Do you have days where you feel like you are barely hanging in there? This week has been one of those weeks. As it comes to the end, I’m still catching my breath and wondering how I am surviving. I’ve been pulled in so many different ways by each of the boys, and I’m trying to make sure that they all get what they need from me. And a lot of times, it feels like there isn’t enough of me to go around. It got me wondering about what exactly are the sweet rewards of a mom’s life. It definitely isn’t the effusive thanks and words of appreciation, nor is it the obedient children who clean up after themselves— at least in my house. However, motherhood has to have some sweet rewards, else so many of us wouldn’t be willing to throw ourselves into it.
You see, this week the Big One has been trying out for AAU Basketball. Have you heard of AAU Basketball? Sometimes called “Travel Ball?” No? Well, neither had I until he started playing basketball about three years ago. The Big One was supposed to start AAU last year; however, with the Peanut’s arrival at the beginning of tryout season, we put off transitioning him into “Travel Ball” until this year.
So about a month ago, we jumped in to the AAU tryout process whole hog. The Mellow Man would like all of the readers here to know that I always jump into everything whole hog, and with great gusto. And I learned that this is a lot like applying to college, but way less organized.
I solicited advice from all of the experienced coaches and parents I knew. I took notes.
Then I visited the internet, and tried to find teams that were having tryouts, and had teams for his age division, and we could actually get to, and didn’t mean that we were flying all of the country each weekend (yes, that is a thing!). My planner got filled with dates, times and locations of various events that we needed to attend.
We were told that we needed to cast a wide net because we needed to get a feel for different styles of coaching, of team parents, of kids. One parent warned me that this whole process was very cutthroat, and not to be disappointed if we didn’t get any offers. We needed to make sure that we had some “safety” teams.
About 10 days ago, we made a list of 10 teams each with tryouts that were either in the evenings, or over the weekends. This week, the Big One, with the Monkey and the Peanut in tow, attended 6 tryouts. This was in addition to his daily middle school team basketball practice, his conditioning and two middle school games.
We spent our entire week going to and from basketball games. The Big One was exhausted. I was exhausted. We were both overwhelmed and confused. And the little kids were under the weather, and not sleeping well. I thought I was crazy for putting us through all of this. For encouraging this passion in my Big One.
My tank was on empty. And then this amazing thing happened. Coaches started coming up to me, and telling me what a great kid I had. That he had a good attitude and was respectful. That he listened well. That he was great at ball handling and shooting and they’d love to have him on their team. And I was so proud. I felt so rewarded for all of the hard work I’ve watched my Big One put in, and all of the time I’ve spent rushing and schlepping and running hither and thither. There was my first reward.
However, my sweet reward came during a tryout in the middle of the week. That kiddo of mine, the one who has abilities that he sure didn’t get from me, and leaves me in constant awe, had a perfect practice. He made every shot, he got every rebound, and he was shining. And the success didn’t really matter to me. What mattered to me was the pride and joy on the Big One’s face. How happy he was, and how confident he was— that was the sweet reward of this mom’s week. And I knew that this week of exhaustion was entirely worth it. Just for that smile and that pride bursting from my son on the court.
Speaking of Sweet Rewards, I want to tell you about another challenge that I face as a mom on the go— eating. I’ve been starving all week. I have been driving all over the city of Atlanta, from one pick-up to the next. And I’ve been hungry. This week, I picked up a different kind of Sweet Reward from Better Crocker for when my mom energy tank is running low. They have these new yummy cookie bars that are perfect to slip into a purse. My biggest problem has been finding a few moments to enjoy them without the Littles seeing them.
The reality is that all moms deserve some treats and rewards for all of the work that we put in. Here’s a coupon for $0.50 off a box of Sweet Rewards Bars, and what’s more, here’s a Giveaway to enter to win $25 towards finding your own Sweet Rewards as a mom!
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