Making a First Down
by Nancy Wolfe, @_nwolf
When you watch football on TV, first downs are measured by virtual bright yellow lines.
In real life parenting there are no yellow lines.
Moms have to keep marking them for each play.
And the places where the lines must be drawn keep changing.
When they are little, it’s easy to know where the lines are.
Don’t touch the stove! Hold my hand when we cross the street!
A little later: Do your homework before dinner! Don’t hit your brother!
For teens—Don’t drink and drive. Be honest. Don’t cheat. Help your friends.
Much harder when they are over 18. They think should be calling their own plays, marking their own downlines. You still want to be the assistant coach.
Only now you are on the sidelines. You’re no longer directing the game. Hoping instead that the lines you drew when they were kids can still be seen.
by Megan Horan, @HoranMeghan
There are rules, terminology and recommendations for football at every turn. Same rings true for parenting.
Just like football, parenting takes strategy, teamwork and perseverance, maybe some protective gear as well.
Like football, the “rules” of parenting (some experts feel they exist) seem to be forever evasive and difficult to convey, yet we still try to learn them. New parenting terminology seems to pop up everyday. Recommendations on how to be a better parent come from every angle, just like NFL commentators to the teams they are critiquing.
Yet, they are not in your shoes, your locker room or your family meeting. They don't know your strategy of getting from “A” to “B” was foiled by the unforeseen “D”.
In parenting, like football, all we can do is keep coaching to the best of our abilities and do what's best for our teams, on our terms, on our turf.
Knowing When to Punt
by Shannan Younger, @momfactually
As a football fan, I used to feel a bit sad whenever my team punted the ball. Now that I’m a parent, however, I’ve come to realize that knowing when to punt is a key skill and one that can keep you in the game. In both football and parenting, sometimes it’s best to recognize that you didn’t get where you wanted to be but you’ll have a chance to try again later. A chance to regroup can be key. That may mean knowing when to stop arguing with a toddler or to take a break from the algebra problem making you both insane. Punting also underscores the importance of appreciating the skills of teammates and acknowledging that their strengths are different from yours. It’s okay to turn the ball, or children, over to a spouse (defense) or grandparents (who seem to me to be them embodiment of special teams).