For Parents Gym parent burnout

cogymmom2dd

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Feb 9, 2020
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Is this a thing?
I have 3 DD’s who are preteam-L7. We have been at our gym on team for 6 years, total of 8 years if you count time spent in rec classes.
So, for the last 6 years, we have spent many evenings at the gym, eating dinner in the car, late nights finishing homework after practice because we have about 45 min from the time the bus drops off to the time that practice starts, dedicating weekends off for meets, a huge financial commitment/burden, etc.
This is no longer fun from a parent perspective and I personally am totally burned out.
Since we are online schooled this semester, DD1 does day program at the gym. So, we drop her off in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon. DD2 continues to do evening practices, so there are days when we are there twice daily, 4 trips there and back. I got a new car 4 years ago and have over 100k miles on it mainly from being the gym taxi. DH and I both work full time. I have the ability to schedule my days around all of the chaos, but it’s exhausting because a day off is not actually a day off. I find myself working a lot of weekends during the summer so that I can be home during the week doing gym mom things.
My kids love the sport. However, DD1 is struggling on L7 and I just don’t see the benefit of all of the sacrifices DH and I make. She’s dealt with gym shutdowns and Illness (she was sick and then the rest of the house had COVID), a huge growth spurt that compromised her flexibility and regressed a ton in her skills, developed a mental block doing any backwards tumbling, and has started therapy to overcome her fears (more money out of pocket). I have also found that the playing field is not equal, as most of her teammates are having privates on a regular basis and getting more 1:1 instruction and attention. They are scoring much higher than her and she gets upset when I tell her no to regularly scheduled privates (I’m not totally against them on occasion). I already pay the extra $$$ for her to do day program.
As I said earlier, she still loves the sport, as do my other 2 so even if she quits, I still have to be a gym mom. I can’t be the only one who has felt like this, any advice on how to deal with this would be appreciated.
 

Eleven sol

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Aug 23, 2015
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I have kids in three different competitive sports and it does become a grind. My husband and I divide the travel but it’s a lot even so. We do xcel gymnastics, select soccer and hockey. My soccer player is at a high level so I’m driving sometimes an hour back and forth to elite soccer camps on the weekend. My little hockey player is just beginning but (gulp) clearly that sport is also insane. I don’t know if I can give you any advice but I empathize. I tell myself that it keeps them out of trouble, keeps them focused on school, and prevents me from having to deal with other problems. It’s definitely helped them stay connected during the pandemic.

We try to make our car trips fun and make playlists and rock out or I just listen to them talk. My kids love their sports too and I see it helping them become amazing resilient individuals but there is no doubt it can be hard on parents! We dealt with minor but persistent injury with my gymnast as well during puberty; she never wanted to give up but there were times I did!

You just have to do what’s best for your family. No judgment here. It’s hard!
 

wolf_turn_on_uneven_bars

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Aug 3, 2019
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Like Eleven Sol I can empathize but don’t know if I can give you any helpful advise. We have two girls in gymnastics one compulsory and one optionals, one four evenings a week and one five. One girl might make it to collegiate the other I doubt it so we have different reasons to put up with it all and hope they get something out of it. They do, and we have many wonderful times too. Our little one isn’t into gymnastics (yet?) and sometimes we think we want her to and something’s nor!

The fact is we’ve had to pare back other parts of our lives and simplify with gymnastics being the center especially during meet season. For us the drive is nearly an hour one way I see many parents hanging out in the cars outside the gym rather than make two round trips. We are doing more of this. For a half year one our our girls was doing the day program but that was just too much. We were making three round trips every day, messing up the day and then needing the weekends just for chores and having little time for fun stuff. Now both girls go in the evening. That is much easier to manage and we’ve got our weekends back to relax or do some fun stuff.


PS You are blessed to have three daughters!
 
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ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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I only have one. And I know my limitations which is why I have one. I have never thought this was “fun”

Its OK to draw your line in the sand as to what you as parents are willing to do.... And none of this is forever. But whatever you decide make your peace with it.
 

CuriousCate

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Jul 12, 2016
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I used to think this was fun once upon a time - when it was 10 hrs a week and I still saw my kids, when the risk of injury was low, when meets were "cute", when mental blocks weren't a thing...the list goes on. I definitely don't find it fun anymore. I have two DDs in it, one walking the 7/8 line who practices 22.5 hours a week and one working on the 4/6 jump training 14 hours a week. Both are in elementary school still and I cannot even imagine what will happen when they have more intense work for school. I love my small group of gym mom friends who I've been close to since my older one began years ago, but I actually believe that after this many years, those friends would sustain outside of the sport. But yes, I feel you. Definitely notice the burnout - I no longer have the patience for the mental blocks, back and forth on levels, lack of communication, dinners eaten in the car, etc. I know that I would definitely be sad and actually sort of mournful if it ended, but not for too long I imagine.

The only advice I can give is to make the car time as productive as possible. I bought my YDD a little lap desk since she has a 30 minute window between ODD and her practice beginning (they both go straight from school) and I make her do as much homework in the car with the babysitter as possible. We used to commute farther which was exhausting and I got the Libby app and Audible and listened to book after book which definitely helped me feel happier - for the rides with the kids, we did books like Seabiscuit, Bridge to Terabithia, Harry Potter, etc and saved the book listening ONLY for gym rides to sort of make them something to look forward to. Days that I do gym drop-off, I will sometimes just park at the gym and go for a walk or run or make plans to take a walk with another gym mom.

