4.22.2009

If I Could Just Go Back To Diapers and Spit-Up....Because Raising Big Kids Stinks

Parenting is hard, y'all.


If it could just be all about washing SpongeBob undies and making enough peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to feed China then it would be a piece of cake.

But then real stuff happens. And Kirk and I are expected to know how to handle it.

Scary, people. Not sure who gave us our parenting cards, but I'm thinking that we bit off more than we can chew.

We are going through a bit of a crisis right now. I guess I should use the word "crisis" loosely, but for us....it feels pretty crisis-y. So I'm just going to call 'em as I see 'em.

Keaton has decided that he hates baseball.

No, seriously. It's a crisis.

If you know our family personally than this is you right now:

Here's the deal.

Baseball is what we do. The boys have been playing since they were babies. Bats and balls and gloves are permanent fixtures in my house. Second Base dirt is permanently ground into my carpets from cleats and sliding pants. We spend more on baseball gear than we do on school clothes. We have a bloomin' batting cage in our backyard for gosh sakes. Kirk eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball....and so did our boys. Until.

Now this is where it gets tricky. And apparently there is some debate circling around the community about just this very issue. Because Keaton is a great pretender. But also heavy on the drama. And those two mix like me and frogs. They just don't.

Keaton has never given any indication that he disliked baseball. He has always been happy about hangin' with his dad in the backyard, and he has spent more time in the batting cage than any of the other boys. He's a good ball player, and LOVED his team last year. So when baseball sign-ups rolled around a couple of months ago, we took the boys and signed up. No complaint. No argument. Just excited conversations about wondering what team they would be on, getting cool jerseys, yada yada yada.

THEN. One day. It came out.

"I only signed up for baseball because I didn't want to hurt Daddy's feelings."

Ugh. Knife digging in my heart.

And since that fateful coming-out, our days have been full of grouchiness, whining, and tears when baseball is brought up in conversation...you can only imagine games and practices.

Now we are being accused of being too pushy of parents. Of forcing our kids to play sports that they hate. Of crushing our children's spirits.

And it hurts.

Because we would never hurt our kids. The last thing in the world that we want to happen is for our children to be unhappy or pressured...and certainly not by us!

But, we're not going to let him quit.

Because then what kind of parents would we be? What kind of lesson does that teach? That you can just walk out on your responsibilities because you changed your mind? That you can walk out on your commitments because you weren't honest or were scared from the get-go? At this point, our battle as parents has nothing to do with the baseball field. Now we are facing the lesson of follow-through and not being a quitter. Team sports are just that....TEAM sports. And if you commit to a team, then you need to keep your end of the bargain. That's just how life works.

We've assured Keaton that come the end of this season, he never has to pick up another bat and glove for the rest of his life. That we understand that all people do not have the same tastes. That we, as his parents, are supportive of all his interests and passions, and okay if he doesn't share the same ones as us. But, we just have to make it through this season. We're talking about responsibility. We're talking about good attitudes. We're talking about teamwork.

But it is hard. Because I want to say, "You got it. You're done. We don't want you to be uncomfortable."

But we can't. Because uncomfortable just comes with this fallen world.

I realize that you may not agree with our thoughts on this. You may feel like we are doing the right thing, or you may feel like we aren't. You may have just written us off as those crazy sports parents. And that's okay.

Because parenting is tough. And we're just trying to do the best we can. And instill the values we find important in our kids. And hope that one day our little boy will turn into a Godly man...one with integrity, honor, and responsibility.

This stinks, y'all.

Labor and delivery with no pain medication was a breeze compared to this.

18 comments:

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

Bless your heart.

It's hard, isn't it? But for what it's worth, I think you are doing a good thing by teaching him to keep his commitment to his team. We've been there too. It's a valuable lesson.

And I would be the LAST person to throw parenting rocks at you since I live in a glass house these days.

Mich said...

It will be alright. I didn't realize when we were talking about it the other day, how bad it had gotten. Hang in there. I think you are doing the right thing. In fact i've had to make my kids follow through on their commitments before, even when they didn't want to.

As for others telling you how to parent your child...there will ALWAYS be someone who thinks they have a better way to parent. But as far as I'm concerned there is only one parent who knows best...our Heavenly Father.

I heart you.

Mandy said...

I agree. He signed up to be a part of a team and it wouldn't be fair to them to let him quit. And he needs to learn that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to. All that can be taken too far of course, but I think you are in are within your rights as parents.

Too many parents let their kids drop out of commitments at the drop of a bat (ha ha) and the kid will suffer for that in the long run.

I know it's hard not to feel badly about it, but we've got your back!

Mary @ Simple Things said...

I hear ya loud and clear! Parenting is NOT for sissies and it was so much easier when choosing which brand of diapers to buy was the biggest decision we had to make. Mine is a brand new teenager and the drama changes with the hour.

I completely agree with having him finish the year. We did the exact same thing with baseball. He had to keep the commitment that he'd already made, but never had to play again after the season ended. And he didn't. But he learned that he couldn't walk out halfway through the season. Now we are doing music and scouts and he loves those things. It's no fun being the bad guy and making them do something they don't want to do, but he'll be better for it.

