21 Jun

Throughout a lifetime of Motherhood, you face a million new challenges.  When you hold that baby in your arms for the first time, you’re open to advice.  You want to do the best you can do for your child and you know you don’t have any personal experience under your belt.  However, there are times when your third son (in my case) falls off his bike, and you take and deep breath and say “I’ve got this.” You’ve done it before.  After you face a skinned knee once, you’re ready for the next 2,057 skinned knees.

Having four kids between the ages of 2 -8, I haven’t faced much in a while that has been “new” territory.  Until now.

My eight year old son has been on the baseball team for the last two years.  It’s a pretty big season.  They start practice in April, and the season doesn’t end until the last week of June.  The commitment each week falls between 3-5 nights of either practice or games.  And for games, you have to be there an hour early for warm ups.

We’ve played 17 games and are just about to head into tournaments. (Just a little cheer for my guys, they won the league championship last night – and defended the title from also having won it the year before!)

Exciting stuff!  Especially for just an eight year old boy.

Baseball season is very good for my son.  I think sports are an awesome way to teach a child or adult team work, dedication, commitment, focus, expectation, hard work, practice makes perfect, how to win, how to lose, good sportsmanship, realities that in life even when you do your best – sometimes you still lose or get thrown out, the truth that some people are just better, the grace and patience to work with people who aren’t as good as you —- I could go on.  I value sports A LOT!

However, there are my other three little kids who are missing out on all this time with their daddy and brother because they’ve been MIA for most of the last 3 months.  Josh is doing a good job of still loving on them when he sees them – but it’s still been a lot of time here without him.  Or time at the ball field having to watch, but not getting to be apart.

There is something in me that says “they’ll have their turn too.”  But the truth is, they won’t.  I mean, they’ll get to play ball.  But Josh is going to have to decide with three boys and a daughter all close enough in age to be in sports at the same time in a few years, but far enough apart in age that they’ll be on different teams WHICH KID he’s going to coach.  And the other kids will not get the experience of all the memories like Jayden is getting of being on Daddy’s team.

Our life has been on hold for the last three months.  You see, we can’t even take day trips to the zoo – or go swimming all day on practice or game days because Jayden will be too wore out.

But – I get it.  It was the same way for me growing up too.  I had all the same rules.  No swimming on game days.  No sleep overs on game days.  If you don’t come to practice, you don’t play in the game.

But – we get three months of summer and since baseball starts in the school year, we only lost June as a family.  So, I’m gearing up for July and August and then……

We found out on Wednesday night that Jayden made the All-star team.

WOW! YAY Jayden.

Mom’s secret reaction – Are you freaking kidding me?????????  Now for the month of July we have practices and tournaments EVERY WEEKEND???!!!!

We have a planned trip to go see my best friend and her family for two days and then go see the fireworks at cascade falls where my husband grew up going every year for the 4th of July.  And my mom takes the two oldest boys for a whole week to spend time with them and let them go to her Bible School program (because it’s really good!) and I wanted to get in a trip to the zoo.

Some of that stuff  simply can’t wait until August. They either go, or miss it.  I suppose the Zoo trip can.

And then I sit here – torn.

1.) I don’t know if I’m more happy for Jayden or sad for the rest of us.

2.) I don’t know if I care about All-stars or if I want him to still go to Bible School because my parents won’t be around forever.

3.) I don’t know if I feel like this is fair to my other three.  And them losing an entire summer with their dad (because yes, he’ll be coaching the all-star team as well.)

I know life isn’t fair.  But I also know that we’ll never get this time back with our kids. And we’re missing out on so many experiences with three of them, to give one of them something more.

I don’t know, friends.  It’d be a heck of a lot easier if this was our last child.  But it’s our first, of four.


I can’t fill in practical application – but I know there are some mom’s of teenagers out there whom I greatly love and respect from your own blogs – if you have some time – can you help me out?  How does this work?  What do you do as a mom? Any advice?


6 Responses to “Torn”

  1. Merrie Beth June 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    This is such a TOUGH “question”! I struggle with this when I hear of other Moms dealing with it. I know a mom with 4 boys that has this same problem (one kid lives and breathes baseball) and another family with two boys that do the same thing as you – spend every waking moment at baseball. Every time we try to go out with them, it is always based on whether or not so-and-so wins or loses the next game. So it affects friendships too!

    We have two kids and neither has significantly more of a hobby than the other. They are both involved in about the same amount of stuff (too much if you ask me-fortunately most of it is school stuff so no weekends. And practices are after school). I actually worry, in our home, more about the attention given to the child with the most behavioral or school issues. Sometimes we find ourselves bribing the one kid to do better while the other one is just flying under the radar getting no “attention” for the “good” behavior/grades. Still working through that one!

