Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What hat do you have on today?

What hat do you have on today? I currently have my "gym owner hat" on. When Presley gets here for practice in a few hours, I'll put my "mom hat" on over the top and be both. And on Saturday, I'll put on my "gymnastics coach hat" for my parent participation class I teach each week. I've had to learn how to switch "hats" in the gym, especially with both girls on team. I love to coach all kids, but sometimes it isn't as enjoyable with my own two. Sometimes all they see is their mom telling them that what they just did, what they were so excited to show me, was wrong, when all they wanted was to show me a skill they've been working on and see me smile and say "WOW! That was awesome!"

Over the past two years I'd say I've gotten pretty good at wearing the "mom hat" whenever my kids are doing gymnastics. It started off as a very difficult task for me. It was hard to not say, "hey, point your toes, or straighten your legs when you do that", but eventually I got the hang of it. Now I do what a mom should do, I smile, clap, say wow and hug them! And that is enough.

Some moms in the gym and at competitions often forget that they don't even own a "coach hat". But I can hear them from the bleachers, "straighter legs" "pull up harder" "stick your landing." I get it, they want their child to do better and they think that by offering up their 2 cents of advice, they are helping their children. But here's what I've learned over the 20 something years of coaching, IT DOESN'T HELP. It often times makes things worse. Sometimes it makes your child lose interest in a sport they once found joy in.  It makes them feel like they aren't good enough. And in my book, that is NOT ok. If you're not understanding what I'm saying, try putting yourself in their shoes, let's say you accomplished a huge task that your boss assigned to you and you feel proud so you tell your mom or a close friend about it and instead of them saying, "good job!" they respond with, "that wasn't very good, you could've done it better by doing it this way." How would that make you feel? Would you want to share your accomplishments with them anymore? Would you still feel good about the same task that two minutes prior made you feel so proud? When your child gets a skill for the first time, it's not going to be perfect, but it is a HUGE accomplishment!

So, for all your parents who desperately want to wear that "coaches hat", please remember that your child already has a coach, or many coaches. At our gym, we have three team coaches that I completely love and trust. I know they will catch the bent legs and sloppy arms. That's their job and when my kids are around, being mom is my job.

We had our first meet last weekend and I am proud to say that I wore my "mom hat" the entire meet! It was such a joy! I yelled and cheered for both girls all day! Were they perfect? To the judges and coaches? No, they have a lot of work to do? But to me? Yes, most definitely!