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Megley

I have permission to repost this excellent and very funny list of advice from an extremely experienced gym mom. After nearly four years with a dd competing, I can say that this is all SO true. Thought it would be great for our many members with gymmies just starting out in competition.

Advice for parents in their first year of their
daughter's competing, whether it's L2-L5, YMCA/JO/TAAF or
whatever . . .

1. Love the one you're with. We all know that there are nasty
parents in our midst. As hard as it is, we must co-exist with them.
One of the mothers I was in mortal combat with when our dds were L4
became a very close friend of mine over the years. Only the other
gym mothers really understand what we are going through and we have
more in common with them than not. If someone is really horrid,
ignore them and rest assured they will get over themselves as the
years go by.

2. BFF. I don't care who you are, we all know it's hard not to
compare your child to her teammates as they compete against each
other OVAH and OVAH again. These girls, however, are your dds best
friends or at least they could be in the right environment. Don't
pit them against each other in any way or even let a comparative
thought seep in (gotta watch that karma!). A super L4 gymnast is
not necessarily a super L5 gymnast. A child who gets their kip last,
may get their kip best.

3. 24 hour rule. People get emotional at, during and right after
meets. It's really hard to suffer through your dd falling three
times on beam and it's really hard to not feel like the cat that
swallowed the canary when your dd does well. After a meet, zip your
mouth to anyone whom you cannot completely trust. Believe me, you'll
say things you wish you didn't. Find a TRUE best gym friend, post on
a message board (like this one!), find a great friend in another city who's also a gymmom, but don't share your personal thoughts with other members of
your dd's club (coach, mom, or whatever) until you've composed
yourself the next day and have had more time to reflect. Btw, this
rule comes from my years teaching law school. My students were never
allowed to talk to me about their grades until 24 hours after they
received their papers back. ;-) Works wonders.

4. Don't party with the coaches. Some of us may truly like our
dd's coaches as friends, but they are not our friends, they are our
dd's coaches. If someone is your friend, it's hard for you to
understand why they may hold your child back, yell at them on
occasion, not pick them to be the special girl in the Christmas show,
etc. Believe me, it's much, much easier to be respectful, but not
hang out in the hotel bar with them at night. I've seen it – it's
not pretty!

5. Keep your eyes to yourself. Every gym has favorites. Don't
watch the favorite, watch your own dd. If she is getting what she
needs, then it's ok that someone else gets different or more. Most
of the kids who are getting different or more have trouble as they
get older because they feed off that attention and cannot learn to
self-motivate. Really. You just have to wait it out. I did.

6. Team Spirit. The leotard will be ugly and expensive, you will
wear matching team clothes like elves, the parent you dislike the
most will be in charge. Accepting this now will make it much easier
during the season.

7. Do they think I'm stupid? Well, yes, they do. All coaches
think parents don't understand gymnastics and, heck, most of us
don't. That doesn't mean that you can't be practical and figure out
what's best for your child. That doesn't mean you SHARE your
opinions with your dd's coaches, but it's important to know what your
dd needs and if her coaches are providing it.

8. Get to know your dd. Gymnasts are as mentally different as they
are physically and your child in the gym may be different than your
child at home. Although I hate the phrase because it connotes that
coaches know best, the saying that "Parents know their daughter, but
coaches know their gymnast" is not untrue. With that in mind,
parents, YOU get to know YOUR gymnast. Some girls are motivated by
winning, some are motivated by tricks, some are motivated by
friendships, etc. Find out what makes your dd happy in this sport
and RUN WITH IT. If the gym doesn't provide what juices your dd,
then find another gym for her.

9. Feel the love for Level 4. Gymnastics could end tomorrow, or it
could end in 10 years, but it will end. Enjoy every last meet,
travel trip, crazy mom and cute little girl. It will be over before
you know it.
 
L

lilgymmie7

How cute was that! I personally like # 6 and #9. Sometimes I have said, "What were they thinking? Who picked out these dreaded suits?" Thankfully, the gym has fickle tastes and switches the leos, warm ups etc. every two years. Wait, that's good and bad!
As a second timer, ALL of this is reality the second time around. Older DD was my first take with gym as a mom. Little DD is second, but I am facing all new challenges. The point that hit on appreciating the difficult and 'crazy' mom is a tough one for me. Why do some parents go over the top? I honestly have a hard time understanding that one. I try very hard to bite my lip, but I must admit it is terribly difficult!
Recently, a mom at DD's gym blurted out at a meet no less that they hate the meet, and they will never return. This sheds such a bad light on our gym as a whole. Why is behavior like that necessary? Oh well, to each their own! Love the post and its many needed messages about gymnastics and parenting a gymnast!:)
 

Granny Smith

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
1,444
Great post Megley!

As a "seasoned" parent I think a lot of the stuff you describe gets a lot better the higher in the levels the kids go - not the leo stuff, but the kids treatment toward each other and the parents treatment toward each other. I think the sport just breaks you down after awhile and you chill at some point! Soon, you just walk around like zombies with a checkbook and all you say is "how much do I write it for????"

1 - I love my fellow moms, they are truly my best friends. They get what we are going through - the are my "Band of Sisters."

2 - School friends come & go, but gym friends are their sisters. They love one another like blood, but also can have fall outs like siblings - but there is always the love!

3 - Love the 24 hr rule! I can't say that I'm a follower, but I've learned to keep my mouth shut and only approach coach if it's a safety issue. As for meets, I need to practice this rule more... my goal for this upcoming season - promise!

4 - Love, love, love this rule. Many parents are friends with coaches on FaceBook and to me, a big no-no. I like to keep the separation intact. I pay them to perform a service and I want to be able to keep that relationship that way!

