Two weeks ago I was sitting with my daughter Paris at the Barnes & Noble coffee shop. We were looking through books and casually talking over a bowl of chili. Killing some time before going to gymnastics, Paris looked up at me and said, “I wish I didn’t have to go to gym today.”

How many times has Paris said this to me over the past two years?

How often have I listened?

This time, I heard her and replied, “How about we don’t go back?”

I thought Paris was going to pass out. She looked at me and said, “Really mommy?” While I felt pangs in the pit of my stomach, something told me this was the right thing to do. The truth is Paris had not enjoyed gymnastics for a long time. I’ll go so far as to say it stole a little bit of her girl- piece- by- piece. It had started to chip away at her confidence, joy and happiness and I stood idly by. Year after year she stayed on the team and when prompted as to why she stayed, Paris responded, “I’m not a quitter.”

Interesting…It wasn’t because she loved it but due to the pressure of “Not being a quitter.” Reflecting on her time as a gymnast, I did see a drastic change. What started as something fun to do in her spare time turned into a part time job- friends became competitors, giggles during practice turned to silence and joy turned to a daily grind. It was no longer about developing skills and taking on new challenges; it was about winning. So this time I followed my gut and with six simple words, “How about we don’t go back?” freed my daughter.

Did I do The Right Thing?

I’m not going to say I didn’t feel sick to my stomach and sad for a week or so because I did. This was our life. Paris was at the gym three hours a day, four days a week; after a long day at school. Then she had to do hours of homework, sometimes not getting to bed until 10 pm.

As time passed and I began to process our decision, I felt elated. By allowing Paris the freedom to make her own choice I realized she would be able to explore new things and tap into her true gifts and talents. She became excited about trying a dance class, tumbling clinic, an art class, French tutoring and girl scouts with her friends. Paris started riding the bus home after school instead of heading straight to the gym and we were able to spend quality time with her, as a family. She became more excited about school projects and even homework!

As I watched Paris I felt “freedom” ooze out of her. I can’t even explain the emotion. It was like a new beginning, with opportunities everywhere. For the first time in years, she was free.  So here’s what I will confess- I loved watching Paris do gymnastics…something about seeing her run across the floor doing a back hand spring- back tuck reminded me of…well, me. I was a cheerleader who learned to tumble in high school and credit cheerleading with saving my life- literally (that’s another blog!). Could it be that I was somehow living through her?

Never a competitive mom, I always encouraged Paris to have fun and do her best. Yet I wonder, had she been doing gymnastics for me? Was she afraid I would think she was a quitter if she left? Was she spending her free time in a sport we chose for her because she didn’t want to let me down? Rarely complaining, going through the motions day after day, year after year, Paris continued on…until I opened the door to her cage and released her.

This experience has taught me a lot. It’s so important to stop and evaluate life and to have the courage to change direction when the current one stops working. Failure to do so will slowly steal your girl- the one who is inspired, happy and joyful.

What do you need to change in your own life? What about the lives of your children? While change is never easy, the truth is- you can’t grow by remaining what you are. Rather than be afraid of what you might lose, get inspired by what you just might gain.

Written by Traci Bild- Author, Speaker & Entrepreneur. Get a FREE Get Your Girl Back Dream Journal and spend some time off-line filling the pages with the images of what you hope to do in your relationship or marriage in the next year or decade! Go to www.GYGB.com for an instant download.

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Paris on bars- Being a champion is about ability and character, both must be built.

Paris on bars- Being a champion is about ability and character, both must be built.

Sharing the story of what happened to my ten year old daughter Paris last week on my blog, http://bit.ly/1djkyGQ was really difficult. It’s not always easy to open up and share your wounds with other people. Yet it seems that her experience resonated with our readers in a powerful way. I’ve had many questions from wonderful people about “the rest of the story,” so here it is.

If you have not read the blog yet, please do so now http://bit.ly/1djkyGQ and then come back to this one.

In response to Paris’s experience at gymnastics, I scheduled an appointment to go in and talk with her coach. However, I would not be doing the talking, Paris would. Dave and I asked the coach to sit down with Paris and explain to her personally what was going on. When we picked Paris up from school she asked why both Dave and I were in the car and why we were going to the gym with her. We responded that she had an appointment with her coach and that we were simply there to support her. That she needed to find out why she was being yanked from her team workout, ask as many questions as she had, and decide what she wanted to do going forward. This was her deal, not ours. The important lesson we wanted to impart, no matter how hard it was on our hearts was that as a girl of ten, she needed to start handling her own problems and learn how to resolve them, communicate and process her emotions versus daddy and I swooping in to save her!

The Truth Hurts…

While very difficult to admit, her coach was probably correct in moving Paris to another group. Coming from a different gym two years ago, with different methods, Paris was still catching up at this elite gym. Loving gymnastics for the sport, not the competition, she was falling behind in comparison to the girls “there to win.” The coach explained everything and apologized for the way she informed Paris, in front of her peers-that she would no longer be part of the group.

