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Connecting With The Unexpected

Connecting to others is really important to me. It’s why I have a degree in Communications and a Master’s in Health Communication. It’s really something special when connecting comes unexpected, though.

If you put your device down and have your head up, you leave yourself open to connecting. You give yourself the opportunity to connect with people who probably wouldn’t be on your radar. The other day, when I picked my children up from school, I hung around for a bit talking to a mom. She’s a parent of a high schooler and 5th grader. I coached her daughter in track and field for two years. In that two years I hadn’t really ever had a solid conversation with her.

Within five minutes of connecting, we seem to have a few things in common. Mom guilt is high on the list – dangling over our heads, pretty much. Balancing the work-mom life is a thread that we both seem to share even though our children are fairly spread apart in age. We share the same views on running in adolescence and the growing pains associated with the sport. The need to be grateful for what we do have and discussing that with our youth. Lastly, our Bucket Lists! What a deep conversation for a 1:30pm, after school, sunny, warm, playground connection.

The mom guilt is real, but is it necessary?

Our mom guilt is about wanting to do more with our brains and interests but also wanting to be there for our kids. The both of us want to take a step back and analyze our energy and efforts. To consider and possibly execute the notion “can we step a bit farther away yet?” is in our head space. This guilt seems to be a popular one among many moms I speak with. Although mom guilt is an obstacle, it’s not anything we can’t hurdle over.

Student-athelets go through a ton of growing pains and we need to support them in figuring out what works for them.

A common ground between many parents and coaches is adolescent bodies in sports, specifically running. As adults, we can forget what it was like to have a growing body. Coaching middle school and high school athletes is a daily reminder of those growing pains. Knee pain and shin pain are the most common, but of course back, hip, and ankle pain pop up as well. Everything is connected, so when we become an athlete our bodies are tested as a unit – the entire body. If one area is weak, it will effect everything.

When athletes reach puberty a number of changes take place. Hormones, in particular. From our mental state to our physical bodies, so many changes occur in the high school years. In boys, they get a surge of testosterone which makes them stronger and faster. They also switch to a higher metabolism and typically have a lower BMI due to an increase in lean muscle. On the other hand, females get a surge of estrogen, higher body fat percent, and a lower rate in metabolism. Often, there will be girls who are faster than boys in 8th grade but in high school the girls plateau or get a bit slower and the boys excel. The whole process of growing can be frustrating and exciting; it can also be a rewarding experience with the proper support.

Having patience, listening to our body, making sure we rest when we are supposed to, and also pushing our limits while also understanding and accepting the body we were given are all necessary. It’s important as parents and coaches to teach this to our kids/student-athletes. This is a conversation that I wish I could have with every parent who has a child entering athletics.

Occasionally, we can get caught up in what we can’t do or don’t have.

Bringing into our awareness to have gratitude for what we do have is so much more productive than to dwell on what we don’t have. Maybe our time isn’t the fastest, but our legs are working. Maybe we don’t have the best training shoes, but we do have a pair. We can often get caught up in the details of life, rather than the big things that make life brilliant.

Drive is a good thing. Having a drive to do and to be is how we end up getting to a place within ourselves that we love!

It’s pretty magical causally talking to someone when a ‘bucket list’ conversation pops up. My bucket list seems to grow every day. Some days I feel like I don’t come close to reaching one bucket, but other days I feel like I can smell the bucket being checked off the list. To have that drive inside, to push us to do something and be someone more than we were when we woke up is a pretty incredible feeling. It may take a month, or a year, or a decade, but we will keep on driving ourselves till we do it!

As I finish writing this post, four days have past. I thought for sure that I’d get it done that night. It’s ok. I did it and I didn’t abandon my initial words. I still feel completely connected tho this conversation that I had no idea would transpire so naturally. If we can just keep our heart, eyes, and minds open then who knows what type of connections we can make.

 

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