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ProudDad

Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2016
120
TX
My DD is 9 and training for her 4th competitive season (competed L6) and her coach indicates she's on fire, picking up new skills and could compete L8 next season (after a mobility meet in the fall)... she lights up like it's Christmas morning every time she gets to the gym - its been her passion since her first day of rec. We've had coaches from other gyms (no salesmanship -as a guest gymnast while vacationing) indicate she could do very well in L10 or elite if she continues on... which has been DD's dream since she started. This isn't meant to be a brag post, but just setting the stage...

A few months ago DW started working for the first time in 16 years and is working 12hrs/day Sat and Sun... since then she has become increasingly vocal about not seeing DD often enough, and that it "isn't right for a 9 y/o to spend so much time in the gym". She takes her to practice late and encourages her to skip. DD has just started echoing the sentiments, but in the same breath wants to sign up for privates and camps. It's super frustrating because I can see how torn she is between seeing/hearing mom's negativity about something she loves and has a real talent for. I am hoping that a home school option is something that can mitigate most of this, so that DD can spend more time with DW during the week - but she is at a GREAT charter school, loves her teachers, and is running top of her class even helping her 13y/o sister with math homework, so I really want to wait until next year at the earliest - but I'm afraid that DW will poison the well too much before then. Anyone else go through something similar - any suggestions?
 
My DD is 9 and training for her 4th competitive season (competed L6) and her coach indicates she's on fire, picking up new skills and could compete L8 next season (after a mobility meet in the fall)... she lights up like it's Christmas morning every time she gets to the gym - its been her passion since her first day of rec. We've had coaches from other gyms (no salesmanship -as a guest gymnast while vacationing) indicate she could do very well in L10 or elite if she continues on... which has been DD's dream since she started. This isn't meant to be a brag post, but just setting the stage...

A few months ago DW started working for the first time in 16 years and is working 12hrs/day Sat and Sun... since then she has become increasingly vocal about not seeing DD often enough, and that it "isn't right for a 9 y/o to spend so much time in the gym". She takes her to practice late and encourages her to skip. DD has just started echoing the sentiments, but in the same breath wants to sign up for privates and camps. It's super frustrating because I can see how torn she is between seeing/hearing mom's negativity about something she loves and has a real talent for. I am hoping that a home school option is something that can mitigate most of this, so that DD can spend more time with DW during the week - but she is at a GREAT charter school, loves her teachers, and is running top of her class even helping her 13y/o sister with math homework, so I really want to wait until next year at the earliest - but I'm afraid that DW will poison the well too much before then. Anyone else go through something similar - any suggestions?

That's really a tough one. To continue on the path your dd is on, you really need a FULL family commitment. To have a gymnast looking at going elite, or even D1 college bound, having a talented hardworking gymnast is not enough. You also have to have a family that is 100% behind that gymnast and her goals. It sounds like you are ready to make that commitment and your DW is just not there yet. That doesn't mean she won't get there. But your dd is still young at 9 and your DW makes a very valid argument about such high hours at such a young age, as too much too soon can lead to burnout or injury. It sounds like you both have your dd's best interests at heart, just in different ways and your dd feels torn. I think the only way to resolve this is to have a family sit-down b/c truthfully your family dynamic and marriage is worth so much more than gymnastics. It may mean your dd may have to slow down a little for the next year or so, maybe not go straight to level 8, do L7 instead, do a little less hours, not a lot of extra privates, etc to ease your wife into this. I really think if your wife sees your dd's determination and success over the next year that she may come around to the higher hours, etc. But it really has to be a family decision with 100% of the family on board to make it work, and that means if your wife isn't on board yet, she might need more time before jumping in deeper. Using words like "poison" seems a little extreme and hopefully you wouldn't actually say that to her, b/c it sounds like she loves you all and just has some (valid) concerns about your dd doing so many hours at such a young age. Keeping my fingers crossed that with some time she will come around and it all works out even if that means some compromise in the beginning.
 
It's pretty hard to have it "all" with this sport. My husband and I work full time and have 3 kids. We chose to do the homeschool program. It was a decision we did not make lightly, but it has really been best overall for our quality of life. We get to see DD in the evening, she isn't exhausted, and she is able to balance school and gym pretty well. There is also time for fun and down time on the weekends.
I guess I am also thinking that going from not working for 16 years to working 12 hour days on the weekend is a huge adjustment, so I second kadybear's mom above that you and your wife need to hash this out together and find something that works for your family without DD in the middle.
 
It's pretty hard to have it "all" with this sport. My husband and I work full time and have 3 kids. We chose to do the homeschool program. It was a decision we did not make lightly, but it has really been best overall for our quality of life. We get to see DD in the evening, she isn't exhausted, and she is able to balance school and gym pretty well. There is also time for fun and down time on the weekends.