I asked Paris, who was devastated just a day prior, what she wanted to do. Her options were to quit, move to a different gym, go into a group that was not competitive or press forward and show people what she was made of and fight to get back into the group she loves. She chose to stay right where she was, in the group her coach moved her to. I was so proud of her. Through my pain as a mom, watching my little girl face the trials of growing up, I prayed she would make this choice. We’ve faced tough things before and I’ve tried to make sure she knows that it is not what happens in life but how you respond to what happens that matters.

On a Mission…

The night we got home from the gym, Paris moved her balance beam up from the garage to the living room. Is this love or what? I now have a floor level beam in my living room and a gymnast on it around the clock. Yet I know this time will pass… and if this is what it takes to show our love and support, we’ll keep that darn balance beam in the living room for as long as it takes.

The next six months will be hard for Paris, she will feel many emotions as she watches her best friends all work out together four days a week while she is in a group with girls she doesn’t know. She will deal with her humiliation, feelings of inadequacies, (perceived) failure and embarrassment. Yet those emotions, I have a strong feeling, will begin to build a new part of her character, strengthen her resolve to prove she is capable and just might produce a champion who  was lying within; waiting to be awoken!

What I Learned….God Help Me!

As a mom it was so hard to not jump in and fix this problem for Paris. I was literally screaming and crying inside, having never seen her in that emotional state before I wanted to go into the gym and demand they put her back into her regular team practice group, with her teammates that she loved- tell them they were wrong, or had made a mistake. Yet in my heart, I knew this would not prepare her for the world. So moms, when the going gets tough and you face a moment like we did, which you will, remember this story, reach out to us for support, and know that a caterpillar cannot become a butterfly if a person helps it break out of its cocoon. It must struggle and fight to get out and in doing so its wings strengthen; which in turn allows it to fly. If you want your child to fly, you must let her (or him) struggle to grow her wings.

If you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up at http://bit.ly/1j2ol3s.  If you’re reading this post through the daily email and want to become an Ambassador for Get Your Girl Back, where I’ll ask for help from you from time to time, email me at Traci@GYGB.com and I’ll share what we are up to.

Written by Traci Bild, Founder of the Get Your Girl Back movement & expert on Women’s Issues

 

 

 

 

  


I've always loved to play dress up!

I’ve always loved to play dress up!

It’s Friday and in my effort to keep my girl, I’m sailing off to Tampa tomorrow to become a wench pirate for the weekend as Dave and I dive into the fun of Gasparilla.  We have done this event for close to a decade and it’s one of my favorite weekends of the year. We will get on our boat Endurance in the morning and head off to Tampa from Clearwater, which takes about four hours. During the trip I will read, day dream, sleep, glimpse dolphins, take in Dave as he captains away, and smell the sea salt as it drifts through the air.

We will dock up behind the Marriott for a weekend of fun. To gain passage onto our boat you must be in full pirate dress and ready to enter another place and time. We will spend all day Saturday on deck entertaining pirates, throwing beads, eating, talking, laughing, dancing and having plain old fashioned FUN! My girl loves this event! As long as I can remember I have loved to get dressed up and pretend I’m someone else- Check out my picture from last year, ha!

A World That Never Stops

In a world that never stops…where there is so much to do that at times we forget to breathe, you must make time for fun. If your weekends are packed with non-stop activities, and it’s not really like a weekend, then consider making a change. You must find time to relax, decompress and just be. If you don’t have downtime, you will forget to laugh, cry, play, and be a girl. You cannot just do, do and do. So ask yourself right now, “When was the last time you simply had fun? When did you last do nothing? If you had a day or two free, what would YOU do with it?”

A big reason women lose their girl is because the woman buries her in responsibility! Every hour on the family calendar is crammed with something to do, some place to go…a sporting event, tutoring session, lesson of some sort, it never ends. Did you have a calendar like this as a child? Stop to think…your mother might have worked all day while you were in school but she could come HOME after work, relax a little bit with the family, watch some television, tend to a hobby, and eat dinner with the family. Moms today don’t have the luxury. They are at work all day and at kid type events all night only to run home, have an hour to clean up, do some laundry, and drop into bed and hit REPLAY all over again six to eight hours later! This is no way to live and you will not be able to sustain it forever. The price is too high: Anxiety, exhaustion, frustration, depression, anger, lack of connection with your partner, and more.

So just for today, FRIDAY and maybe even for tomorrow, SATURDAY, cut yourself some slack. Relax, have some downtime and DO NOT feel guilty. Give yourself the gift of free time, connection, laughter, joy and freedom. Come Monday, ponder if just perhaps you can reconsider your schedule, take control and modify it a bit to allow time to LIVE.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email and want to become an Ambassador for Get Your Girl Back, where I’ll ask for help from you from time to time, email me at Traci@GYGB.com and I’ll share what we are up to. If you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up at https://gygb.com/category/blog/ and see what we’re working on how it can help you!

 

Written by Traci Bild, Founder of the Get Your Girl Back movement

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