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5 Lessons Learned From Varsity Sports

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I’ve managed to get 7 or 8 really nasty comments lately on some of my older posts talking about Tyler’s football season. All from the same person who called me a horrible mother, a joke of a mom, a clueless idiot, and some other unrepeatable things. She just could not believe that I would allow my child to play such a “barbaric, dangerous, and stupid sport” and flat out told me I should never have been allowed to adopt a child. She’s a lovely person, obviously. The comments didn’t bother me but they did make me think. We encourage our kids to play sports. We make the sacrifices necessary for them to play sports. I fully believe that there are lessons to be learned from playing sports, lessons that you don’t always learn from other things in the same way you learn them from sports. And those lessons are valuable and necessary. And the lessons learned from playing a varsity sport are immense. 

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1. Perseverance. There is no quit in varsity sports. There is no quit. Tyler never missed a practice with the exception of the ones he had to miss because of the concussion. And the coaches practically had to lock him in the classroom to keep him off the field. He practiced through 2 stomach viruses that had him puking off the side of the field. He practiced hurt, he practiced tired. There is no quit. And there’s no slacking off. If he slacked off there were 8 guys waiting in the wings to take his starting spot. Period. They were working as hard to take his spot as he was to keep it. 

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2. Toughness. There’s nothing like varsity sports to teach you the difference between pain and injury. Pain is something you deal with. You sack up, gut it out, and keep going. That’s varsity sports. Injury is something totally different. Tyler shed blood this season, he played hurt and in pain, he took a lot of Advil. It toughened him up. 

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3. Teamwork. The bonds formed on the football team this year were amazing. These guys fought through a tough schedule, lots of injuries, and some terribly difficult practices together. Bonds are made over blood shed on the field. It’s been great watching them become great friends off the field now that the season is over. 

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4. Sacrifice. Varsity football is an all consuming thing. It is a year round sacrifice. Tyler had zero free time during the season, he barely saw some his friends from outside school, he hardly played the xbox, and any free time he did carve out he spent sleeping. He practiced in 100 degree heat in the middle of the summer in full pads for days on end. He knows what it means to sacrifice to be the best. And it didn’t end when the season ended. He’s in the middle of off-season football workouts right now on top of playing basketball. 3 days a week he does weight lifting with the football guys in the afternoon, then they do some wrestling or some field work, and then he goes to basketball practice. On Saturdays he does football field practice in the morning and goes straight to basketball practice afterwards. It’s year round. 

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5. Commitment. Varsity football demands commitment. There are no days off. At his school playing varsity football means you are expected to uphold the standards and image of the team and the school. There are no exceptions. It’s not just a commitment to play football. It’s a commitment to be a good role model in the school. 

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I’ve seen the changes in Tyler from the end of his freshman year to right now after just one season playing varsity football for his new school. He’s a different person. He’s more confident, he’s more self-assured, he’s more personable, and he’s more mature. And those lessons have been continued through basketball season. I’m pleased with the lessons he’s learning from varsity sports. He’s learning lessons that he’ll use throughout his lifetime. And that’s priceless.

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7 Realities Of Parenting Older Kids

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I thought once I was out of the baby and toddler phase I was home free. Then I had three year olds. And realized they were worse. I thought once they went to school it would be easier. But then came sports. So I thought when they reached tween/teen years it would be great. And it is. But man, they are all consuming human beings. Every minute of my day is spent dealing with scheduling, sports, homework…and that doesn’t include all the junk I have to do at home. I’m way busier now than I ever was when they were little. 

1. You become the mom taxi. I spend at least 75% of my life in my car. I’m either dropping a kid off, picking a kid up, or sitting there waiting for a kid. 

2. There is no food left in the house approximately 48 hours after a large grocery trip. I promise I don’t starve these kids. I can make a trip to Sams Club, spend $300, and 2 days later the pantry, second pantry, fridge, freezer, and both fridge/freezers in the garage are all empty. I do not understand this. 

3. Someone is always mad. It’s the hormones. 

4. There is a mountain of laundry at all times. I’ve named mine. Mount TooMuchCrap. I’m scaling that mountain every single day, people. I thought babies produced a lot of laundry. They have nothing on older kids. There’s school uniforms, after school clothes, practice clothes, game uniforms…it never ends. 

5. We are always out of toilet paper. I’m tempted to check the attic for mice. Maybe there is a large family of mice living in a toilet paper TeePee up there in the attic. Because there is no rational explanation as to where all this toilet paper is going. 

6. Your car will smell like a locker room. And there is not a Febreeze made that can combat that smell. If it’s not football pads, it’s basketball sneakers or soccer shin guards or volleyball pads. It’s all gross and stinky. 

7. There is never enough hot water. Matt has seriously looked in to how much it would cost to have a second water heater installed. Or maybe a tankless one. Something. Anything. It’s always a fight to see who gets to take the first 3 showers at night because anyone after that is going to freeze. 

Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about having older kids. They’re more self-sufficient, unless we’re talking about doing laundry, picking up their crap, making their own food….where was I going with this? Ah yes, older kids are easier. They really are…most of the time. 

