Over the past 50 weeks, my two kids have played in 223 games and countless practices. Crazy I know. A schedule like this could put a strain on a marriage, but my wife and I actually think that it brings us together. As parents, we are very involved in our kid's schooling and their non-sports extracurricular activities as well. I guess you can say that we are completely dedicated to our kids.
Well not completely. While we concentrate a lot of time and emotional energy on our kids, we don't forget about each other. We believe that one of the greatest things that we can give our kids (besides time with a personal trainer - i'm kidding) is a happy and healthy marriage. My wife and I both came from broken families and know the toll that divorce takes on kids, so we constantly work at our 15 year marriage. Actually, I am not sure work is the right word because it seems so easy. Of course it helps that we are both compatible sports nuts.
What's our secret for a happy Youth Sports Parents marriage:
- Almost every week we have a date night. No kids.
- We make joint decisions regarding our kids. (For example, if our kids express an interest in playing a sport or trying out for a particular team, my wife and I figure out IF and HOW we are going to make it happen together.)
- We go to every youth sports event together, if possible. Of course, we often need to divide and conquer when the kids' schedules overlap but for the most part we are in the stands sharing the memories together. When we are apart, we either text each other sports updates or provide play-by-play over the phone.
- Finally, every year, my wife and I take a time out from youth sports and go away alone for uninterrupted time together. Yep, once per year, we take off for a warm climate. We leave on a Sunday morning and return on a Friday (5 nights). The last couple of years we have been going to all inclusive resorts. The main benefit to us is five blissful days of not getting into a car to go anywhere. The five day, no kids vacation schedule is ideal on many levels. a) We only miss one weekend day, so we miss very few games. b) The kids are in school most of the hours we are away. This makes it easy on our parents who watch the kids. c) This a perfect amount of time to get away and reconnect - not too short and not too long. d) This is a great time for the grandparents to connect with our kids. All but one grandparent (our kids have 7) live 8+ hours away. e) We have an entire weekend when we return to reconnect with our kids before the work week starts. And to
The Main Point
The over-scheduled youth sports world we live in can make life stressful for kids and parents. It makes many parents cranky. I can tell you that no one likes to be around cranky people, not even spouses.
My advice, relax and enjoy watching your kids play sports. It will all be done before you know it. And take time away from your kids sports schedules a couple of hours per week and a couple of days per year to connect with your spouse.
Happy Valentines Day youth sports fans. If you do not have a game to watch tonight, take your spouse out. If you do buy something special at the concession stand.