How old is (was?) your gymmie when you switched to homeschool. I already have a registered home school because our oldest had some issues with high school that made it a necessity, so I understand what it means to do it... and how much more parental commitment is needed for the younger kids (4th grade in our case). In NC we have an online school program that is somewhat of a hybrid... I don't know a lot about it yet, but I am hoping it could bring that same balance you see with your DD.
 
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She is 9 and will do level 7 next season. I was worried about the academics, but her test scores this year were great. I think it's a matter of finding or piecing together a good homeschool program. Hardest thing has been maintaining relationships with school friends, but it's do-able.
 
Um, you and DW are the adults so you should discuss and get on the same page to help your dd. Don't put her through this.

This! Any other solution is still secondary to you and dw working this out. The way she is expressing her displeasure is not okay in any situation. That needs addressing and then you two need to decide what to do about the family schedule.
 
Proud Dad, if my memory serves me correctly from your prior posts, this does not sound like it's the first time your wife has taken issue with your daughter's commitment to gymnastics. If I am wrong about that, my apologies. Nevertheless, this sounds like a domestic issue that needs to be resolved between you and your wife. It is vital the two of you work this out together for the sake of your relationship, your children, and your family.
 
This is just me thinking about things in general...

Did your wife WANT to go back to work? Or is it a situation where extra-curricular activities (gym/scouts or other types of fun stuff) have required an additional income?

Another benefit of lower/no hours at the gym could be that your wife would also be able to work less hours.

Short Stack is 10 and training 5/6. I will admit that I have had the thought that 16 hours a week in the gym is "too much" or "ruining her summer vacation". What made me more at peace with it was asking myself if someone had offered me, at age 10, the opportunity to be in a auditorium or theatre 16 hours a week singing/dancing and perhaps a dash of acting what would I have done. My honest answer? I would have jumped at the chance and reveled in every moment. Perhaps find out what your wife's passion was as a child and ask her if she would have been willing to put in the same amount of effort/hours to do it if she'd been given the opportunity to do so.

Ultimately, as said above, your family dynamic is FAR more important than gymnastics. You and your wife need to be on the same page. You may have dreams of L10 or elite for your daughter, but if those dreams aren't shared by the rest of family (even if she has the ability) there could be an increasing level of dissatisfaction and discord.
 
Hie thyself and DW to a good couples counselor now. You should not be making decisions about homeschooling based on adult desires to spend more/less time with a child. It sounds like you and DW are in very different places regarding not just gym but fundamental childrearing questions. It's hard to tell from what you've said how much may be attributable to work and comparative financial contributions to the family income.

Not to overpsychologize, but the danger here is that the child becomes the site for the adults to work out conflicts in their own relationship. I have friends who owned that teeshirt when we were in middle/high school, and it's not a good one. A good counselor can help you to tease out and identify the sources of conflict and develop ways of resolving them that will enable you to be on the same page with your daughter. An internet message board cannot solve this for you, but a counselor can greatly facilitate your communications with your wife so that you can solve it together.
 
Hie thyself and DW to a good couples counselor now. You should not be making decisions about homeschooling based on adult desires to spend more/less time with a child. It sounds like you and DW are in very different places regarding not just gym but fundamental childrearing questions. It's hard to tell from what you've said how much may be attributable to work and comparative financial contributions to the family income.

Not to overpsychologize, but the danger here is that the child becomes the site for the adults to work out conflicts in their own relationship. I have friends who owned that teeshirt when we were in middle/high school, and it's not a good one. A good counselor can help you to tease out and identify the sources of conflict and develop ways of resolving them that will enable you to be on the same page with your daughter. An internet message board cannot solve this for you, but a counselor can greatly facilitate your communications with your wife so that you can solve it together.
Agree x1000. Hopefully I did not come across as suggesting that homeschooling would be the magic fix for this situation. For our family, it was a good decision for a number of reasons, so I was just throwing it out as an option.
 
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I know of a terrible case where it ultimately resulted in divorce, and court orders for child not to be in gym......
Sort it out now. A few hours less or more! If she's good, she's good....regardless.......But a broken family can ruin her.
 
Any time a parent has a weekends only job it is going to take a huge toll on the family. Relationships between spouses and between the parent and children will typically suffer. Sounds like your wife is really struggling with that aspect of her new job. Personally I would not do that to my marriage or my children. Even if your dd slows down and quits gym she will likely wind up in other activities. School, sports, friends, etc will all pull at her after school time - just the same as gymnastics. it will just be numerous things pulling at her time, rather than 1 thing.

You and your DW have to get on the same page and figure the new job/relationship issues in order to make gymnastics work for the whole family. This might include finding a different job since this one doesn't allow her time to see her child.
 
You and your wife need to be on the same page..............

