Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Sports Taught Me About Motherhood

When I was growing up, sports were a big part of my life.  My dad was a coach, my brother played sports, and I played sports.  Year round, there was always someone coaching or playing something.  When I graduated high school, I knew I was not athletically talented enough to play sports in college, so I assumed I was leaving that part of my life behind.  Then, several years later, I became a mom.  I have now realized that there are many sports mantras and concepts that can also be applied to motherhood.


For example, “no pain, no gain” is a phrase associated with athletes suffering through workouts or strenuous training to improve their skills and physical capabilities.  How does it apply to motherhood??  Well, how about pregnancy and labor for starters? Have you ever watched your child walk into elementary school for the first time?  Have you ever dried the tears of your heartbroken tween?  Experiences like these are painful for moms, but necessary as we watch our children grow.

Years ago, Nike popularized the phrase “Just Do It!”  I used that mantra many times when faced with cleaning up diaper blowouts, vomit, or a disastrous playroom!

There is also the aspect of competitiveness.  As moms, we sometimes compete with each other - outwardly or silently - to be better, more creative, more perfect than the others.  We also compete with ourselves to do everything just right.  We are harsh with ourselves when we make mistakes.

Moms spend a lot of energy working on strategy as well.  It begins with planning a birthing strategy.  Then, we must decide on a sleep training strategy, discipline strategies, education strategies, and even scheduling strategies.  Having a good strategy is key to successful motherhood.

Sports require endurance.  So does motherhood.  From the moment you conceive, you are forever a mom - in it for the long haul.  Sometimes, you will want to give up and “throw in the towel,” but that is not an option.

Timeouts are, however, an option - occasionally.  We put our children in timeout in an effort to redirect behavior and, once in a while, we need to give ourselves a timeout, too.  

The sports I played were all team sports and there was a definite sense of camaraderie among teammates.  Mothers have that, too.  If you are lucky, you will find other moms who commiserate with each other and support one another through thick and thin.

Hopefully, teamwork is another sports concept mothers can employ.  My team includes my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and my friends.  Motherhood would be so much harder without them.


I once thought I was leaving my life of athletics behind.  I know now that those years of sports, games, and competition taught me many valuable lessons and concepts that have prepared me for the sport of motherhood.  I may not get the trophy for “Most Valuable Player,” but I hope my team is victorious in the end!  

32 comments:

  1. I was so not a sports person and was truly the girly girl. That said, you made a slew of good points here and looks like as a a mom I did become a sports person after all, too!! :)

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  2. The Dose of RealityFebruary 26, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Man, this is so true. I was a sporty girl, and everything you said here totally applies, especially that endurance part! Well done! :)-Ashley

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  3. Don't forget the penalty boxes, lol. Loved this. I coach the kids in their sports and totally try to use the time to teach the kids life lessons as well as how to play the game they're playing.

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  4. Great analogies. Although, I like sports OK, but am by no means a sports "fan" except when my Dad is around and we watch the Cowboys play. That's about it for me and sports these days, but I'm sure when my boys get a little older, it might be a different story!

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  5. I like the mantra of 'Just do it' when you have to deal with all kinds of yucky stuff!! :D

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  6. Great read. I agree, teamwork makes a difference :)

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  7. This is really clever. Love the "Just do it" reference. So many times have I had to take a deep breath and apply that mantra. And the pain one..
    I registered Scarlet for kindergarten today. Whoa.

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  8. Yes - definitely penalties! Sports are definitely an opportunity for some great life lessons.

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  9. Even though I always played sports, my girls have little interest.

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  10. Yeah - that might have been a painful one! Whoa for sure!

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  11. I've never been much of a sports person, but loved the motherhood perspective!

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  12. I never thought to draw these parallels, but they are dead on. Endurance for sure. And I haven't figured out how to increase my endurance, other than drinking too much coffee.

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  13. Unfortunately, I haven't figured that out either!

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  14. I love this post, Lisa! I can totally relate. My mom was a coach and coached our teams, too. Motherhood is very similar to athletics, particularly the no pain, no gain. I wrote a post a while back about the "dangers" of motherhood. It seems that I am hurt almost daily, whether it be an inadvertent head butt or a frisbee to the nose.

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  15. I actually wrote similar feelings for this post and hope that my girls also know how much I love them and grow up to know this and believe in it. And I feel so similar where my own parents are concerned and just can't believe how much I find myself feeling so blessed and lucky to have had them as parents in this life and also hope my kids feel similar once they are grown up for both Kevin and I, too!! so, yes can very much relate to what you wrote here tonight and thanks as always for linking up with us :)

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  16. Thanks Janine! I don't think kids can truly understand how loved and blessed they are until they are grownups. I have to remind myself of that sometimes when mine are whining/complaining - someday, they will appreciate me! :-)

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  17. To me - your whole piece was summed up in that lovely tribute to your parents.

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  18. What a cool FTSF! And I get it about not being able to explain the love. When something feels so powerful, words just don't do it. I have words and photos..and sometimes, often, it's not enough.
    I feel pretty surprised by responsibility and hard work. I think I thought it would be easier for me to just become some sort of superstar. Like the world would just know it and propel me there.
    I was clearly a dreamer.
    Times are tough, but family love is beyond my wildest dreams.

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  19. Kristi - Finding NineeFebruary 28, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    The fact is, there is no explaining the love. It takes us to places (rightfully so) that we'd never have imagined. Ever. To your daughter being closer to 21 than you are, I prefer not to do the math, as well,,um, yah and I know you'll understand.

    It's utterly amazing how these tiny people rule our worlds, in the best of ways, huh?

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  20. Thanks Kelly! My mom reads all my posts and shares some with my dad. :-)

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  21. There's nothing wrong with being a dreamer. I know I thought it would just happen - all the $$, happiness, etc. I'm still hoping/dreaming that my blog will make me rich and famous someday! :-)

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  22. It certainly is - utterly amazing! (And, I never really liked math anyway!)

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  23. Finances are the probably the worst part of being a grown-up! It's kind of disappointing how much money and time you actually need to make your childhood fantasies come true. And you described love for our children so perfectly with the food analogy! #FTSF

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  24. Such a great comparison! I think you totally deserve an MVP award! Or maybe the MVM (Most Valuable Mom)!

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  25. Ah yes! The injuries of motherhood. That is definitely part of the "game."

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  26. Great comparison! Strategy seems like it's a part of my daily life! I'm with Rabia...MVM!

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