Kendra said...

I totally would have done and will do the same thing. My parents did it to me, too. Once you make a committment, you must follow through. Even if you hate it.

Because life is hard and it stinks, sometimes. We can't just change our mind and get out of something when we want.

Good for you guys for teaching him a hard but important lesson.

Amy Fulmer said...

That's a good one. Bless his compassionate little heart for not wanting to hurt his dad's. But good for you for having him stick with his commitments.

Christi said...

Been there, done that.

Yes, I think that you are doing the right thing too.

I know from experience how much it stinks to drive a crying kid to baseball practice!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I cannot say I've been there, but I have a feeling I will be soon enough! As I was reading your post I was nodding along in agreement, though - I think you are teaching a valuable lesson in not quitting when the going gets a little tough. Good for you, sister - you're a GOOD mama, and don't let anyone tell you differently!

Jim said...

Amb,
We were surprised, of course. Thought he loved it. He is a sensitive kid, it's obvious. But we think you're doing right. He'll appreciate that later on. It's a good discipline to develop.
Love you,
Dad

Terry Lewallen said...

okay, so maybe this potty training business isn't all that bad after all? thanks for letting me peek into your world for a glimpse of what lies ahead for me. i think you guys are doing a great job!

Michele said...

You are totally doing the right thing!! I've been through this lots of times and . . . we are crazy sports parents (soccer not baseball). My oldest (our only boy) is just not into sports. He is more into academics. His Dad? Sports through and through. My middle daughter is our athlete and she's a tomboy who has this really prissy mom. I tried for a long time to turn her into a priss pot, but then I realized I had to accept her and embrace who SHE is!!!! So, I let her grow her earring holes up, wear dress-down clothes, not wear a bow in her hair . . . you get the picture.

We have to accept our kids for who they are (as far as their interests) and not who we want them to be (again, talking about interests, not character development). But, we also have to train them up in the Lord, and that is tough. You are wholeheartedly doing the right thing by making him continue the season. You hit the nail on the head when you were talking about life is just not about quitting something when you no longer want to do it.

I'm very proud of you for making this decision. Don't worry, you're doing a GREAT job!

Lori Motl said...

Girl, it IS hard isn't it? I tell you they laid that first baby in my arms and I thought. I was made for this! I'm not scared. Not really nervous. Babyhood was a piece of cake. Then came tantrums and lying and bullies and all those other things they don't talk about it "what to expect"...Where's my copy of "What to expect when things to work the way you thought they would and you don't have a clue what to do!"

I think you are doing the right thing too. And anyone that says different needs to mind their own business! You know your boys better than anyone and no one should be judging.

I get the baseball thing. While we don't have a batting cage in our backyard (hey can we come play sometime?!) Ryan's nursery was baseball. Casey's cousin pitches for the Rays. We LOVE baseball and would be really sad if Ryan decided he hated it.

Hang in there. This is just practice for the even harder stuff later!

buscher3 said...

Wow...wish I had some words of wisdom, but I'm still in the world of changing dirty diapers and decoding a string of words...and about to reenter the world of spitup and no sleep.

I totally agree with you for making him keep his commitment. Chances are he'll learn to love it again and not be able to give it up next year, or that he'll not play and go to a couple of games a week watching his brothers play and wish he could play again. Or maybe not...but regardless, he'll have learned a lesson in commitment. Good job!!

Tiffani said...

My sweet friend..I can just feel your heart in this post!!

IT IS HARD STUFF! No matter WHAT the topic...

Follow-through is so important and I am learning that everyday w/ our kids...you are teaching him a valuable lesson but also teaching yourself in further dependence on Jesus to get you through this hard season..

If all else fails, take up drinking. :) HAHAHAHA!

Becky said...

This post has made me cherish my time with E even more b/c it is only going to get harder as he gets older.

I agree with your decision 100%! Responsibility and commitment are two of the hardest lessons to learn in life. One day he will thank you!

Gretchen said...

Amber, I have no words of wisdom for you, for clearly, you are on the right path for you and your family. He's a lucky, blessed boy to be in your family.

I know...parenting is for the birds sometimes.

I actually had an instance where despite all our good intentions, we actually DID take our son out of an activity. It wasn't a team, per se, but we did want to see him follow through. Unfortunately and fortunately, I suppose, a third party really walked us through the fact that his staying in this activity was not good for him. Hard, because we are big "follow thru-ers" in our home.

Hang in there. You're doing great.

Carpoolqueen said...

Once again, I heart your dad.

And ours moaned and complained, and we made them finish. We will enlist them once in something new, and even if they hate it once they start, they're required to finish it.

Character training.

For both of you.

Hang in there.

Ginger@From The Cocoon said...

I think you've handled it quite well. we have the same philosophy at our house...when you sign up for a commitment..you follow it through to the end.

We're very baseball minded in this house...both kids have played since they were four...except Mal did not sign up when she went to high school (*gasp) and now Blake, who will be 14 this summer, is not playig this season. It's weird. But you're right...everyone has different interests and it's not really about that...