How Baseball Taught Me to Be a Better Mom

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You’re going to lose and that is how you win.

We all learn from our failures, but knowing that our kids will go through hardships, failures, heartaches, and losses is perhaps one of the hardest parts of parenthood. Baseball teaches life lessons through building friendships, teamwork and collaboration, accountability and responsibility, perseverance through adversity, preparation and discipline, focus and concentration, adaptability and flexibility, and handling success and failure.

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Life is going to beat you up, and you are going to want to give up sometimes. Baseball is the same. The key is to focus on the growth that comes from the lessons and the losses, taking what you’ve learned to live an enriched and fulfilled life. I’ve watched my children grow in these ways on the small scale of the baseball field, and it has helped show me how I can facilitate their growth both on and off the field.

Grow Where You Are Planted

It’s hard to watch our children try their hardest and constantly ride the bench. As parents, we see the magic, the potential, and the skill waiting to be tapped into. Not every coach can identify and hone those skills. Watching from the sidelines while your kid gets passed over time and time again can be hard and heartbreaking . . . but on the other side of that is the drive it creates.

A child will work harder when they want something that is not handed to them. And some kids honestly have more natural talent, so they are given more opportunities. But I’ve learned that the saying is true, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

This is something I tell my kids all the time. You may not be the fastest, but what can you do to get faster? You may not be the strongest, but what can you do to get stronger?

Perseverance and practice, along with fueling your body and working on your weaknesses, will allow you to tap into those talents hidden under the surface.

How Baseball Taught Me to Be a Better MomSo grow where you’re planted. You are going to have to start somewhere. For most of us not gifted with God-given talent, that means we are starting from square one. That is perhaps a gift unto itself. We can create skills that were not given to us. To mold ourselves into better versions and to become skillful. That is one of the most rewarding parts of the human experience. We can create something out of nothing.

It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

My oldest came home from school on the first day of middle school. It was a new school, and he didn’t really know anyone. On top of it, they had to do physical fitness tests in P.E. He wasn’t able to do a pull-up, and he got in my car that day a little bit sad and pretty disappointed in himself. He saw that a lot of the kids could run faster and do more sit-ups, push-ups, and, of course, pull-ups, and he just felt defeated.

We talked about it and I asked him when the next test was going to be. He let me know it would be at the end of the semester. I asked him what he could do every day to get 1% stronger so that, by the end of the semester, he could do a pull-up.

It’s hard for an 11-year-old to talk about the hard things sometimes. He didn’t really want to hear my advice, but I gave it. I told him to start with hanging from the bar in our home gym, then using the bands to assist him, and to do it every day until he could do an unassisted pull-up.

I talked to him about how he struggled in baseball, but every day he spent hours practicing. When no one was watching, he set up the net to pitch and the tee to hit off. He asked his dad to practice with him, and they would, for hours on end, day after day.

I asked him how he made himself marketable to the teams that turned him down at tryouts time and time again but were now calling to offer him a spot on the roster. I asked him if he would be the player he has become if he had given up after all of those “no’s”– if he hadn’t put in the really hard work of making himself a better player. We talked a lot about how proud I was of him and how much potential I saw in him.

Over the next few months, I started seeing big changes. But he did it behind the scenes. He made choices every day to grow his strength and change his diet. He cut out junk food and bread, making sure to intake adequate lean protein daily and eat more vegetables and salads. His dad started working out with him, and together they came up with a strength training program. He started getting leaner and stronger every day. He was growing and doing the hard things on his terms, and he was driven and focused on becoming 1% better every day.

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The end of the semester came. When I picked him up from school, he got in my car with a big smile on his face. I asked him about his day, and he said, “Mom, I did it.” I thought I knew what he was talking about, but I asked him. He said, “We had our physical fitness test today, and I did my pull-ups. I did it, and I shaved four minutes off of my original time on the mile and did all of the sit-ups and push-ups. too.”

Man was I a proud mom. He did that. Without baseball, he may have just been complacent with not being able to do a pull-up. But baseball showed him what he could do if he just worked harder, and he did it.



The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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