    I will talk, however, as the grown “child” of this situation. My sister was a major horseback rider when we were growing up. She started at about age 9. We are the same age. She is adopted and my Mom found out she was pregnant at the same time! I played sports but it was not anywhere near as consuming as my sister’s sport – it was during school and only two seasons. My parents supported me at the games but it didn’t require the time that a sport like baseball or horseback riding require. My sister showed horses all summer long-every weekend and was always at “the barn”. I had no interest in it so in to our teen years, I stayed home a lot while the rest of the family went to horse shows. I won’t say it scarred me for life or that I resented it. I actually was a bit rebellious and kind of liked that they all just left me alone in to my teen years. But I always had this feeling like I never measured up. My parents (my Mom maybe) would say things like “why can’t you have a hobby like your sister has? And I just felt I could never “compete” with it. It was a heck of a hobby to emulate! They spent a ton of time and a ton of money on it – bought a motor home, horse trailer, the saddles, show clothes, the horses themselves, etc. She was a national champion twice over when it was all said and done.

    She also got better grades than me. And then there was that thing where since she was adopted they would say that they actually CHOSE her (they were stuck with me? :)). Overall, I think I just felt like the less-favored child.

    And as an added bonus, the fact that I didn’t participate in the hobby left me alone a lot – and I got myself in to my share of trouble because of it-if you know what I’m sayin’.

    Should my parents have discouraged my sister by not allowing her to pursue something she was really good at? Gosh, I can’t imagine that! To this day, she STILL owns horses! She lives on a farm. She is a vet. It was and is her life.

    But truth be told, it was hard on the hobby-less one :(. And I think it was hard on our family in various ways.

    I feel a touch different about sports because I don’t think that it turns out to be many people’s “life”. Where I live, a lot of the travel teams seem to be big money grabs and time suckers. I guess it’s where you have to participate if your kid is good or you want them to see if they have what it takes to be a pro. But what are the odds of one of them going pro or even getting a scholarship?

    Once when I was feeling guilty about sports struggles, my pastor’s wife said something that stuck with me… if it’s their gift, God will find the right timing for it and he’ll make it happen – we don’t have to feel guilty that we aren’t wrecking our homes to have them in some hobby/sport 24/7. There are professional whatevers that started training when they were 17. Or 20. When they are little, we let them get a taste of this or that until they figure out what they might like or be good at. But I think if it’s not their TRUE GIFT, then we shouldn’t participate in the mayhem of the world and the money grab and time sucker that travel sports are. I know that many would disagree with me but we made the decision as a family to forgo these teams even though one of our kids is very good at one of the sports. We are fine with the recreational teams and the school sports because that is what lets us eat dinner together every night (for the most part) and go away together on the weekends or take boat rides or whatever. We also made them narrow down their gifts after a certain time – probably at about your son’s age. Many families have a one sport rule. But with 4 kids, that’s still 4 sports!!!

    I think you should do whatever you think is best for your family. You are asking some very good questions about how this impacts your family overall. Do you think your son is going to be a professional baseball player? Is this what makes him get excited? Does he “live and breath” baseball? Watch it on tv? Etc.? Is he as in to it as your husband (my son has participated in some things seemingly to “make Dad happy” – that was my son’s perception – that quitting would make Dad unhappy)? Do your other kids love to watch him play or to run around at the park and have sno cones while he plays?Hopefully, if you decide to continue, the answer is yes to many of these questions. He has 10 more years of this ahead of him while under your roof if he sticks with it. Is it a family activity or does it divide the family? I’m not a fan of divide-and-conquer things. But I have two kids close in age so it’s easier not to have to do that.

    You’re a good mom just to be concerned about this to begin with instead of assuming you have to do it all!!!

    • Kayla Gulick June 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of that. You gave me some further things to think about and talk to my husband about.

      I know that my husband’s family (to this day) call him “Dad’s favorite” because he was REALLY good at EVERY sport!!
      I don’t like that at all.

      I have some more praying to do – and praying for my husband. I really want us to end up on the same page here.
      Thanks again!

