We’ve all been there. Maybe your daughter absolutely adores ballet, but you grew up playing soccer and don’t know anything about tights and tutus. Or perhaps your son wants to swim when you were really hoping he’d love basketball. At some point in your parenting journey, your child is going to participate in some activity that you either don’t understand or don’t enjoy. So how can we support our kids in their endeavors?
I recently sat through a 4 hour recital. I won’t lie to you; it was awful, especially since my child didn’t appear until 2 hours and 40 minutes in and was only on stage for 3 minutes. My coping strategies included:
1. Whining to my friends.
Of course I’d never tell my child how miserable I was, but you better believe I told any of my friends who would listen. Misery loves company, right? And they know I will be there to nod in sympathy when they have their own recital or tournament horror stories to tell.
2. Finding something to compliment.
Maybe it’s as simple as her cartwheel improving, or the way he showed kindness to his teammates. Looking for ways to speak positive words to my child instead of dwelling on the fact that I’d rather be somewhere else helps improve my bad attitude.
3. Finding something to compliment about her friends.
She knows I’m watching her, but pointing out what I notice about her friends shows that I’m not spending the rest of the time on my phone playing Candy Crush. (Incidentally, does anyone play Candy Crush anymore? No? Just me? Ok, just checking.) Also, I need their friends to think I’m the coolest mom ever, so I better congratulate them on those saved goals in the soccer game or awesome dolphin kicks at the swim meet.
4. Realizing my kid is not me.
And thank the Lord for that! I can barely live with myself sometimes; do I really want a carbon copy running around? Variety is the spice of life, I’m told. And different strokes for different folks, or something like that. We need all types of people to make the world go round. Insert platitudes here; you get the drift.
5. Being grateful for the children I have who love the things I don’t.
And really, this is the most important one. I have to remind myself constantly that there’s always something for which I can be thankful. Sometimes, when I’m sitting through a third soccer game on the hottest day of the year, all I can muster up is a Thank You for the child who’s playing. For his health and his ability to run. Knowing how many moms out there would gladly trade places with me pretty much stops the pity party in its tracks.
So party on, mamas. Send those griping texts to your buddies and roll your eyes when you hear Minuet in G at the piano recital for the third time. But don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks first and give your child a grin and thumbs up before her big moment. And if you sneak some liquid patience into the venue, be sure to give me a call so I can join you in the back. We’ll cheer the loudest when she pirouettes around the stage!