Thursday, January 21, 2010

Parent Fail

Some big changes have come about with my family since I got sick. I used to spend my days with my 3 sons at beaches and parks as well as walking to and from school every day. We were always physically active until I hit full stop. Now I have such a hard time being active and have spent most of my time immobile.

It bothers me but what bothers me more is the inactivity level of my sons. They grew up playing outside, running circles around our house and freaking out the neighbors by climbing trees. They would also spend a bulk of their time reading. I guess my kids were unusual in that way. People never failed to be verbal about the shock of seeing my kids reading in public. I never quite understood the surprise from strangers.

Well, my oldest grew up and moved out (he's 19) and my second son who's 16 has gravitated to team sports has been in football, wrestling, rugby and works out in his lunch hours from school, all out of his own motivation.

Son number 3 has been lagging behind. I feel guilty as I'm laying there exhausted, because I don't have the energy to take him out. I realize at 14, he should be able to do that himself but he's not. I made him join wrestling with his brother and eventually he said he doesn't want to go anymore.

So I call his coach and end up in a long conversation. The coach laughs when I say he might try gymnastics. Coach says, "No way, the time has passed". The coach is a wonderful guy who has dedicated himself to kids for over 40 years, although he sounds relieved that my son is quitting and goes on to tell me that it's obvious my son has no athletic skill whatsoever. And that my son obviously grew up spending all his time on the computer, going on to say, 'When he was a kid, kids played outside etc. etc.' The picture the coach painted of my son made me think he should have his pants pulled up to his chest and snort when he laughs with his argyle vest on while watching youtube.

It was a very painful conversation that lead to the idea that I was a negligent parent... or that's how it felt. He also went on to say that my son was out of luck in the sports arena and, "That's okay if he would never be a sports guy"(AKA an uber geek).

As I thought about my son's activity level, I realized it's only been the last year that he's been staying inside, he'd rather read than do anything else. I go on constant library runs with him and he goes to the bookstore whenever he has money.

Anyway, it hurts to have all the work and activity I did with those kids, all those years just to end up with it being 'obvious' that my youngest has never had any amount of activity in his life!

So basically out of the two sons at home one is physically a tank and the other is gangly, weak and uncoordinated.

I don't expect him to be a hardcore sports achiever but I do want him to be healthy strong and to have fun. I really feel like I committed a parent fail. If I could change things, I would.

Actually I will rephrase that to, "When I figure out how to change things, I will."


naw said...

did you ever stop to think that your not a failure as a parent just because he didnt fall into the mold you had in kind for him? I didn't fall into the mold my parents had for me, like your youngest I out of step with what my parents thought I "should" be doing, but really I just did what I enjoyed doing most. you still a great parent to him by taking him to the library and book stores your encouraging him regardless. so what if hes a nerdy kid, there are lots of nerdy kids... he has brains not brawn that does not make any one kid better developed then the other. no need to be so hard on your self your a great caring mother that supports her kids in what ever way they need to be. Just be happy they are happy, safe, smart and most of healthy. Just because one child is an athlete does not mean the other is a lesser then the other. They are all individuals trying to find their way in life their place in the world... your youngest might not be in the olympics but he might be a noble prize winner one day. And your middle might not win any prizes for brains but he might be a star athlete... just be happy none of them are like your neighbors, selling drugs or even worse a customer of your neighbor... your kids are well rounded that is a lot to ask of children these days...
I wish i could step right across the nation in one giant step and tell you this stuff in person so you can see the sincerity in my eyes and voice when I tell you you a GREAT mother dont worry so much!!!

BaldyLocks said...

Thanks for the reassurance, Neil. I don't have any mold set out for him at all and I'm wondering if that's the problem. I want to encourage him in any direction he wants to go but there doesn't seem to be a direction.

Everyone needs to be healthy and active and I don't want the poor kid to wither away. He has so much potential but my situation isn't helping him. I just want everything for my kids and right now I can't give them that.

I suck.

That's okay, by the way. Everyone has to suck sometime.

Elizabeth said...

Some kids just don't like sports. I don't. P.E. class was torture for me. Maybe he'll find a physical activity he likes, but at his age, he really needs to figure that out for himself.

T.Allen said...

I'm sorry you're feeling the parenting blues. I have a story that I hope encourages you, even if it's just a little.

Our son is 18 and has spent most of his time cooped up in his room with a book/notebook or keyboard in his lap for the past 4 years. Last year my husband and I had to accompany him to a musical performace at a venue where the crowd was 21 & over. It was the first time I witnessed him on stage being serious about his craft and I have to tell you I was floored. In his element all of the gangly, clumsy, awkwardness disappeared. He covered the stage with the mic in hand like a seasoned artist. The much older crowd had no idea he was 17 or that I was his mom-(much to my chagrin when the groupies arrived) He found his calling and I recognized it. It was amazing, as will be your time when it comes and your young son realizes or reveals his calling. Best.

