I preface this conversation with a quick disclaimer that I am in no way a licensed physician, psychologist, or medical provider. But I am a sports mom who has lived through every single one of these emotions and have a story to tell that is related to them. However, if you are currently in emotional distress that is causing a life threatening situation, do NOT use this site. Call the 24-hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. Your call will be routed to the crisis center near you. If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
I’m back with my beloved Take 5 Friday Sideline Tips Series; but this time, and moving forward, it’s coming to you in blog form! I’ve decided to give my podcast a rest. The episodes are still there for your listening pleasure; but until I have a bit more time to produce them, blog posts it is!
This Friday we’re talking about the 5 emotions every sports mom experiences, and some ways to handle them. The idea for this post came from my very own experiences of being overwhelmed and underappreciated, at times; and I know I’m not the only one.
I’d love to hear how you can relate! Leave a comment below or swing by our Facebook Group: Sideline Hackers, and fill us in!
But for now, let’s jump into it:
#1 - Overwhelm
Commonly as a result of : time commitment/(lack of time) or related financial obligations
Overwhelm is one of those feelings that I'm sure if you are a human being living in this crazy busy world on in the 21st century then you understand what overwhelm means.
There’s, of course, many different ways to be overwhelmed and also to address overwhelm. Take us Sports Moms for example, we have this insatiable need to be there to support our children, to show them with an emphasis on the word “show” that we are there to support them no matter how the game goes, no matter how the practice goes, no matter how they choose to show up, we wanna be there. And sometimes that can be overwhelming in of itself, let alone preparing for those days by organizing and planning the gear, and the equipment, and the fundraising.
So like every other emotion in this blog post, it is vitally important for you to recognize that you are overwhelmed and then address it in a meaningful and strategic way, to prevent it from happening again.
How to handle it:
Talk it through! It’s usually best to find someone who can relate to what you are going through to help you talk it out. Not only can they offer up supportive ways to cope; but they can also be an inspiration in how they have been able to deal.
#2 - Frustration
Commonly as a result of: relationships with coaches, fellow team parents and/or overall experience with league
Frustration is one of those things that I have to say I have felt time and time again, over the years as a sports mom. From being frustrated that my child didn't want to participate or be a team player or even that they got the play wrong.
And just being honest, that’s how you know we are just as invested in our children's sports activities as they are; even though they are the ones playing the game.
Sometimes we do get frustrated when things don't necessarily go our way or their way. I know I've gotten frustrated when there's been bad calls, or even with my coaches if information isn't readily available when I need it in order to plan - that's a biggie for me!
But in each of those cases I realized that I had to take a step back to look at the big picture and really understand where my frustration is stemming from. Nine times out of ten it was my own emotion that I was allowing to spill over. And instead of addressing it directly I would just rant about it. And that’s where I’m using my experiences to help guide your success.
How to handle it:
Just like crying after a tough loss; I believe it’s okay to rant (for a minute). And then it becomes your responsibility to either address the issue directly, or let go of it. It may not be easy but that doesn't mean you get a pass. Resolve the issue, and move on.
#3 - Anxiety and fear
Commonly as a result of: injury, mental state of athlete, too many what if's
I have to give reference to my faith anytime I feel any parts of fear, or anxiety. And I quickly recite one of my confessions or affirmations:
Fear and worry are NOT of The Lord God and are a misuse of my intelligence and imagination.
Not to discount the true feeling, but I have found that we need to remind ourselves not to be fearful and not to be anxious, because not only is it not of the Lord but it does absolutely nothing to support you and whatever you're trying to face.
The same goes for your athlete. They will learn from you, so be mindful of how you deal with anxiety and fear, because they will be taught based off of your reactions to respond the same way that you do.
How to handle it:
In our household, we pray before every game to keep them from hurt, harm or danger because we know that they are active young boys, active in their sports, and in life and we want to keep them safe.
This also helps to keep that fear of them getting injured for us, or the unknown's of what if we don't win this game, for them at bay. Again, these are very real feelings, but they don't have a place on your sideline if you do not give them a place. It is just that simple; and while that does not sound easier said than done, it really is just as easily done as it is said.
