Sports have been a part of my life since the day I was born.
My mother and grandmother were stellar tennis players. My grandfather was a high school football coach. And my father was an incredible baseball player, just like his father before him.
I have always been a fairly decent athlete. I swam and played tennis since the moment I could walk. I made it to Counties in breaststroke, and won the coaches award for synchronized swimming -- giggle if you will, but that sport takes coordination. I played lacrosse and field hockey in high school, and was club tennis champion at the age of fourteen. I've always been athletically decent, yes; I've never been athletically AMAZING.
But yesterday, as I caught a Binky with my left hand while holding my 16-pound baby girl in my right, it occurred to me that motherhood has made me quite the athlete these days -- both mentally and physically. And maybe, if I was this athletic in my teen years, I could have dominated those fields and courts; and maybe could have lettered in more than one sport.
Here are ten reasons I'd make varsity as a mom:
1. Quick Hands: Who knew teeny tiny humans moved at lightening speed? Those chubby little fingers and legs are quick as a whip- forcing my own to be just as fast; to avoid tears, spills, bruises, electric shock, etc.
2. Teamwork: If there was ever a time for the help of teammates, it is with the birth of a child. Husbands, wives, partners, in-laws, sisters, neighbors- it's an open tryout to be on this team. The standards are high, but if you make it, I'm willing to lean on you when my sleep-deprived self needs you. Motherhood is not a solitary sport.
3. Mom-Arms: These ole' things? They can hold a bowling-ball-of-a-kid pretty much all day long, the longevity putting my 6'4'' All-American husband's to shame; and it doesn't hurt that they don't look too shabby either. These limbs are varsity material for sure.
4. Coachability: It can be incredibly difficult to take advice; particularly when it can be so easily misinterpreted as criticism. This can be true for all facets of life, but it rings especially true when it comes to raising your child. But finding a coach I love and respect; listening to her, and practicing what makes the most sense to me, has brought me some of my greatest successes as a mother.
5. Resilience: I planned on an all-natural birth from the beginning. So when an IUGR baby forced me to induce, I didn't have much of a choice but to accept the medical intervention. It didn't go as I had planned, but not much does when it comes to parenthood. To succeed as an athlete, and certainly as a mom, you need to be able to bounce back from these minor disappointments. Quickly.
6. Positivity: As an athlete, a positive outlook is crucial. As a mother, it's non-negotiable. Every day we face new challenges; many days will include tears. Some days there will be setbacks -- cutting teeth, a bumped head, zero sleep. But every day will also be filled with immense joy -- a life enriched by the simplest baby smile or a small giggle. These tiny triumphs make it all worthwhile. And the positive outlook that reminds us they are there? That gets us through to the other side
7. Two-Handedness: I'm right handed. Lately I'm also left-handed. But, more importantly, I can do almost anything with just one hand.
8. Defense, Defense: Oh, man -- a mobile baby will keep you on your toes. And I only have one. I look at my friends with three, and that is zone defense at its finest. If that's not varsity, I don't know what is.
9. Prioritization: Miss a girls night out because your baby has a cold? Go dry during your best friend's wedding because you're mid-cycle during fertility treatments? Don't see your neighbors' toddlers for weeks because your little baby is underweight and can't be around children? Oh, well; that's how it goes. These are the sacrifices we make in the name of our kids; akin to those two-days that might keep a varsity starter from a house party or sleeping in as a teenager. In the end, the prize is worth the sacrifice.
10. Intuitiveness: I learned pretty early on that I had no clue what I was doing as a first-time-mom; I learned when to ask for advice, but I also learned when to trust my gut. And while I'm great at research and polling the experts, I'm even better at knowing in my heart what's best for my kid -- which, really, is how we win in the end.