Kids, Life, Parenting

Rollercoaster weekend/ parenting is hard

Yee-haw, what a weekend!! It felt like a total rollercoaster.

So, we left Saturday morning for the swim meet, as I mentioned.

First of all, those were some LONG days at the pool. We were essentially there from 9 am until almost 8 pm both days, with a couple hour break in between Prelims and Finals when we left for lunch. For swimming, you always have to factor in an extra 1-1.5 hours for warm-ups, etc. before the meet even starts…

All in all it was a good and fun weekend, but it also felt highly emotional/ draining, too.

Let’s start with the good:

  • Asher had fun! There is a lot of time for “team bonding” when you’re at the pool that many hours.
  • Our hotel was very nice. There was HOT BREAKFAST again (yay for no more “cold, bagged breakfast” like we got on vacation this summer).
  • Asher earned lifetime “best times” in 4 out of his 6 events (i.e. he swam them faster than he ever had before), and he made the “A” Final (top 8) in all of his events.
Chillin’ in the gym between events, on his little inflatable “couch” thingy. Haha.
Hotel had the NICEST, big breakfast area….and really great food! (especially for a free breakfast!)

Now the “not so good”:

  • This meet format is exhausting. I mean, those are long days. You have to swim everything TWICE (prelims/finals) each day, at basically all out race pace both times. (In theory you’d go slightly easier in prelims, but at this age that’s tough to really implement. And by “you”, I mean the kids, because I definitely didn’t swim even a tiny bit this weekend. 😁) The kids were toast by the end on Sunday night.
  • Asher was hoping to get “state cuts” in potentially 3 different events, and missed all 3 by a little bit.

(*Without getting too much into the world of swimming, a “state cut” is a time standard that qualifies you to swim that event at the State meet. Technically, they are just pretty arbitrary times/numbers that the Wisconsin Swimming admins set and move around each year for each age group. In reality, these “numbers” become the holy grail for these swim kids… everyone wants to get them. It’s a huge badge of honor, basically. I have mixed feelings on this whole thing!! Because, like I said….it’s really just an arbitrary number…..)

  • In the 100 yard freestyle Final, his best swimming buddy, who was in the lane next to him, out-touched him and beat him by a fraction of a second (and he missed the cut time). DOUBLE WHAMMY. This was Sunday night, at the end of Long Day 2.

TEARS and a minor meltdown followed, which then of course broke my little heart because who ever wants to see their kid cry or be heartbroken?? UGH. It’s so hard to even know what to say. Good job? Sorry you lost and didn’t get the time you wanted?? I love you? (Answer= c. “I love you”.🙂 )

You just hug them, of course, and try to get them to chin up. But it’s not like you can just leave and go home! He still had two more events to swim after that, and there were people everywhere, etc. so he didn’t have much privacy to be upset…. it was just stressful.

On the other hand, we’ve noticed that while Asher certainly works hard, in all honesty, there are probably some things he could be doing better. As in, things his coaches tell him that seem to go in one ear and out the other. Maybe not giving 100% in some areas in practice. Etc. But as a parent, what do you say?? You want to comfort and encourage them, but sometimes there simply ARE places where they might be cutting corners, which probably led to the results they got.

But it feels mean to say, “Well, your turns were crappy in your race because you do them crappily at practice!” Or, “Your coach told you to do XYZ, but you definitely did not do XYZ in that race….”. But sometimes that’s the honest truth! You really only get out what you put into things…. (but I guess even then, not always…). Nothing comes free or easy, especially as they get older, and that can be a hard pill to swallow.

Anyway, it’s a hard balance to know what to do and say. Parenting is hard.

He still did have a solid meet overall, and, he already has some other State qualifying times. But that’s the thing with swimming. They always want MORE….once they get one state cut, the race is on to get the next one. I get it! It’s human nature. But sometimes the whole thing ends up feeling like a rollercoaster ride.

Coming home with a bunch of medals was fun at least!

Thought of the Day:

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. 🙂

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for Ivan putting up the outdoor Christmas lights while I was gone. I actually usually do that, so it was really nice to come home and see them DONE. ✅

*Sending thoughts and prayers to those affected by the horrible incident in Waukesha, WI. That is the neighboring town to my hometown where I grew up. Can’t believe that happened- it’s SO sad and senseless. (For international readers- a vehicle plowed through a Christmas parade at full speed, killing at least 5 and critically injuring many others.)

6 thoughts on “Rollercoaster weekend/ parenting is hard”

  1. I hadn’t read the news in a few days and hadn’t heard about this tragedy. I’ve slowed down my consumption of news over the last 12 months or so – I really was starting to feel all the weight of COVID and violence and hatred cast a shadow over everyday life. I’m not trying to be ignorant about world events, but want to focus on what I can control, where I can show love and spread peace in my own reality. But this is so, so sad.

    And I feel you on the parenting. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done; it’s definitely a balancing act – showing love, while teaching lessons and helping them learn hard truths as they navigate life. I’m sure what he’ll remember most is your support – that’s the biggest lesson to learn from tough times. And having parents that how love through it all is so critical.

    And yay for Christmas lights! Putting up our mantle swag this afternoon; it’s rainy and cold and windy which definitely calls for more twinkle lights.

