Soccer Saturday, and the challenges of being a parent…

Today is the last Saturday of the fall soccer season.

I love soccer Saturdays.

I hate soccer Saturdays.

I love being outside, watching my not-so-little girls racing the wind.  I love hearing other parents shouting encouragement to my kids.  I love it when the crowd erupts for a goal – especially if one of my girls was involved.  I love settling into the car as a family, basking in the glow of another victory…

Soccer Saturday – love seeing my girls play, even if I need to work around the house…

I hate another day spent frantically getting ready for 4 straight hours of being someplace other than home.  I hate looking at the lawn or garden and wondering when I will have time to tend to either again.  I hate knowing that I need to patch the roof and I cannot ever find the time.  I especially hate it if the girls’ teams happen to lose, meaning it was all in vain…

Let’s face it – parenting is hard.  How do you balance the activities that your kids love with the reality of keeping your life in order?  How hard should you push your kids to be successful in something they probably won’t do in their adult life?  How many activities should you let them take part in (baseball, dance, soccer, singing, piano, swim, etc.)?  How focused should a 10 and 8 year old be academically?  Should I already be worried about which doors are open to them when they graduate?  Should I just worry about them being happy?

I honestly don’t remember life being this complex when I was a kid.  Maybe my parents would disagree with me, but it seemed like they weren’t always frantically running around to take me places – at least not at this age.  Saturdays weren’t spent at a soccer field, they were spent at home, mowing the lawn.  College wasn’t a major consideration.  Happiness was assumed – I was a kid of the 80’s – how couldn’t I be happy playing with my He-Men and G.I. Joe’s and on a Pogo-ball?

Kids today have so much more pressure on them.  Pressure to succeed in sports, in music, in school.  Kids need to be pushed – they are fighting for their place with billions of others in this global economy.   Gone are the days of childhood – it’s almost like a return to 1800’s – kids are working early in life…  just to get ahead in the next phase.

Happiness should be a part of the equation, but I often wonder if I truly care enough about my daughters’ happiness.  I have always contended that I want them to have every possibility open to them, because the more doors that are open, the more likely they will choose the path that makes them the most happy.  But I also wonder if this is a disservice to them.  Maybe having all those doors open is just confusing – there’s too much to decide for someone that isn’t ready to make those decisions.  Perhaps this is what causes the paralysis I see in all too many people in their late teens and early 20’s these days.

On the other hand, I think about all the elite level athletes and professionals, and they usually had someone pushing them.  Hard.  And when they talk, these people at the top of their respective careers, they usually don’t talk about being grateful for having so many options to choose from.  They talk about how glad they are that they chose a path and saw it through…

All I know is that I don’t want my girls to end up broken.  I wish I knew what my role in that equation is.  I mean, ultimately they will make their own choices, but I have an inordinate amount of influence on what path they are on.  How do I balance my desire for them to be happy with a desire for them to be successful with my desire for them to have unlimited opportunities?

As a parent, what do I do?

For now, the answer is simple: go to soccer games all day on Saturday, and cherish the wind in my girls’ hair…


Note: Feel free to discuss in the comment section.  I am genuinely interested in the thoughts of others when it comes to child rearing in this day and age…


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3 Responses to Soccer Saturday, and the challenges of being a parent…

  1. Sandae says:

    We let Avery do one activity at a time. He is not passionate about soccer so for him it’s just for fun. I think if your girls love it and continue to play it, they will continue to get even better and other doors may open for them. I know the feeling of loving and hating those Saturdays. We actually took a break this season. You may never know as a parent if you’re making the right decision but be there for your kids-even if you do want to stay at home. It’s a few hours and soon they won’t be little anymore. I agree though- Saturdays we stayed at home and did chores and didn’t do so much running around!

  2. Kimberly says:

    Hmmmm this is very thought provoking……my kids are 7 (almost lol in two weeks), 4, and 3 weeks old so we are just about to venture into the running around stage. Tori would LOVE to take ballet or dance but I’m just unsure. I would love for her to take piano. She did tball and loved it the first year and then her second she cried EVERY game! So I am more hesitant to enroll her in anything she didn’t “pick” but who knows if she will like even her picks!? I want her to know she can do anything but that doesn’t mean all doors are open. Too me the door only opens if you choose it. Then you work at it and more doors open from there. And you can always choose another door if door #1 wasn’t what you thought. I didn’t get to do a lot of this I would have loved to do either because of money or time or church….so I want to give my kids the opportunity that I wish I had (ballet, piano, real sports, ect.). But at what point is it their decision and what point is it me living vicariously through them? Definitely gonna be thinking on this……ps I can not even think jr high let alone college which is why I didn’t voice my fears and thoughts on the educational side of this blog. That would be a whole other paragragh. 🙂

  3. gail says:

    I love the photo, I enjoy your stories.

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