect.

I will Pinterest every single shortcut and hack for surviving the next fifteen years three months at the ball park.

I will buy all the new cleats because these children have feet that grow like weeds.

I will get paint pens and puff paint and ribbon and make whatever stinking cute accessory Pinterest tells me to for my girls and their team mates.

I will deck myself out in whatever gear I can get my hands on.

I will not complain about the godforsaken dirt in my bathtub.

I will watch whatever dance my children are doing at the moment so many times that I will be able to do it with them.

I will cheer them on from the stands, from the audience, from the crowd. I will cheer so loud I lose my voice and I will scream like a psycho in celebration when they succeed and I will hug them and hold them when they don’t.

I will teach them to be humble when they win and gracious when they lose.

I will do whatever it takes to be the support that they need and deserve. I will be the cheerleader they need to encourage their growth, to help foster sportsmanship, dedication, and commitment. I will be there next to them, investing in their future, when they don’t even realize it.

And don’t get me wrong. I was supportive before. I went to every game and concert and performance. I cheered for my girls.

But from now on, its different.

Game on.

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