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Jen

Soccer Girl Speaks: I Did It For Myself

Posted by Jen on September 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM in Jen
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soccer girl ready

I walked in the house the other day just in time to hear Madeleine on the phone signing herself up for soccer. This is where teaching your children decent phone manners and a good dose of independence will get you--ten weeks of outdoor soccer, complete with practice nights, weekend games and your turn on the snack list. I couldn't decide whether to be thrilled Mad was taking the initiative or devastated that I would now have to find the wherewithal to commit to the soccer schedule.

I know, I know. Mothers across America are suffering in bleachers in rain, sleet and snow all fall long. I should not complain, but I've always been leery of having my kids in sports. I'm horrible at keeping track of too many activities, and I don't want my kids to be under pressure to perform (read: screaming coaches) when nothing about their genetics says team sports are anywhere in their future. For the longest time, neither kid has shown the tiniest bit of interest, and I've been reprieved.

But no more. When your kid signs herself up for soccer, you know it's time.

For the next five days she tormented me with questions about when we'd get her shoes, when we'd get her shin guards, when we'd get the t-shirt. When we finally had everything she needed, she paced the house until practice day. I started to feel guilty for not offering her soccer sooner.

The day of her first practice she could not understand why we couldn't go to the field two hours before time, just to make sure. When I wouldn't give in, she found a ride going five minutes earlier than we could leave. I thanked my lucky stars for the reprieve and let her go.

Later (five minutes later) I was thrilled to see my sweet girl have the time of her life on the practice field, under the care and encouragement of some really nice parents/coaches who clearly did not have it in them to yell--other than to encourage the girls to really go for it and not be afraid of the ball. What was I afraid of?

At bedtime, after a shower (one point for soccer--no arguing over bathing), I brushed out her hair, droning on and on about how proud I was of her, but she stopped me mid-sentence, a sweet smile on her face.

"You don't have to be proud of me, Mom. I did it for myself."

And that's when I realized the real reprieve was Madeleine finding soccer on her own. I didn't have the willpower (or commitment) to sign her up sooner, but it worked out in the end afterall. She's taking full credit for the joy of her experience, and that's more than any mother can hope for.

How about you? How do you navigate your kids' activities--when to nudge and when to let their own interests rise to the surface? I'm finding that on this point, I've got a lot more to learn.


15 Comments

Monica writes...

I am SO in the same mama camp you are in. And I'm constantly feeling the mama guilt of not having my kids in the programs. I'm so torn, not knowing what's better ... time to hang with the family, or learning skills (you hopefully love) in an organized setting.

I hear lots of begging for dance and gymnastics in this house. We gave in this year ... We signed one daughter up for for Musical Theatre class (it's kinda got dance in it ???). Hopefully she loves it. If she does, then I'm all for it. :) I just hope no one starts begging for hockey, b/c the hockey moms and dads and coaches in these parts are scary (at least to me ...).

Jen Lee writes...

This story gives me so much hope that my children will find their way to their own interests and paths in spite of my preferences. I love the way Madeleine takes on her life with full ownership.

Jenna/The Word Cellar writes...

Being forced to become a soccer/hockey/stage mom is one of my big fears and turnoffs of becoming a parent. It's good to know that it can work out in such a nice way.

Luke writes...

a great story thank you for sharing it with us

Jane writes...

Very inspirational.Loved it!

Vince writes...

I hardly comment on blogs but I really enjoyed reading through

Acnezine writes...

I really like the story.Very touching.great!

Thyromine

Thyromine writes...

Thanks for sharing.I think we can all learn something from this

bark off reviews writes...

•Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

penis stretcher writes...

Nice story about soccer for girls

Venapro writes...

I think you deserve major kudos for supporting your daughter. I can't stand parents that force their kids to play a sport. Kids need to find what they love to do with maybe a bit of guidance from the parent.

Melissa writes...

I don't have any kids, so I can't relate or give any advice, but I find it so refreshing that your daughter was independent enough to sign herself up for soccer! Good parenting!

Rick writes...

this is a real touching post. it warms my heart... thyromine reviews

boweltrol writes...

Thats kids for you, hehe.

Venapro writes...

I ran into this post from a social bookmark. Very cute and touching store. I posted this to my facebook.

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