First thing. Hours could be a compromise........... as in yes she could still end up at a high level, it might take a little more time to get there. And that will work itself out.

I assume when you say 12 hrs on Sat and Sun you mean 12 hours each day on both Sat and Sun. So most of my post is based on that assumption. Regarding the work-home life balance/situation,

I am speaking as someone who does 12 hour shifts and on the overnights as well. So the italics is about 12 hour shifts if that is not your situation please ignore.
I did them full time for a bit, as in 3/12s a week. It however required 2 full weekends out of every 5 weeks. By full I mean Fri-Sat 12, Sat-Sun 12, and Sun-Mon 12. Great in theory plenty of time to do school things, time during the week to get her to gym and any where else, time to help with homework. I hated it. My daughter hated it. My husband hated it. It was an ideal situation if you are divorced and share custody, but we are not and don't want to be.

My husband and I don't parent the same way, but as a team it works. One on, one off really wasn't good for any of us, especially our daughter.

And reality check here, when you work 24-36 hours of your weekend, even if your daughter was home, your wife would still be missing a lot. That is not because of gym, that is because of hours worked, add in sleep, time to prep for work, travel to work, if you are church goers. Really there isn't a lot of time left. And 9 yr olds have lives too, if not gym there would be other things, or would she be expected to stay home?


Now I don't know your situations and family dynamics but whether your wife is doing 24 hours or 12 hours on the weekend she needs to make peace with that and if she can't and you all can change it then do that. From the little you have shared, it seems she is resenting working or working on the weekend and that resentment is being placed on gymnastics. Another thought to condsider, mother and daughter thing. Her baby girl is growing up and stretching her wings, and it is hard thing for Moms. But us Moms are the grown ups so we need to make peace with our babies growing up.

For our family, I have to work, fortunate not to need full time. I work in health care so no shift work, no weekends, no holidays is nearly impossible. But I left my full time position. I now work perdiem at 2 hospitals to get the hours I need financially and limit my weekends and holidays. Its not perfect but it works for now.

The reality is whatever this is about the gymnastics is probably the least of it. JMO
 
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I can understand why you are frustrated if your wife is encouraging your dd to miss practices or be late regularly. I agree with the others you and she really need to be on the same page as to your families expectations and it's not fair for your dd to be caught in the middle. It really sounds like your wife is missing your daughter and maybe having a hard time with the changes related to her new job and your dd's increasing hours (I'm guessing they increased?)

I do think that she has a point about doing a ton of hours at a really young age though.. I know that it's something I'm not that comfortable with personally and I am happy that my dd is not on any kind of fast track at this point. Maybe she is looking into the not too distant future and realizing what the impact will be to the family a year or two from now. If she is level 8 at 9 years old and already spending xx numbers at the gym (I'm not sure how many hours she is there), then how many will she be there when she is 10? 11? 12? Also, when you are talking about college and elite potential at a young age, that would require a lot of changes that she might not be comfortable with. There really aren't any gyms in our area that are training elite (although I have heard rumors about one that is starting or trying to get into it) and I don't think your gym has that many level 10's or college gymnasts coming out of it either. Have you talked about moving for your dd's gymnastics? And then talking about taking your dd out of school and home schooling for gymnastics.. I guess I'm just saying I could see why she would be concerned about your dd's fast progress and future potential and might have a lot of worries. I'm not saying that is fair to your dd though. I just think you really need to sit down your wife and listen to her concerns and then figure out a unified approach.

Good luck!
 
How old is (was?) your gymmie when you switched to homeschool. I already have a registered home school because our oldest had some issues with high school that made it a necessity, so I understand what it means to do it... and how much more parental commitment is needed for the younger kids (4th grade in our case). In NC we have an online school program that is somewhat of a hybrid... I don't know a lot about it yet, but I am hoping it could bring that same balance you see with your DD.
The other posters have given great input regarding your original issue. I just wanted to touch on the above. If you have any questions regarding the online school, feel free to send a private message. We have been very pleased with our choice. We were previous homeschoolers as well and can answer questions for that. But as others said - first priority is to get on the same page with your wife. This is not goo for your dd to be in the middle of it.
 
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My DD is 9 and training for her 4th competitive season (competed L6) and her coach indicates she's on fire, picking up new skills and could compete L8 next season (after a mobility meet in the fall)... she lights up like it's Christmas morning every time she gets to the gym - its been her passion since her first day of rec. We've had coaches from other gyms (no salesmanship -as a guest gymnast while vacationing) indicate she could do very well in L10 or elite if she continues on... which has been DD's dream since she started. This isn't meant to be a brag post, but just setting the stage...