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Passive Aggressive Parenting Techniques

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Recently the laziness in my household has reached epic levels. That has led to a lot of yelling and drama. I’m not a person who can live in such harsh conditions. This has led me to develop some passive aggressive parenting techniques to get my point across to these children. They look so confused. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me smile. I know, bad mom. I’m okay with that. 

1. The empty milk jug. Why? Is it really so hard to walk outside and get another jug of milk from the fridge in the garage? Apparently it is. So now I leave the empty milk jug in the fridge, I walk out to the garage fridge, I pour the milk I need, and I walk away. No more replacing the milk jug for me.

2. The laundry hamper. Clearly opening the hamper to actually insert the dirty laundry is a hard task. But I’m not a maid. So now if they leave dirty laundry on top of the not full laundry hamper, it doesn’t get washed. It gets dumped on the floor. And if that pile happens to include a certain child’s PE uniform? Oh well.

3. The empty boxes. These kids leave empty boxes in the pantry. They take the last granola bar and leave the box. It happens with almost every snack. So now I just don’t buy another box. How do I know we’re out of something when there’s still a box in the pantry?

4. The phone charger. If one of these kids unplugs my phone or iPad in order to plug in their own device because they are too lazy to walk to their own rooms to get their own charger? I replace the charger with the broken one and watch the panic on their little faces when they realize their device is not charged.

5. The shoes. It must be impossibly hard to actually open the closet and put shoes into it because not one of my children can do it. Now when I see a pair of shoes left in the middle of my floor, I hide one shoe. There’s nothing more fun than watching a panicked kid run around wearing only one shoe trying to figure out where the other one went.

6. The book bags. The rule in my house is that the kids are responsible for unpacking their book bags, placing their agendas on the counter to be signed, and any papers that need my attention go on top of my planner. If they do not do this, I do not go searching for their stuff. The agendas do not get signed, the kids do not get a sticker the next day, and they get angry. They’ll learn.

7. The athletic gear. Tyler has learned the hard way that if he doesn’t put his athletic gear in the laundry room it does not get washed. I’m not walking around searching for it. And if that means he has to wear a stinky gross jersey to practice, then so be it. He’ll learn.

We’ll see if implementing these techniques will whip these lazy ingrates into shape. I’m not putting any money on it but it’ll be fun for me at least. 

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10 Prehistoric Truths From My Childhood

My kids do not understand how good they have it in life. Honestly. Three of them spent an hour fighting over one iPad today. So they could play Angry Birds. And then they got mad because they can’t each have an iPad of their own. Seriously. So I had to impart some truths upon these poor, neglected children. Truths about the olden days, the days when I was a kid, the dark ages. 

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1. There was no internet. None.

2. We had 3 channels on our TV. Plus a 4th channel if you wanted to stand with your hand on the antenna.

3. We had cassette tapes. No iPods. The highlight of your week was when your favorite song came on the top 40 countdown and you actually pressed record at the right second and the announcer didn’t talk through the ending.

4. If we wanted to talk on the phone we had to dial a number on a rotary phone and then stand in the kitchen because the phone was attached to the wall with a cord. Then we had to whisper because mom was standing right there. 

5. There were no good video games. We had the first edition Nintendo and then Atari but it was nothing like what the kids have now. 

6. We used typewriters and actually had a typing class at school.

7. There was no caller ID or call waiting. You had to take your chances when you answered the phone and a busy signal could ruin your whole day.

8. If you wanted to communicate with someone from out of town, you had to write a letter. There was no email and long distance calls cost money.

9. School papers meant going to the library for research. We knew what the Dewey decimal system was and how to use it.

10. The best store at the local mall was Sears. No Old Navy, no Target, no Justice. Just Sears. And Woolworth. 

My kids are horrified. As they should be. We had it bad, y’all. We were ripped off. I want to be a kid nowadays. Their lives rock.

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5 Signs You’re Parenting A Teen Boy

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Parenting a teen boy is an experience. A very smelly, expensive experience with some distinct characteristics. 

1. They eat their weight in food daily. Seriously. For lunch today Tyler ate 2 mini pizzas, a hot pocket, a pan of popcorn shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and 2 sandwiches. For lunch! You know what I had for lunch? An M&M that I found on the counter and the rest of a poptart Mason left at breakfast. 

2. They spend a fortune to look like a slob. $98 on jeans that look like someone took a hacksaw to them. And now I sound like my grandmother. 

3. You buy Axe spray in bulk. Sams Club. $15 for 7 bottles. Boom. Bonus- they double as air fresheners in a pinch.

4. They speak entirely in text slang. I’m not totally up on my teen speak. I use urban dictionary a lot. Believe me, looking it up online is much preferable to having your teen boy explain what some of these things mean. That’s a conversation that will not end well. 

5. Based on the smell coming from their room, something may have died underneath their bed. In our house it’s football gear and cleats right now that make the whole downstairs floor smell like death. There is no Febreeze strong enough to tackle that smell, y’all. 

Teen boys are interesting creatures indeed. But at least the drama level is relatively low. 

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