I once heard a sports parent say: “My kids are playing sports so my life is on hold.” Do you feel that way? If you are a busy sports parent, whose time is filled with games, practices, team meetings, carpooling, and cleaning uniforms, it’s easy to feel stifled because your child’s schedule has taken over your life. But you have chosen the life of sports parent, and even though things may get chaotic, your life is NOT on hold. Here’s why: You are making precious memories for your kids. The long drives, late nights, great victories, suffocating losses, friends made, even the fights your kids have in the car–these are all memories your kids will look back on and laugh and talk about. The memories my kids have of playing sports are some of their greatest. You are giving your child opportunities to be challenged and to learn life-lessons. Nothing is wasted, even the time spent playing youth sports. When done positively and with the right motives, youth sports can teach your child lessons he will never forget. You are learning more about yourself. If you let it, sports parenting will teach you how to be a better parent, how to let go of things you can’t control, how to bite your tongue, swallow your pride, and how to get along with people. The time you spend with and for your kids is never wasted time. NEVER. Every minute is an investment in who they will become. Youth sports experiences are building blocks for the future. Each game. Each friend. Each coach. Each team. Brick by brick, your child is building for the future and the adult he will become. Nothing trumps the job of parenting. Yes, your paid job is important. And you may not agree with me on this one, but I believe that nothing trumps the job of parenting, (except being a supportive spouse…but that’s a subject for a different blog post). This doesn’t mean that you choose to spend every moment of your life doing something for your kids; it just means that your decisions are based on what is best for your children and your family, not just on what’s good for you. If parenting those little humans that you’ve been blessed with is a top priority, then you will reap huge rewards as you see them grow up. Sports parenting shouldn’t mean that your life is on hold, it is your life. Give yourself to it and glean all that you can from it. Janis Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM THINKS.