You read that right. Here's a list of things you've always wanted to do—and now have permission.
Maybe it's just me, but our lives are pretty focused on sports. We're either headed to a track meet or just finished a soccer game. Whatever the sport, we're in. We're all in. We pack up the entire family to cheer on one another.
I've noticed that parents approach sitting in the stands or on the sidelines differently. Some are yellers while others cheer for everyone — including members of the other team. Still, others have a bag (and a backup bag) full of snacks for the family, those sitting near, and really anyone who looks remotely hungry.
Since we navigate sporting events differently, I vote that we respect all parents and spectators as they choose their activity during the game. They don't know what you have navigated just to be present. And you don't know what is weighing on their minds.
Parents, it's okay to consider one (or many) of these activities to do during your child's game.
Catch up on work.
Yep, I said it. You can bring work with you to your child's game. It's a sacrifice many working parents make to just be in attendance at the game. You can often catch many (if not all) highlights by simply looking up occasionally. Bring a small project with you and catch up on a few details. Of course, you can choose to work during the entire game or a portion of the game.
Read a book.
There are few moments without someone needing something from you. Just like while catching up on work, you can catch a play or two of the game between chapters of your book. Don't feel guilty bringing a good book for you to dive in as your child is playing his or her heart out.
Chat with friends.
We need fellow parents in our lives. Take the time to get to know the other parents at the event. Share what you love about your own child, and be sure to ask engaging questions about the other children. If you already know each other well, check in on how their spouse's job search is going or the latest update on the home improvement project.
Snack on all things unhealthy.
We all know to eat our five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And we can respect the all-organic, granola-carting parents. At an occasional game, treat yourself to your favorite snack that you don't have often. Some events will have a concession stand where you can enjoy a snow cone reminiscent of your childhood or a bag of Cheetos that turn your fingers orange.
Watch the game.
This is a viable idea! Take the opportunity to turn off your phone and ignore your to-do list. Watch every play. Cheer on every player. Suck in a breath as your child attempts a goal. And smile as you're soaking up this memory to last you a lifetime.
Take pictures (of other players, too).
I personally have thousands of pictures of basically the same shot (just different events). Of course, it's okay to put your phone (or actual camera) away, though there are events where you enjoy capturing the unforgettable moments and faces of determination. Be sure to snap pics of other players, too. This is especially important for the parent who couldn't get away from the office or who is tending to another family member. Text the shots to the parent to let her see her child in action.
Look for the parent sitting alone.
We all need friends, and there's always a parent sitting alone. Some might choose to be alone (see the very next idea!), but many are sitting alone because they don't know others well or are shy. Take the initiative to invite yourself over and begin a conversation. Chances are, you'll make the other parent's day.
Take a nap.
This idea requires a good pair of sunglasses. Tilt your head back a bit (but not too far!) and enjoy resting your eyes as you let the cares of the day fall away. Your child is doing well and has a coach looking out for them. You're off the clock for a bit, and you can rest.
Catch up on correspondence.
How many unanswered texts do I have currently? I dare not count. Take the time during the game to respond to some older texts and keep up with your social life. Though, please don't be that parent talking on the phone throughout the entire game. No one wants to hear your outside voice for that long. If you must take a call, step aside out of earshot as to not disturb the other spectators.
Chat with family.
As I said, we make sporting events a family affair. Whether it's a spouse, a child, or a small family group, enjoy talking about the day and how the week is going. What has brought them joy? What are they stressed about? What would they like for dinner?
Whatever you choose, be sure to choose what is best for you. We're all tempted to say things like, "Well, I should ..." But, don't should on yourself! Embrace the day—the game. Before you know it, filling your schedule with sporting events will be a thing of the past.
What have you done during your child's game? Share your fun and life-giving ideas in the comments.