A few months ago DW started working for the first time in 16 years and is working 12hrs/day Sat and Sun... since then she has become increasingly vocal about not seeing DD often enough, and that it "isn't right for a 9 y/o to spend so much time in the gym". She takes her to practice late and encourages her to skip. DD has just started echoing the sentiments, but in the same breath wants to sign up for privates and camps. It's super frustrating because I can see how torn she is between seeing/hearing mom's negativity about something she loves and has a real talent for. I am hoping that a home school option is something that can mitigate most of this, so that DD can spend more time with DW during the week - but she is at a GREAT charter school, loves her teachers, and is running top of her class even helping her 13y/o sister with math homework, so I really want to wait until next year at the earliest - but I'm afraid that DW will poison the well too much before then. Anyone else go through something similar - any suggestions?

You have received some great advice about seeking family therapy and you and wife getting on the same page.
There is an additional possibility that you may need to step back and consider...I am wondering if there is a small part of you that fears that dd's passion may not be strong enough to take her all the way? I highlighted the things that stuck out to me...
1. How often do you take her to gym currently (as in this summer?) You say she lights up when she gets to the gym, but also say that DW brings her late, have you personally observed dd lighting up on a regular basis when she gets to the gym this summer?
2. Pretty much every little 5 or 6 year old dreams of the Olympics because that's all they really know...the elite dream is a parent dream not a kid dream at age 6 as they have NO idea what work it takes to be an Elite gymnast.
3. Has DD had a break from gym this summer, a vacation or days off? When mom encourages her to skip, does she and how often is this happening? Is dd complaining about going late or missing or does she seem okay with it? Are you sure this is driven from your wife, or is it possible your wife recognizes something in your daughter and believes some rest time is in order?
4 What sentiments is dd echoing? Is it possible she is feeling a little bit like it is too much? (The fact that she talks about camps and privates is not indicative that she is loving going to practice as camps are much different focus). Does DD say 'gee I wish I had more practice hours??'
5. As far as DW 'poisoning the well' .... A kid that has the passion and drive to go elite or even all the way through to college is not going to have that passion diminished that easily....the passion has to be an internal thing driven from within...that being said, if dd doesn't have that passion, there is also nothing you can say or do to increase that passion, but, as others have said, dd does not need to be in the middle of this conflict between you and your wife.
I think as parents it can be incredibly exciting to have a child with incredible talent, but it can also be very difficult to let them take the lead in how much they put into it. At age 9 and competing optionals burnout is a very big and real risk and it the number one thing that keeps young talented girls from making it through high school to college.
 
Hmmm. Your wife is working 12-hour days all weekend, every weekend, and is unhappy about it and your first concern is your child's gymnastics?

Signed, A working mom with a demanding schedule and insane travel requirements who can only deal with it because her husband supports her 100%
 
Gymnastics is not an easy road for families. This is especially true for families of aspiring elites. The time, financial and emotional committment is not something that can be brushed aside in the hope that the family will eventually get on board. Last night, I happened upon a page on the USAG site said there are over 68000 competitive female gymnasts in the US and only 79 (although I think even this number could be argued) elites. It is a long and highly unlikely road for any gymnast regardless of what a coach says about a 9 year old.

I work 12 hour shifts and have been for years. It took me and my family almost a year to adjust to my schedule and the stress of it still flares up now and again. It was especially difficult early on because I was a new nurse with a family, which came with its own stressors. There is a possibility every shift that I could make a mistake the could kill a patient and when I was new, that weighed very heavy on me and affected my life in and out of the hospital. I often feel left out of my family's recreational time and have to make a significant effort to make sure that that does not become a problem for the family. Sometimes that means that DD misses a practice now and again. I couldn't do my job without a huge amount of understanding and support from my family.

I think that you and your wife need some time to talk about adjusting to her new job. Figure out what is working and what is not. Your marriage and your wife's place in the family need to be strong in order to support the aspirations of a high level athlete. Ultimately, you have to think about whether the chances of elite are worth the potential strain. A 9 year old Level 6 is certainly on the young end of the spectrum, but not unheard of. My DD's gym is really only a 2nd tier gym (there are 3 bonafide elite gyms within 2 hours of us and those Child A and B divisions are sometimes crazy conpetitive, so I mean no disrespect to my DD's gym), but we have one 9 year old who will likely compete L7 this year and 2 girls who competed 6 at nine in the past couple of years. There are only a few gyms that can train elite. Are you willing to uproot the family if need be?

The decision to homeschool for gymnastics is a big decision. Does your wife support this? Will she be a primary educator? Would you remove your DD from her school if it werent for gym? If you knew now that your DD would lose interest, have a career ending injury, slow her advancement, etc. and not make it past say L8, would you still make the decision to homeschool?

I know this was a lot of rsmbling thoughts. It just struck a little bit of a nerve that your wife has embarked on a new and difficult journey of her own and her needs seem to be discounted and a lot of blame being attached to her. I hope you are able to work together to advance your DD's gymnastics career without putting undue strain on your family and marriage.
 
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