Last week, my cousin achieved a milestone in coaching that belongs to only 3 other Connecticut high school baseball coaches: 600 career wins. Wow. 600. That’s a big number. It took years of dedication to reach this record, not only by my cousin, but by his whole family. I know. I’m the wife of a coach. The extra time spent on the field or on the ice requires a commitment from the whole family.
While I don’t coach a sports team where wins are calculated on a playing field, I feel like I’m the family coach, holding it all together one day at a time. In this game of parenting, sometimes you’re the bat, other times you’re the ball, but mostly, you’re the ball-getting the crap kicked out of you daily. It’s one of the hardest jobs that I’ve ever dedicated myself to.
Yes, it’s easy to think about all my shortcomings as a mom. They present themselves so easily for tallying. But my cousin’s 600th win got me thinking. What “wins” have I had recently? I may not have had 600 of them, but I’ve had a few.
I managed to get us both out of the house to get some exercise on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and there was no way I was going to spend it inside, but what could we do? We went for another walk in the woods for a “Mommy and Zoey best friend adventure.” Yeah, as we were leaving the house, Zoey said “I’m going for a walk with my best friend and my Mommy! That’s you!” Aww, cue the tears. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll be making that walk again anytime soon. Half-way through, we saw a snake! Somehow, I managed to carry my 45-pound child all the way back to the car as she clung to me for dear life. I definitely got my workout! (Another win? Hell yes, I’ll take it!)
I decided to leave work early on Monday and catch up on the grocery shopping I had neglected this weekend. It was so worth it. I got in and out of the store quickly and was home in time to make a really great dinner that the whole family ate. The. Whole. Family. That never happens at our house! It was such a welcome change to be home at a reasonable hour, too. I usually am rushing out of the office to sit in traffic only to get home in time to cram dinner down our throats before we rush off to bed. It makes me think that I should work something out, some kind of plan, so that I can be home at a reasonable time on a regular basis. Maybe, then I can put another check in the “win” column.
I’ve planned a really cool birthday party for Zoey. She loves art so we’re having an art party. I’ve got everything covered-the location, the cupcakes (gluten-, dairy-, and nut-free of course!), and the party favors are all accounted for. That’s a major feat for someone with my short attention span. Now, if I can just remember to bring everything with me on the day of the party! One small glitch, though. I kind of over-invited. I am always afraid that people with have other obligations, so I make sure enough people are invited in case most can’t come. Well, everyone is coming! Yikes, I’m about to be way outnumbered by 17 kids!
I survived being a Daisy leader this year! I volunteered on a whim to co-lead with a friend. As soon as I agreed, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Especially, after our first meeting, when my daughter yelled “That was boring!” all the way home. But we managed to end the year with some fun stuff. We earned some badges, sold some cookies, took a field trip and did a ton of arts and crafts. We even used some of our cookie money to fill diaper bags and donate them to moms in need. I walked away confident that I could plan and organize activities to keep six 5-year olds engaged and smiling. Again, no small feat for ADHD mom over here. Bring it on Year Two, bring it on!
My child has lived to see her 6th birthday. Wahoo. Sometimes it was touch and go, let me tell you. You make it through the twos and then you get hit with the threes? Don’t even get me started on those sassy fours. But even though I said many times “It’s a good thing that she’s cute,” I’m so happy with the polite, smart, funny girl she’s becoming. My best win so far.
The moral of this story is, not every day is going to be a win. Heck, it might not even be a tie some days. But I’ve learned that it’s really important to me to let go of the losses, learn from them if I can. It’s even more important though, to keep track of my wins. If I focus only on my losses, then I’ll be tempted to quit. And let’s face it. There’s no quitting in parenthood. (Just like there’s no crying in baseball, right?) The wins, big or small, temporary or permanent, help me to keep going. And who knows, maybe if I keep track, someday I’ll get to 600 wins too.