I’m staring at my calendar with a major dilemma. So this is as good a place as any to begin the blog.
The biggest challenge for most sports parents has nothing to do with talent or dedication or competition. It’s time.
Squeezing it all in – and still maintaining a semblance of a normal life – can feel impossible.
Those who don’t have kids who play sports are always telling me to simply say no. But it’s really not that easy. Let’s take this big calendar decision, for example… My oldest daughter has the opportunity to play in a tournament over Labor Day weekend. It’s the one weekend that we really don’t have anything else planned – no sports, no visiting relatives, no work-related travel. I was honestly looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home for once (it’s been a bear of a summer).
Not only is this a tournament, it’s a travel tournament out of state. That means a long drive plus hotel. And with a full family travel slate already happening this fall, it’s likely that a “yes” isn’t a “yes” for the whole family.
Carving up travel for tournaments is nothing new. Multiple kids, multiple sports, multiple games mean that we necessarily spend time apart. I know that this isn’t a big deal for many families but I have always felt strongly about our family doing things together… we eat all meals together when possible and my kids often accompany us on work-related travel. Family first. In fact, I’ve specifically structured my work life to accommodate my family. That’s why these decisions are so hard. My inclination is to say that we need a free weekend to unwind and spend some time together.
But my daughter feels otherwise and I get it. Her last travel tournament was a fantastic experience. Not only did her team win gold (!) but my daughter scored and was Player of the Game for one of the early games. Combine that with the fact that she simply loves being on the ice and it’s hard to say no.
So it all comes back to time.
How do other families manage?