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  2. I read about that incident this morning… terrible.
    So I’m reading about you dedicating your entire weekend getting your kids to swim meets, and I wonder if what I would do if I were you! I don’t know if I would drive them around like that. I “put up” with my kids having matches on Saturday morning but having meets like this the entire weekend is different. I didn’t grow up in a situation where my parents would drive me or my siblings like that so I really ask myself why this is a thing in developed countries. Is it so they become professional athletes or is it for them to develop themselves?

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    1. That is an excellent question! And I was wondering if anyone would comment and say- are you insane?! hahaha. The answer is something I could probably write a whole book on, and is actually a topic that I find quite fascinating, too.

      First of all, for us, it’s definitely not so they can become professional athletes. I mean, that would be cool and all, but I’m not that delusional. Statistics don’t lie, and I think my kids would have to be at a WHOLE other level by now if they were headed down that route! (I don’t really think I would actually desire that for my kids, anyway.)

      It’s a little bit hard to explain, if it’s not something your family is “into”. It’s not just about the results of the competition. I guess it’s more about the whole experience, having the kids be interested/ passionate about something, strive to better themselves, learn dedication/ hard work, to be coachable, to learn to deal with disappointments, to learn to set goals and hold themselves accountable, to form relationships with other families/kids, etc. And in general, we have fun at their events! We chat with other families we know, the meets/games are fun to watch, we go out for lunch in between, etc….I think I’ll look back fondly on these days, and so will the boys.

      Also, this whole weekend meet is more of an exception, for his team- a majority of the swim meets are shorter, just one day or shorter session. They do have some of these longer meets available for the kids and families that “want” to participate- it’s not required though. But Asher likes the meets, and he is very into swimming and wants to do well…so we have been supporting him how we can. Now, there are limits. I mean, we know some people who were driving like 2 1/2 hours a day 3-4 x/ week for soccer practice in another city far away. That’s just crazy to me. I guess I would need to see some SERIOUS potential in my kid before I would ever do something like that!! We also know some other people who actually moved to another state just for their kid’s sport.

      But mostly we just follow the boys’ lead- like Ethan likes soccer, but he isn’t quite as serious about it maybe as Asher is about swim. So we won’t do any “extras” really for soccer, like moving to a “better club” far away like some of his friends have- he doesn’t really care, so we stay with the more low key local club which is more convenient and more affordable.

      Anyway, I know there are lot of crazy Americans though that I do think maybe live vicariously through their kids- you hear a lot about it in big cities, like Dallas and L.A. I think we are somewhere in the middle!! Probably more involved than many people would be, but way less than others too. I think it’s a bit of a cultural thing- people also end up sort of following the lead of other people they know. Or like one kid switches to the better club and improves a bunch, so then other people start to feel like well, maybe they should too….and so on. Before you know it, everyone has gone bananas!! haha! It is kind of a growing problem, I think. So thanks for that question!

      Whew that was like another blog post, in the comment section! LOL!

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  3. I can relate to the struggle in parenting on being supportive vs. honest. I think it’s a fine balance that we need to tilt to one side sometimes and the other other times. In this case, maybe being supportive and understanding at the moment of his sadness (when he probably knows already what he can do to improve) being the mom might be what he needs, and when he calms down in another day reminding him the feedback from the coach might be helpful. I know that as they get older the less they want to hear from us (I was like that) and peers and teachers have more authority, so as long as we still have their ears, we can still give honest feedback followed by a big hug. 🙂

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  4. It’s tough to find the balance between being supportive/comforting and being honest. We run into that situation with Paul’s ‘big feelings.’ I can’t coach him in the moment – he needs comfort. And then later on when everyone is more calm, we can talk about what happened and suggest how he could have handled it differently. You could employ a similar approach w/ Asher. Like days later you could talk about the tournament and ask him what he thinks would help him improve his times? Like come up with 1 or 2 things to focus on in practice? But it’s so different for each kid as some kids are so sensitive that even something like this will make them think you are disappointed in them. it’s so hard!

    But what a long weekend for you guys. It sounds so exhausting! The comment above asking if this is a thing in develop countries is interesting/thought provoking. I was a busy kid but I only did things that worked for my parents schedule which was challenging w/ 5 kids and them running a business together. But I lived in a tiny town with very few extracurriculars. So swimming wasn’t an option – nor was soccer or a whole host of other things kids have access to these days! My only sport options were basketball, volleyball, track, and softball. I didn’t like ANY of those sports! But I was very active in things like speech, drama, music, etc. But those are more HS type of events so my elementary/middle school years were pretty quiet on the event/activity front.

    I have a friend whose daughter skates. She skates something like 6 times a week, sometimes twice a day – like mornings and nights. And has extra private lessons and pilates etc etc. She’s 11 and I do wonder sometimes what the goal is – are they hoping she’ll go to the Olympics? Because that is such an intense schedule for a young child – and the parents. And it has to be incredibly expensive! But I’ve never brought it up to her because it’s not really my business what they are doing w/ their child. But when I listen to her talk about their schedule I think to myself – ‘hard pass on that!’

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    1. The people we know who have moved-TWICE- now to different states (like, cross country moves!) for their kid’s sport also have a figure skater! In their case, they honestly have always been on the track to try to make the Olympics. She is open about it! Fortunately the girl is very talented, so who knows- maybe she’ll make it! But the odds are just so, so low…not to mention you could get injured, etc. and then what? I guess someone has to do it though, or we wouldn’t have any Olympic athletes. haha!

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