One of the toughest parts of creating the video series was hearing some of my son's comments about the way I managed the hockey experience as a mom. When he said, "It didn't take me long to discover headphones. I had to do the best I could before games or tryouts or anything nerve-wracking to try to block my mom out." It was a difficult pill to swallow because at the time, I didn't realize the stress I was causing him.
When I think back to some of my son's games and how I handled them, I have to say I'm glad he discovered headphones. I will never forget watching him during his first tryout. It was his first experience being evaluated and my first experience watching tryouts as a hockey mom. Quite honestly, I wasn't prepared at all! My sister came to watch and it was very obvious that Brock was feeling nervous. Having no experience with this kind of stress, I instantly felt like I wanted to help him.
I looked to my sister and said, "What do I do?" She quite sharply responded, "Well for starters, you should should leave that look on your face at home!" OUCH! I knew exactly what she meant and I knew she was right. It didn't help the situation that as my son was struggling on the ice, my facial expression was one of sheer and utter panic. The thought of him not measuring up to the other kids, the thought of him being cut, embarrassed or not feeling good enough, took me back to when I used to experience those things myself. Unfortunately, the memories were written all over my face.
The truth was, I don't think he was feeling any of those things; but I sure was. I will never forget my sister's advice that day. She made me realize there would be many more times that my kids were going to look to me for support and I needed to be able to be there for them in those moments without bringing my own stress with me.
From that experience, I wrote lesson two (2), Leave your baggage at home. This excerpt from the book says it best:
"Sometimes we need to ask ourselves when we've yelled at our kids in the rink, who are we really yelling for? If they don't have a good game, who are we embarrassed for? I bet if you think long and hard, the answer is that you're yelling because you don't want people to look at you like you aren't aware that your son or daughter just messed up. I hate to say it, but like everything else, our egos get in the way. This is our child's experience, not our own. It's amazing the freedom that comes from stepping back. I say this having yelled, paced, made excuses and left many games feeling worse than my son did. Whenever I made the experience about me and tried to protect him from what I had gone through, it would feel way worse than it had to."
In the video, Joe Downing (Major Midget AAA Coordinator) said it best when he said, "I think you feel everything as a parent." I know I did and there were times it was to Brock's detriment. Our kids don't need our stress; it is not a gift we need to pass down, because unfortunately, they'll find their own. Love them through their experiences, hug them when they win and hug them when they lose. At the end of the day, leave your baggage at home! The only baggage your child should bring to the rink is their hockey bag!
- Written by Allyson Tufts