My ODD sounds a lot like yours - she got to L6/7 without too much trouble (some drama on giants) and then grew like a weed and now is working through a beam series mental block (but will throw harder skills without batting an eye, like a side ariel and back tuck, which makes no sense to me). She trained 8 and then lost her series and now may not even get a chance to repeat 7 because we pulled out of most meets so she is running out of time to fix the block. Also seeing a psychologist (fortunately covered by insurance) and a PT for a shoulder injury, etc. It's so hard to watch and to support because it just seems like we take such extreme measures for this sport that we wouldn't for another sport. But she claims that she loves it and I just keep trying to get my end game to match up with what she is doing. I keep telling myself that at the end of the day, if she continues going and keeps loving it and it keeps her out of trouble with great friends and keeps her super physically fit, it just might be worth the sacrifice. Maybe one day I'll actually believe that!
 

bookworm

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Oct 3, 2009
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On my couch either reading or doing nothing...
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Well as someone who did a long gym commute for 17 years, I get it. For 15 of the 17 years, the commute was at least an hour each way so it was definitely all consuming...and when they practiced 5-6 days a week, and we didn't live close enough to drive back and forth , and for whatever reason, when my oldest could drive to the gym , she preferred that I drive ....yes, I totally get where you are.... but my advice to you is to either accept it for what it is, an investment in your time and money for your kids , without regret or resentment, or pull the plug and move on.

You can keep yourself busy while they train and know that they are participating in an activity that keeps them happy (usually) and fit. If they are waffling, then I'd have the hard conversation about looking at other things. And this has been my huge caveat to anyone who has ever asked me, if your family is in dire financial straits due to the expenses of gymnastics, cut the cord now, it is not worth the financial ruin of a family for a leisure sport.

I always tell people that you will never understand how life consuming high level gymnastics is until you are living it. We made our peace with this delicate life dance early on as my oldest was in upper level optionals at 8 yo so the 5 days a week came pretty soon out of the gate and we had to decide, are we in? And more importantly , was she? Our deal with our girls was that as long as you are the ones pulling us out of the door, we'll support you. And that continued until college. Not that it wasn't hard and that we didn't miss things but I also put my foot down with their coaches and told them there were things my kids wouldn't miss because of gymnastics.... we went on family vacations, they went to father daughter dances and prom and did all their Senior school activities... I got a few side eyes but do I regret drawing that line in the sand, not one bit. As my girls say "would we notice if we missed a Friday practice? Nope . But we would have been devastated to miss the father daughter dance for a practice" .

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. I'm totally out of that scene now and to be frank, I don't miss the 1000 miles a week commute I used to do. It was nice to have time in the car with them but now it's nice to have time to myself.
 

Flyaway

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Jun 1, 2014
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I feel you. Without going into a long drawn out story, we eventually decided we had hit our limit with what gymnastics was taking from us as a family during the pandemic. It was a heart-wrenching decision for all of us, but a few months out now, I still believe it was the right thing to do. The pandemic allowed us to view things a bit more objectively. I don't have specific advice because our situation was a little different than yours, but I did want to post to at least encourage you and assure you that there is life on the other side of gymnastics, if you decide that it's time to move on. ((hugs))
 

MuggleMom

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Dec 22, 2016
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I dont have advice just a virtual hug. I always joke if we lived more than 15 minutes from gym she would need to pick a different sport. It started as a joke but if I am being honest....it may not be a joke anymore. The emotionally charged times are difficult for me because its so much time for something that seems to be making them unhappy....how do you justify that? We put in our two weeks notice at one point but then she turned a corner and is doing really well mentally right now. If it gets really draining again I am not sure I will be as patient and may just pull the trigger for everyone's mental health.

Its hard to have perspective in the thick of it and if I am being honest I probably don't have a ton of perspective right now but we can just do the best we can with the info we have and hope we are raising happy human beings---but I think thats what most parents are doing gym or no gym. I heard someone say once we wont know if we have done a good job raising kids till we see how they raise their kids. I think there may be some strange truth in that.
 

cogymmom2dd

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Feb 9, 2020
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Like Eleven Sol I can empathize but don’t know if I can give you any helpful advise. We have two girls in gymnastics one compulsory and one optionals, one four evenings a week and one five. One girl might make it to collegiate the other I doubt it so we have different reasons to put up with it all and hope they get something out of it. They do, and we have many wonderful times too. Our little one isn’t into gymnastics (yet?) and sometimes we think we want her to and something’s nor!

The fact is we’ve had to pare back other parts of our lives and simplify with gymnastics being the center especially during meet season. For us the drive is nearly an hour one way I see many parents hanging out in the cars outside the gym rather than make two round trips. We are doing more of this. For a half year one our our girls was doing the day program but that was just too much. We were making three round trips every day, messing up the day and then needing the weekends just for chores and having little time for fun stuff. Now both girls go in the evening. That is much easier to manage and we’ve got our weekends back to relax or do some fun stuff.


PS You are blessed to have three daughters!
Thanks for the insight. Luckily, we live only about 15 miles from our gym so have a much shorter commute. During pre-covid times, I would often use their practice time to go and run errands, get groceries, go to the gym, sometimes sit and watch practice, etc, but now it’s not as easy to do all of that.
I think that day program has maybe added a little extra stress when it comes to the logistics of things, but my DD is thriving academically at this point with the switch and focus on gym during the day vs School. Hopefully, once school is out, the optional and upper level XCEL girls will practice during the day in the summer, so practice schedules will align and we will have evenings free.
 
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