#4 - Sadness
Commonly as a result of: a loss or season ending
Sadness is one of those tricky emotions.
We all feel sad, of course, from a lost a game, or a tough season. Your child feels sad and you want to be able to consult them but it's also a great feeling to know how to overcome because life is all about overcoming these emotions and this is one reason why I love sports.
There really is no guarantee that the team is going to win. There is no guarantee that your child would get their their PR, their personal record, (Shanel, correct me if I'm wrong!😜) And while there is no official guarantee that these things are going to happen, it is still ultra important for us to allow our athletes to go through those emotions while also showing them how to handle them.
I think it is so important for you to be that example for your athlete as as to how to respond. Here’s a pic (below) of the night that we lost our championship game. The one that would have sent us back to the National Championship to defend our 2nd place record, just two years before.
I'm getting all choked up just typing this, but it was a super emotional night. It was rainy and cold, the absolute worst conditions to play in and our team just didn't show up the way that we had been all year.
When I think back, there were a number of factors that went into it but it was very sad to lose that game, and close out our season the way we did. Since this was our 13U team, this was our final chance to make a return trip back to Nationals, so it was truly heartbreaking. You can see the emotion on my face, absolutely tragic, and of course we talked about it in the car on the way home.
Personally I don’t really believe in just being quiet on the way home. We do allow our boys to have some time after (maybe about ten minutes or so, depending on the situation) to be in their feelings, cry, and reflect; because they’ve worked so hard to get to that point; and because we understand it is genuinely a disappointment. But after that, we talk it out.
How to handle it:
And that is how we handle it. We explain that this is sports, and someone has to lose. It's OK to feel those emotions, but not to dwell on them. Use the situation as a learning lesson and work to improve it for the next opportunity. The fact is, learning how to handle those emotions is where the real value is.
#5 - Joy and Pride
Commonly as a result of: winning
This is of course everyone's favorite emotion (on any sideline)! Typically as a result of a big win, the joy and pride the team, a parent, or even a coach feels warms your heart (which is probably due to the endorphins being released!)
And honestly, it's not even just with sports. We have this inept desire to win at everything in life. And when we have the opportunity to experience this emotion and share it with our children as they participate in something they absolutely love, well that’s the reason why most of us do what we do!
There is nothing like being there to support them, and being able to see their faces when they just won the big game or they just had a great play. They’ve done their part, they’ve helped their team, it's a magical feeling, it truly is and so I wish nothing but sideline success for you, your athlete, your family and your sideline. I wish this emotion the most for all of you.
How to handle it:
As far as how to handle it… soak it all in! These are those fleeting moments that you wish would never leave; but as time deems, this too shall pass. My advice: do your best to capture the moment. You can do that by video, photo, or even journaling. Whatever you can that will allow you to recall the wonderful joy associated with the experience.
There are plenty more emotions that don't make this list; but doesn't mean that they don't see the Friday Night Lights - if you know what I mean. They include: love, excitement, compassion, understanding, empathy, embarrassment, and wonder - just to name a few.
Please keep in mind that it's perfectly natural to feel all of these emotions and not to label them beyond what they are. It's how we process and handle these that really make the difference.
I'd honestly like to do a study one day on these emotions as they relate to #Sidelinelife and how many moms feel one or the other throughout a season. I'm always interested to know how others relate to my experiences.
There are a plethora of books, blogs, non-profit organizations and many more other amazing resources available for self-help on the topic of mental health, and particularly for mothers. Yet, despite the sheer number and availability of these helpful resources, many of us moms still struggle to get the support that we truly need, and at the time that would make the biggest positive difference.
If you feel like you need support to work through some of these emotions that you’ve experienced from your time on the sideline, we would love to chat with you, uplift you, and send your sideline good JuJu! Just swing by our Facebook Group for Sports Moms + Team Moms who would be more than happy to share their experiences.
I’ve also put together a Wellness Assessment Guide to help you work through where you stand with getting the support you deserve! Just enter your name and email below to get started:
Until next time Sideline Hackers... Keep hacking those sidelines!