  2. Jenn June 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I completely understand your feeling of “torn.” Cam entered into full tackle football at the age of 5 and it ran from July-mid November, 3 practices a week and usually 2 games, definitely 1 game per week. This took away Wednesday night church club, some Sundays leaving church early or him/Dan not going at all, and Kate and I often left at home at least three nights a week. Then to top it off, it is so “serious” that he, being a first year, he got to play 1-2 minutes (3-4 plays per game). I prayed every game to calm my spirit, choose my words wisely and watch my expressions, because I was sooooo very against the whole situation. Then…Cam would run up to me after every game and hug me and ask if I saw what he did that was good in the game!? So to him, it was worth it. The point: Kate won’t remember. Cam enjoys it. Sports really are great learning experiences. These years are tough. Multiple kids and trying to even out their parent/child time is taxing on the mom, especially. We (I’m including you) had positive experiences with sports. Our parents were torn too. No, they may not be college or professional athletes, but the sports experience is so much more than where they end up in that sport 15 years from now. Your example to ALL of your children of being there for them and teaching them principles that matter I’m guessing will not cause them to fall away or feel left out. And if they do, keep this in mind, how you feel right now, be aware of it, and be sure not to leave them out. I don’t know the answer…but I do feel very similar. This did not keep me from signing him up this year. We are on a different team, which helps “me” at least 75%. His K/1st team coach moved up to 2nd, and I’m glad we are back cause he’s just in 1st grade. Anyway, not much advice, but I understand. If josh simply cannot coach all of them, here’s how my mom handled things: Sarah and I were far enough apart that she devoted her mom time to whomever was in high school. (Things are different these days…but still can be applied) Therefore, I tagged along in jr. High, but then when Sarah was involved in college activities, my mom said, well, now Jenn comes first if there’s a conflict. So we each had our “time” and I didn’t feel slighted knowing she was doing the best she could. 🙂 as always, prayer is the way to go.

  3. Kayla Gulick June 22, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Thanks Jenn. Having others comment to say they understand and struggle too helps SO much! Even if we don’t get it all figured out – just knowing I’m not the only mom in the corner wondering if she’s just selfish with family time or if she should be cheering every step of the way is a relief to me!

    I did have positive experiences in sports for sure!! Which I’m SO thankful for, or I feel like I wouldn’t understand this at all. And I feel totally like on our last one, it won’t be as big a deal to me. I mean, I’ll still feel like I wonder if we’re getting enough family time in and giving everyone enough attention – but a big part of the problem right now is that I single parent three kids while Josh and Jayden are off playing ball. And those emotions of feeling tired, overwhelmed, like I’m struggling with discipline, and I’m always the one to hear the whining and complaining – those feelings and circumstances bring on a lot of this torn feeling!

    Thanks again for sharing your heart! It has helped so much!!

  4. howsyourlovelife June 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    I hope I’m not too late with a reply, I read this yesterday, and waited before responding, wanting to really think about it first. We have three teens (currently 17, 15 and 14) and have rubbed up against this topic a lot over the years. It’s not up to me to tell you how to handle this, dynamics are so different from family to family, but there are some things to consider that I think are fairly universal.

    It helps to be intentional when you are signing up for activities with your kids. Decide early on how far you will go with the commitment because this can prevent allowing emotions to decide later on. When our son was younger and showed some real talent in football it was easy for my guy to get caught up in the idea of off season training or travel teams because football had been his sport as a kid. I found myself doing the same thing when a daughter showed talent in music, because that was where I had spent my growing years. But we had decided not to pursue special teams or anything beyond school/community leagues, and communicated that to our children early on, so the temptation remained at a distance. If your child is incredibly gifted, he/she will be seen by the right people at the right time.

    Be fair. If you are going to pursue one child’s dream at all cost, be prepared to do the same for the others. I have watched so many parents support a sport or activity that they enjoy and hardly turn a head to another child’s interests. One way I have seen this done well is for a large family to choose a sport that all children can play, like soccer or swim team, and spend all their family time in various levels of the same sport. As far as coaching goes, kids notice and remember. Our son was coached in football by his Dad in the early years and it was so special, but it feels like my guy is still trying to make it up to our girls.

    Sports have many valuable lessons to teach, but like so many things, can become the priority even with the best of intentions. Pray about it, talk about it, and know that you are setting a precedent for your family, and it’s a big deal.

    • Kayla Gulick June 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      No, you’re not too late! Secretly I was hoping you in particular would read this and comment! SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!

      I appreciate the insight and plan to share these comments with my husband and talk through some of this stuff.

      Particularly, the idea that they can become the priority.
      Is it the right thing to do to cancel a family trip because of practice for an 8 year old?? Part of me says NO WAY! And another part of me says…. this is his only childhood and chance for these experiences and memories, and it isn’t OK for everyone else to get to strip him of that just because they aren’t involved.

      This is tough stuff. Again, thanks for the thoughts and I’ll be praying over this and going over some of this with my husband. I like the idea of setting limits – BEFORE – emotions come into play! Good point!!

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