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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Smith

What It Takes To Stay on the Court With Your Kids

The other day my husband was watching the women's semi-final of the Australian Open (that's tennis, for those of you not tuned into the sports world--and if that's you, bear with me here).

An announcer was talking about how the mother of a woman in the semi-final wasn’t watching the match because it was way too stressful for her.

Ian asked me if Hattie was playing in the semi-finals of a major sporting event, would I watch? And without thinking about it, I said "of course!".

But it had me stop and think: what is it that would have me, or any mother, not be able to watch this amazing moment in the life of their child?

I don't know this woman so I admit I am just making stuff up here, but I imagine that what made it "too stressful" was the possibility of watching her daughter lose. It was too much for her to be with the ups and downs, not knowing if it would end in heartbreak or victory.

And I realized that, in a nutshell, is what makes parenting stressful. Period. Being attached to the result and how our kids perform.

Here's the thing about parenting. It feels SO damn personal. For me, anything my kids say or do can feel like a reflection of how I am doing as a parent or a reflection of how they are faring so far as humans. And from that place it is almost impossible to watch my kids say and do ANYTHING without being overtaken by my own feelings about it.

And yet I want to be on the court (pun intended) and not sitting on the sidelines or even refusing to watch all together.

Staying on the court, but not taking it personally. That’s the sweet spot for me. Learning to be totally ok with whoever my kids are destined to become. Finding the joy available in being with them as it all unfolds, even when it’s uncomfortable. To be with them HOWEVER they show up--winning, losing, moody, wrong, righteous, bratty, rude, loving, sensitive, etc. Because they get to be on their own path, living their own story.

And the kicker is—all of this requires ME to be totally ok with however I show up too. It requires me to allow my own process to unfold, to allow myself to be loved despite not being perfect, to allow and appreciate and love my own humanity, and to know that, win or lose, it’s all unfolding perfectly.

The more I allow this—and it isn’t always easy—the more joy available to me and my kids, even in the disappointment and heartbreak.

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