5 - Keeping eyes to yourself. It has taken me many years to accept this rule, but I think I am 90% there (it has only taken 10 years!!!) I used to try to figure out why the groups were split the way they were. Why wasn't my child in that group with "Susie" or whoever. Now, I constantly remind myself that if my child is doing what she needs to be doing at practice, it doesn't matter what group she is in or who she is with as long as she is working to her fullest potential. I will repeat, this is a tough one - but you're life will get a lot easier once you come to terms with this! OR better yet, don't stay and watch - what you don't see, won't disgust or infuriate you!!!! ;)

6 - Team Spirit, we have been very fortunate that the girls leos have been "G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!!!" Of course they get new ones every year, that seem to cost a small fortune! Oh and the kicker this year, I spend $200 for a comp leo and we are told we can't wash them because the colors will run and ruin the leo!!!! HELLO, there is in nothing worse in my life right now than forking out $200 bucks and can't wash the stupid thing! Oh, I will get that sucker clean, someway, somehow!!!! Maybe I need to invent a special leo detergent and market it to help pay for future leos....

7 - We were basically told more or less - keep your mouth shut, unless you were a level 10 or an Olympian, you do not know what you are talking about. Ok, I get it, but when the safety of my child seems to be an issue, I do speak up otherwise I have blind faith in the coaches. But let me add if the coach is having an issue with my child not getting a skill or something along those lines, maybe they shouldn't come to me either to help remedy the situation because remember I know nothing except how to write a check.... oh yeah, how much should I write it for again???? ;)

8 - It's taken years but I do think I've come to know my gymmie! That little determined thing she is.... yeah I know her and then the teen years have set in and it's a whole new ball game! It's not just what coach wants from her or what I want from her, but dd now has a voice and she seems to have her opinion too. So now it's not just "A" (Coach) <---> "B" (Parent); it's "A"<---> "B"<--->"C"(that would be child, who sees things totally different once they become a teen and even more different once they get into HS - boy oh boy!!!!)

9 - Oh how cute were the L4 days, they were adorable - such a special time! Always remember them because once they get to L9 and L10, you can be caught by other parents praying that your child doesn't kill themselves doing the new skill they have been working on. Prayer & alcohol (jk!) are your best friends at meets... the other parents (moms) there only make the situation even more intense because here you are hoping you kid doesn't die - they are praying that there kid doesn't die and so is the mom next to them. The difference is that most likely you have driven hours upon hours to get to this meet, probably dropped at least $100 to stay in a hotel room because you have an 8am report time - so we are glutens for punishment and fork out all of this money to experience the "death march" and hopefully triumph!

Let me just add, these have been the best years of my life! I love every moment of the experience - the ups and the downs! I wouldn't trade any of the people I've met and through this sport I have learned the definition of the word patience and the phrase "Let Go, Let God."
 

Ingwe

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
760
Region 8
Oh and the kicker this year, I spend $200 for a comp leo and we are told we can't wash them because the colors will run and ruin the leo!!!! HELLO, there is in nothing worse in my life right now than forking out $200 bucks and can't wash the stupid thing! Oh, I will get that sucker clean, someway, somehow!!!!


We have a $200 warm-up that we are not "allowed" to wash :rolleyes:

I guess it's not as bad as not being able to wash the leo though :D
 
M

Megley

Granny, you are right that so much of it gets better as the years go by, but boy does most of this turn out to be dead on! I'm still working on number 5 myself but trying hard. And somehow I wound up as the parent in charge so hopefully I'm not too hated! LOL!

I'm missing Level 4 myself these days.
 

gymmomof1

Proud Parent
Oct 23, 2009
883
NJ Region 7
Oh and the kicker this year, I spend $200 for a comp leo and we are told we can't wash them because the colors will run and ruin the leo!!!! HELLO, there is in nothing worse in my life right now than forking out $200 bucks and can't wash the stupid thing! Oh, I will get that sucker clean, someway, somehow!!!!


We have a $200 warm-up that we are not "allowed" to wash :rolleyes:

I guess it's not as bad as not being able to wash the leo though :D
I hear ya!!! We just got the new leo and warm up with those symbol wash instructions and guess what I washed the warm up suit and the next thing I know the pink piping starts bleeding into the white part of the suit :eek:ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! After three washes with carbona and quickly putting it into the dryer it looks ok (but I notice the touch of pink shadow lol)
Megley thanks for the wonderful post about useful tips on this gymnastic journey. That's why I enjoy this site and am glad for those who are on it!
 

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,975
Even crazier

Great post Megley!
9 - Oh how cute were the L4 days, they were adorable - such a special time! Always remember them because once they get to L9 and L10, you can be caught by other parents praying that your child doesn't kill themselves doing the new skill they have been working on. Prayer & alcohol (jk!) are your best friends at meets... the other parents (moms) there only make the situation even more intense because here you are hoping you kid doesn't die - they are praying that there kid doesn't die and so is the mom next to them. The difference is that most likely you have driven hours upon hours to get to this meet, probably dropped at least $100 to stay in a hotel room because you have an 8am report time - so we are glutens for punishment and fork out all of this money to experience the "death march" and hopefully triumph!
Heehee! and know what else? I close my eyes during beam and bars! So I pay all that money to enter her, for travel, hotel, for admission, for leos and training, to CLOSE MY EYES and not even see it! How crazy is that? I always go, "DID SHE STICK IT???" to the person next to me! I have to watch the video to see it--I could have stayed home for that! LOL :p
 

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,975
One more rule....

May I add just one more, the most important rule? Never, never, never, EVER say, "My daughter was better than the last girl, why is her score lower?" NO MATTER WHAT! NEVER SAY THIS OUTLOUD!

This actually happened at a meet I was watching. And it was my dd's team, only a different level, and the 2nd mom heard what the 1st mom said......oh, MY! I left right after that! LOL!
 
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