I have learned a great deal through my six year journey of being a baseball/softball mom. I have enjoyed every bit of it, and I would have enjoyed it more if I had someone to guide me when I was a rookie mom. Here are the things I have learned:
- There is always a child worst off and a child better than my own. Even though I am my kids number one fan, I have to remember that there will always be someone better than them. This kept my kids and I humbled, even if they just finished playing an amazing game.
- If I can't say anything nice, I will not say it at all (to my own child, or another child). Many times I felt that when they made a mistake, I had the right to scream it out from the stands, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I found out the hard way when my daughter injured her knee (more about that in another blog). I had to learn that when my kids made a mistake, it was the coach's responsibility to address those issues, and it was not my job as a parent. My job was to support, lift up, and encourage. By the way, I also applied this to other parents, the coaching staff, and the umpires (these can all go on a separate blog as well!)
- I will not make excuses for my child. I will neither scream their errors, nor will I praise them! I have learned when my kids make errors on the field, and I say, "That's good! Missed it, but at least you kept the ball in front of you," or, "Beautiful try!" it does not help my them. When my kids hear me praise their errors, they believe mediocrity is the best they should do and there is no need to do better. When they make errors, I simply remain quiet.
- Never assume about other teams. I will not underestimate, overestimate, or assume I know what the other teams are doing, simply because I don't know. It may look like they are copying, cheating, or think that they are better than others, but the truth of the matter remains that I do not know what others think, say, do, and the reasons behind it all.
- Address the coaching staff with concerns. The coaching staff are the only ones that can help me. I learned that making comments with other parents only brings misunderstandings and much hearsay.
- The UMP is always right... well, they are supposed to be, anyways. But even when they know that they have made a horrible call, they will not change it. Many times their bad calls are game changers, but no matter how much I try to bring this to their attention, they will more likely throw me out of the ball park, rather than acknowledge their error.... trust me on this one, I know. So I learned to let it be, no matter how upsetting it is.
- Little things. Then there are the little things that I would have liked to have known, like give my child a drink with electrolytes like Gatorade or pedialyte before, during, and after the game (once the game ends, plenty of water is best). Never feed my child a heavy meal right before a game. Pack a bag with all the essentials: a blanket, sunscreen, bug spray, band aids and ointment, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, baggies (in case I need ice for an injury), and wipes. Pack a cooler (I still struggle with preparing for this one) with ice, water, and healthy snacks that will help with my children's performance like, nuts, or oranges slices.