Gymnastics moms, this blog is for you!
Not only is it Mother's Day in the United States (and other countries) today, it's also another day in your important journey of being a gym mom.
Being a gym mom can be stressful. It can be exhausting. And it can certainly be confusing.
I wanted to write this blog to remind you of a few important things:
1. You are doing enough
As moms, we often worry that there's more we could be doing to help our children. And with gymnastics, there always seems to be some sort of "flame" to put out. Whether it's drama with a teammate, a mental block that has your gymnast frustrated, or issues with her coach, you are always working hard to ensure your gymnast's needs are met.
I want to assure you that you are doing enough.
In fact, your gymnast doesn't need you to put out her fires. She only needs you to equip her with a fire suit.
She doesn't need you to fight her battles, for she will never gain confidence until she fights her own battles and proves to herself she can make it through.
Your gymnast needs YOU. An attentive, loving mom who can lend a listening ear when she really needs one.
Just by being you, you are doing enough. Always keep that in mind.
2. Your gymnast doesn't need fixing so let yourself off the hook
If your gymnast is going through a mental block or other struggles in gymnastics, it's common to feel like you have to fix it for her.
But at the end of the day, nothing is broken about your gymnast. Sure, she may have struggles or have her bad days in the gym, but you don't have to figure out how to fix those things for her.
Gymnastics is one of the best sports for teaching life lessons. That's why I love this sport so much. It isn't an easy sport. Your gymnast will have to work harder than she's ever worked before. It isn't a sport that always follows a linear progression with skills. She might have a skill one month and then lose it the next month, thereby questioning her abilities and feeling her confidence plummet. Gymnastics truly is a roller coaster!
Your gymnast won't always have the nicest coaches - in fact, gymnastics coaches are notorious for being strict and disciplinarians (not all - luckily the culture is changing). As a result, she'll learn how to deal with tough coaches who will set her up to learn how to handle mean bosses in the future.
She'll be judged and compared and picked apart.
Her journey won't be easy. But it WILL mean something. She'll gain valuable life skills that will help her for life.
In the end she'll learn how to be mentally strong, how to handle any adversity, and if she eventually leaves the sport of gymnastics your gymnast will have a set of skills that will serve her well in life.
So moms...your gymnast doesn't need fixing. She needs to learn how to handle tough situations. And gymnastics is the best sport for learning those lessons.
3. You don't have to orchestrate how your gymnast's journey unfolds
While you might feel like the conductor in your gymnast's life, the truth is she is orchestrating her own journey. Let it unfold the way it unfolds without feeling like you have to guide and direct it at all times.
This is no easy task because I know that as a mom I want everything to go exactly right for my children.
But this gymnastics journey is your gymnast's journey to have. She has to make the mistakes, repeat the levels, lose and then gain back the skills. She has to navigate through it in her own way, even if that isn't the way you'd like it to go.
So hang back, give your gymnast lots of hugs, and enjoy the unfolding of it all! You might be surprised along the way.
4. You don't have to know everything about gymnastics to be a good gymnastics mom
The truth is, moms who are less involved in their gymnast's journeys often have a better relationship with their gymnasts. And that's not to say you shouldn't know everything about gymnastics, especially if it's a sport you've done personally or happen to love.
But don't feel like you have to know everything about gymnastics to be a good gymnastics mom. Simone Biles' mom was hardly a "gym mom." She was busy working and didn't spend hours sitting in the gym watching Simone each week. She trusted Simone's coaches and intervened when necessary. But overall she wasn't involved in every single aspect of Simone's gymnastics journey.
So don't feel like your gymnast won't succeed if you aren't there all the time. In fact, I often hear gymnasts tell me that they wish their moms would stop telling them what to do in gymnastics or stop giving them tips. That adds more pressure. When in doubt, let the experts (coaches) be in charge of your gymnast's journey and focus on being the best MOM you can be.
5. Don't get too attached to the highs or the lows
Gymnastics can feel like a roller coaster with all the obstacles that tend to creep into your gymnasts' journey. One thing a wise social worker once taught me when handling my own children's struggles was not to get too attached to the highs or the lows. In other words, they will pass.
When things are going great, enjoy it. Take a deep breath. Soak it all in. But don't get too attached. It will pass.
When things are not going well, don't sweat it. Take a deep breath. Find ways to de-stress. Be there for support. But don't get too attached. It will pass.
If you can approach each day as a new day and be open to what it brings, you'll have a much better experience!
Happy Mother's Day to all the gymnastics moms out there. You are doing a great job. Being a mother is not easy. Being a mother to a gymnast is even harder. Let yourself off the hook. Enjoy the journey. And remember that above all, your gymnast needs a mom who will love her and support her through every twist and turn in gymnastics!
If you or your gymnast needs support, in addition to the resources below I also offer one-on-one coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Stick It Girl Academy: For competitive gymnasts who want to live into their potential and need that extra push in mental training
- Mental Health Training for Gymnasts: Help your gymnast learn about her brain and the fight-flight-or-freeze response.
- Free Facebook Group for Moms of Gymnasts: Join this group to chat with other gymnastics moms and get tips for how to help your gymnast navigate through the mental ups and downs of gymnastics