Ask the Inspiring Mom

Q: I am a mother of three children. All of my children are involved in some form of sporting activity. My oldest child is on a competitive girls’ softball tournament team, which only competes on weekends. My husband and I have a very strong religious faith, and we educate our children on this faith at home and also during the Sunday morning religious education program through our church. I am finding it more and more difficult trying to balance the Sunday morning religious education classes with the commitment made to a tournament team. Sundays are, in many cases, the grand finale of the weekend sporting event, and many times they rely on her participation because she is a key player. How do I balance all my commitments and show the children follow-through?

– Michele, Bucyrus, Kan.

A: First off, how wonderful that you place such value on commitment, whether it is to your faith or extracurricular activities.

One of your greatest responsibilities as a parent is to raise healthy kids. I view healthy as more than eating right and exercising, although those are also critical pieces to our kids’ success. Healthy also includes raising kids with strong moral fiber, integrity, work ethic and responsibility. To many of us moms, healthy also includes our faith.

So often, we rely on our schools, clubs and places of worship to teach our kids and overlook how important we are as our kids’ first and most important teacher. We are their most powerful role models. Our kids tend to to what we do, not what we say. Your decision here will send a powerful message on priorities.

There are a number of healthy aspects to sports and raising healthy kids. Sports contribute to a healthy life style, accountability, leadership skills, teamwork, fairness and the list goes on. A strong faith develops humility, goodness, love, charity, service and the list goes on.

Your decision is a personal one and one that only you can make. It is a your job as a mom to develop a healthy child based upon your family’s beliefs, not your neighbor’s, sister’s, or best friend’s.

This is when motherhood gets tough (as if it wasn’t tough enough)! It is time to establish an important boundary and be consistent. Your boundary is the new rule with few, if any, exceptions. Draw your line in the sand, and own it.

Ask yourself the following questions:

• What is the priority to you?

• Does your partner agree and will you be a united front?

• What do you want to role model for your kids?

• What do you want your kids to value most?

Once you establish limits and boundaries, the dynamics of your life will change. Your kids’ friends may change because of it, yet friends come and go and dear ones never leave you. Coaches may change because of it, yet coaches come and go and the lessons learned will never leave you. Your kids will change because of it, and that’s exactly the point! When you walk the walk of your belief system, it becomes ingrained and a part of your child’s moral fiber and their internal compass.

My advice to you is to share your desire to prioritize religious education with your coach. Explain your dilemma and your beliefs. Ask him if he can accommodate your wishes. I do believe that you have a commitment to finish out this season. Going forward, however, you need to find a team that understands your priorities. Your loyalty lies with your first team, which is your family. Your commitment starts there. When there is a conflict with religious education and/or worship, she will not be able to play. This choice might mean that she won’t play like she used to or she loses her place at bat, but is that more important than prioritizing your faith? Keep looking for the perfect fit of a team until you find one that respects your wishes and allows your daughter to enjoy the benefits of sports and those of a strong faith. I’ll bet you find one!

Good luck! Whatever your choice, own it and feel good about it. Your commitment to motherhood is truly wonderful.

Amy Hilbrich Davis is a mother of seven, mom and family expert and founder of Inspiring Moms, a step-by-step program to empower moms with the strategies and tools to create balance, while raising happier and healthier families. For more information, call (913) 400-2232 or visit

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