Friday, March 5, 2010

Tales from the Trenches

Confessions of a Skating Mom

I've been a skating mom for about 4 years now, but the last few years we've gotten more serious about skating. Sometimes we are at the rink 5 days a week, so I've learned a lot about being a skating mom. I always wished I had some sort of manual to tell me what to do, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and write down some of what I've learned.

1. Compliments. This is a tough one. Be careful about complimenting a skater. It's okay to tell a parent that their daughter is a good skater, but be careful about double-sided compliments. For example, never follow-up a comment about what a good spinner your daughter is but saying, "you know, skaters are either good at jumping or spinning". What are you saying? My daughter can't jump? Touchy subject. I've been there.

And never compliment your child by telling them that they had a good day. Ask them first what they think. Especially important with pre-prepubescent pre-teens. Emotions take precedence nearly all the time, and you'll most certainly get your head bitten off if they disagree and missed a few jumps or spins.

2. Talking to skaters. If you have something to say to a skater, funnel the comment through a coach or, if all else fails, the skater's parent. This applies sometimes even if one of the skater's is your own child.

3. Talking to skaters' parents. Make sure their child is not currently performing on the ice at the time, even if it it just a practice skate. But if this happens to you, just calmly ask the speaker to wait until the skater finishes. Don't go home and tell your spouse about it and then have the spouse confront the speaker another day completely out of the blue.

4. Volunteering. If someone asks for help, it's okay to do that, but never do more than you have to. Do that and you'll get overloaded very quickly. Most importantly, think carefully about join the board. Put a bunch of ladies in a room and have them try to make decisions. It's an emotional process. And ladies, we can be very mean sometimes. What you don't know can't hurt you. And what you do know...well you know what I mean. I joined this year because I thought I could help, but I find myself being constantly frustrated and in tears (unfortunately I'm a crier).

5. Learn a craft. People might look at you weird, but it gets boring sitting there for hours. And boredom leads to gossip, and that's just bad.

6. Hair & makeup. Don't stress out about this. The internet is a treasure trove of resources on hair and makeup. Pony-tails and scrunchies are life savers as is a can of glitter spray. And if you really can't do makeup, ask another parent for help and get your skater to ask one of their friends. Mascara, glitter eyeliner, blush, and lipstick and THE most important items to have in their makeup bags.

7. Skate dresses. If you are REALLY, REALLY keen and have gobs of extra time on your hands, go ahead and sew your own outfits. However, it is generally cheaper and easier to just buy dresses. This I've learned from countless headaches and last minute all night sewing sessions.

8. Dads. For the most part it's the moms sitting out there in the stands, but dad's like to be involved too. Dear Javier is taking Lizzie to a competition without me this weekend, and was EAGER to learn how to do hair and makeup. Man, I wish I had pictures of that makeup session. And I can't wait to see pics of the results of their handiwork.

So there you go. Some of this information I'm sure applies to other sports parenting. I am by no means an expert on the subject. Everyone has their own experiences, both good and bad, and I'm sure there are parents who will disagree with what I've written. I welcome any positive comments on how to be a good skating mom.


Shana said...

Take out *skate* and insert *dance,* *cheer* or *gymnastics,* and I am right there with you.

For cheerleading, the *perfect cheer ponytail* was equally as important as the quality of the performance. True story.

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slow panic said...

I have so much respect for your dedication. I'm still waiting for my kids to find there thing....

Kristin said...

Funny how there are entire sub-sections of etiquette for different situations in life, isn't it? Very informative and helpful, if I ever have a child who skates! : )

Also, I'm right there with you in your mini obsession. When I was a kid, we had a store nearby that was all dollhouses and accessories. I could have spent entire days, just browsing...

Jillian said...

Your list was quite funny! I am so happy for you all to be able to enjoy a fun sport with Lizzie! We have an ice rink here but I've only been there once or twice. Hopefully it will be something we can do with Dear Bebe someday.