Parenting Athletes: How I Do It

Parenting athletes requires particular obligations-some sport specific, some general to having athletic kids living in the house.  Until they move out, we are responsible for keeping track of practices, purchasing equipment and locating lost parts of uniforms.
We calendar games, attend training clinics and volunteer to work in snack shacks or host end of the season banquets.  We learn how to run a scoreboard, rake a field and wax skis.
Parents write the checks for tuitions and races, replace cleats on what seems like a monthly basis, and stock the pantry with excessive amounts of food to feed their famished bellies.  We know the value of having duffel bags for each sport, and invest in sturdy folding chairs, seat cushions and endless tubes of SPF 45 sunscreen.
Parenting athletes means we wash mouth guards and uniforms, and know the value of Oxi Clean to make grass stains disappear.  We wait in cars and on benches for practices to end, and we trudge through heat, wind, rain, and snow to show our supportive faces.
People always ask me how I do it.  Why do I drive 125 hours each way, every weekend, to transport my children to a ski hill in the wee hours of the morning.  My answer?  I just do.  Everyone has a busy life.  Everyone has places to go, people to see, things to do, jobs to work.  And I don’t sleep much.
When your kids have a passion for something, parents make it work.  It’s what we do.  Our payment is the smile on their faces as they finish a race course, the laugh that erupts as they play with friends in the snow, and the comfort of knowing exactly where they are every weekend night-asleep early in their beds to prepare for the next morning’s 7:00 a.m. training runs.
That’s how I do it.  And the why?  The photo my daughter texted I received from my daughter last weekend at 7:15 a.m. from the top of Squaw Valley says it all.
She knows a good thing when she sees it. Me, too.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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29 thoughts on “Parenting Athletes: How I Do It

  1. –Mama,
    It’s all good.
    I miss those days VERY Much…
    Now my kids coach! Xx

    1. Thanks, Kim. I treasure every single moment…well, almost. Wading through the waist deep powder tonight to get into the house wasn’t my favorite.

  2. Awesome post. Well-said!! BUT…I’m glad I don’t have to drive as far as you do! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Michael Ann. The driving part is really no big deal for me-usually it’s so early that there’s no traffic!

  3. Ang says:

    I totally agree–when you are the parent, you make it work, you just do, and even though to others it may seem like a sacrifice, to us it isn’t, because of how much we love our kids and want to see them happy and succeed!
    Have a great weekend!
    (new follower!)
    PS Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    1. Ang, you’re so right! It makes me feel lucky to have the opportunities we do.

  4. Exactly! We parents do everything to support our kids. If my daughter wanted to climb Mt. Everest, I’d be behind her all the way. It’s all worth it, right?

    1. Pepper, I think it’s worth it…although I don’t know if I could climb Mt. Everest without a lot of convincing!

  5. Pam List says:

    True, and with the cut backs in the education system here in California I have added other random stuff to the list to add super craziness to the mix.

    You are great mom…

    Happy Weekend,

    1. Thanks, Pam. I’m a California teacher, and know firsthand about all the cutbacks! It’s frustrating for everyone. Thank you!

  6. Clairity says:

    Great post. I think it’s all good. I don’t look at the inconvenience of it. I’m just excited to chase down my kids’ passions with them and be there to cheer them on and show my support. In fact, we bring the whole brood along too.. so it’s like a family excursion that’s really fun 🙂

    1. Hi Clarity! I love the idea of bringing the whole family…most of mine don’t want to trudge through the snow, but the grands do come to the flatland activities!

  7. AdriLisa says:

    I’m happy I dropped by – great way to support our kids is to be there and listen to their dreams

    1. Hi AdriLisa,I’m glad you stopped by, too! I know that listening to our children can go a long way to happiness – ours and theirs!

  8. Wonderful post!
    Kids who grow up guided and supported by their parents ultimately turn into responsible, well-rounded adults. 🙂

    1. Czjai, I completey agree. It’s my plan for my children, for sure!

    2. Agree with Czjai! Our support is the single most important thing in the world. If it’s something that will make them feel fulfilled then I’m 100% there 🙂 Great post, Jennifer.

  9. Susan Kane says:

    Moms (and Dads, too) spend a lot of time in transit with their kids and to the different activities. My time is over. Do I miss it? yes.

    1. Susan, I know I will miss it, too! That’s what keeps me going, sometimes.

  10. zcb257 says:

    As parents, I think we each have our individual roads to follow with our kids. As Mom’s, it’s in our genes to make it happen 🙂

    Beautiful photo!

    I’m looking for your FB page to like for social sunday, but I can’t seem to find it. Please send me the link. For now I’ve followed through linky.

    1. Yes, in our genes is absolutely true. I’ll send you the link for FB-thanks for following.

  11. Hi Jennifer your words ring so true! We do it because we love them. Plus a passion for sports (or in my daughter’s case, music and drama), helps them build self esteem, make friends, learn the value of hard work and determination, and keeps them on the right track!! I enjoyed your post and the photo is magnificent.
    Lisa Weinstein

    1. Lisa, you are so right. I’ve seen kids self-esteem skyrocket by finding their passion!

  12. This was so great to read! I love reading the passion you hold to support your children’s passion. What a great mom! And the hours you spend with them in with the traveling and them knowing you are their cheering them on is absolutely priceless.

    1. Thank you. I try and keep perspective, and enjoy every moment we spend together.

  13. Being new to all of these activities, I have to say how much I admire all of the moms who drive and drive and drive. And it is what you do. And I appreciated then and even more so now, how much driving my parents did for me and all of my activities. Fab picture.

    1. Thanks, girlfriend! Parenting has given me more appreciation, too. Lucky I like to drive!

  14. […] Ski racing is not an easy sport – there’s a huge amount of equipment to keep track of, travel at hours when most people are sleeping,  dealing with weather conditions that soak you to the skin or make you feel like you’ll never be warm again, and, most difficult for me, frequent days when we’re separated as a family. […]

  15. […]     This post originally appeared here on […]

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