Jens said...

I would not worry. Soon he will begin chasing young women (who are not related to him). Then he will change almost completely. Wait and see. You just have to let nature take its course (in this case).

BaldyLocks said...

I think the talk with the coach just hit a nerve today. Kind of weird when a coach laughs and says, "That's a joke", when I suggest what my son wants to take. I know he won't be in the Olympics but he wants to try something else and have some fun.

I think the coach just had his, "Appropriate Response" button off.

Ann said...

My youngest is completely unathletic too and I don't worry about it at all. He takes after me. I put him in youth sports - he gamely tried them all but was at the bottom of the pack every time. He loves computers too, and spends a lot of time on his. But, he's not watching YouTube, he's making YouTube videos. He just did this amazing stop-motion thing. He is not randomly browsing - he's learning javascript. He's an A student in the International Baccalaureate program - one of the toughest programs in the country. He is going to go to a top 100 HS next year and be in IB. He gets PE in school and while I still hope he finds an athletic thing he enjoys doing that will last him for life - I don't think BIll Gates has missed it. :) I never have. And, aside from this cancer thing - I have spent my life looking and feeling healthier than most people around me. You don't have to be an athelete to be healthy. Just move a little bit and eat well.

Don't beat yourself up - the trips to the library mean you are a good mom. He's just different than his brothers and that coach needs a lesson in civility.

Susan C said...

I can't get over my feelings of jealousy that youngest son is a bookworm.

Susan C said...
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Kyra said...

oh this got my back up. that coach is the one who failed, he made assumptions about your son, you and your lives together. i HATE when people do that. it's arrogant and he's the fool for it.
i personally know you are a GREAT parent, i have seen you raise your kids for the past 9 years. they are all unique and wonderful individuals. yes, your son needs some physical activity, i know where you're coming from, it would be wonderful for him to find an activity he enjoys for pure physical fitness. the fact that he reads (i did the same) so much is wonderful, he has a curious and imaginative mind and it's obvious he's bright. he's also a teenager, and that's an awkward time in the best of times... cut yourself some slack.
he'll find his niche, or maybe not, maybe he's a renaissance soul - these types (including me) take a little longer to figure things out... but damn we're interesting people.
okay, uhm... getting off my soap box.

Baldylocks said...

Ahhhh, I feel a lot better this morning. It's weird when it feels like the world is going to cave in on you.

I'm also feeling very lucky to have such supportive people here on my blog.

Big hugs to everyone!

Bohemian Chic said...

It's so not true..none of it. I, like Kyra was there. I was the neighbour, the personal witness to your life as a single parent and I was always in awe. How you managed to do all that you did with a smile on your face and three very active boys running around.I also happen to know and adore each of your boys for the wonderful, crazy and creative young men they are. I would drive by your house every day and laugh at the antics going on..because it was always a surprise. Usually it was the youngest son in the lead, at the top of the tree or racing down the hill at a scarey speed...and always with a huge devilish grin on his face. He may be your baby but he has always been a wild little gangster with no fear. He is also the first one to snuggle up with you and give you comfort when you needed it.Hes a good soul with a huge heart. Not every one is a high school jock, some of the worlds greatest muscians, artist, authors never played football or ran track. Don't believe the words of some high school coach who has no clue as to who or what your son is or had to endure. It's only because of your wonderful mothering that your boys have faced a horrible challenging time of you being ill and handled it so well. Your boys are doing great and baby "J" still has that devilish grin on his face.He will be just fine.

Anonymous said...
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Miss Melanoma said...

Hey girl. You know I know kids, and although this seems like your kiddo is going to wither away, you are on the right track. The thing is you let him be who he wants to be, and now you are going to make it clear he needs to be healthy. He'll know that because it's important to you, it's important for him. You are doing all you can do, and that is all you can do. Thanks for being an awesome mom! Teachers love this s*^%!

Teddy Started It said...


I don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said by the rest of your supporters here. I just wanted to pass along a smile.

'Cuz I Felt Like It! said...

No fault of your own. Some kids just aren't meant to be athletes. I have a son that is so much the polar opposite of myself, my husband and our daughter....he was raised no differently than his sister. He just prefers to not get dirty, stay inside and play video games, read, draw or be on a computer.

We are pretty active as a family and he just never wanted to be a part of it. I also felt like I did something wrong, but as it turns out, what I was doing wrong was nagging him all the time to do things he didn't enjoy. He's also 14 and I'm finally ok with it....