We know. It’s hard.
Watching your girl out there on the field, playing the game she loves – you in the stands.
You see every mistake, every error and you feel it, like it is your own. You see her having a bad day, and it’s painful – physically and emotionally painful FOR YOU.
You hear every coachy word spoken to her and feel automatically defensive, or pained. How dare they say that to her?
You see her take a pitch for a strike and don’t think it was a strike, and you get frustrated with the umpire.
You make excuses for her. She’s having a bad day, she isn’t feeling well, her feelings are hurt, she’s never done this before, the umpires are not being fair, the coaches are being too hard on her, her teammates aren’t backing her up, she didn’t know the play, she is not used to this or that.
No matter how hard you sit there and try to hold it in, you are worried, concerned, fretting – that your daughter is not enjoying herself, that her feelings are hurt, that she is beating herself up on the inside. Because YOU know her. YOU know how she handles stress and tension. YOU know how she feels on the inside. YOU LOVE her, and YOU just want to keep her safe and secure from anything bad that could, or might ever happen to her.
Look, we get it.
Parenting is a hard gig, having this extension of yourself that you love with all your heart walking around this world. As a parent, it is easy to take everything personal, it is easy to try and make excuses, or to try and somehow soften the blow when she misses a ball, or had a bad at bat. The last thing you want is for her to feel sad, or lose her confidence, or feel like it is her fault, or somehow have everyone around her judge her.
But here is the thing. This behavior, is not helping her.
In fact, if you were able to hear yourself and see yourself, you would realize that you are likely making things worse. Just like YOU know HER, SHE KNOWS YOU, and she KNOWS when you are not happy.
Because your girl, we have to give her credit…she can handle being coached. She can handle having a bad game, or making a mistake. She can handle coaches and teammates being hard on her. She can handle striking out and making a bad throw. She’s played this game long enough to know that these mini-failures are only temporary. And she has her teammates behind her. She can handle all of those teachable moments, those character building moments on her own….
But what she cannot handle, is knowing that you are feeling angst, or frustration, or worry. What she can’t handle is feeling like she is disappointing you. When she is looking over at the bleachers and sees your face twisted and torn with frustration, or hears you making excuses or giving the umpire a hard time, it makes her feel worse than how she already feels.
When you make excuses for her, it makes her more nervous, and it also gives her the message that you don’t believe in her. And it also sets a pretty crappy precadent that makes her think it is okay to blame others, or make excuses and to never just own up to the fact that sometimes you just have a bad day and make mistakes.
(It also makes you look and sound sort of crazy)
There comes a time in this game, and in life when you have to start letting her go. You have to start letting her do her thing, and just commit to being for her when and if she needs you. Chances are you will find that most of the time when you are the most worried about her – she actually is okay and it is not until you start fretting that she frets.
There comes a time when you have to allow coaches to coach your kid. When you have to allow her to figure this out on her own, to take the good with the bad.
There comes a time when you have to realize that HER PERFORMANCE IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF YOUR PARENTING, and that what she does, or doesn’t do out there playing HER GAME belongs to her and her alone.
Your job is to cheer her on, and cheer her up when she needs it. No less. No more. Letting her go allows her to grow not just as a player, but as a person. And it also enables you to sit back and simply enjoy watching her play.