Score two for Mom

by Kate Fineske on April 5, 2012 · 6 comments

“You never make any of the shots you never take.”

~ Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

Playing BasketballMy son, attempting to slam dunk in his makeshift bedroom “court.”

“Score! Two Points! And the crowd goes wild!” I can hear my son announce after taking a shot with his basketball.

My son is nearly 6-years-old and recently discovered a passion for the sport of basketball. Just watching his excitement, enthusiasm and genuine joy whenever he is able to have a second to play this sport puts a smile on my face. There is an obvious difference in him when he is able to play basketball versus any of his other extracurricular activities.

And in watching him play this sport the other day, I made a significant personal discovery… if my son is noticeably happier when he is doing something he is passionate about … maybe I am too?

Guilt – Life’s Foul Play

This discovery hit me hard – like a ton of bricks actually. Because I have spent a good part of motherhood feeling guilty when I’ve occasionally taken time away from my family to do something I enjoy or am passionate about.

We’ve all met guilt. We all know how “pushy” guilt can be and how unfairly it can interfere with our day – helping you to quickly “lose control of life’s ball.” In the sport of basketball we’d call that a foul… (or maybe unsportmanlike conduct?)

Yet I’ve noticed that guilt does way more then just interfere with my life. Guilt can stop me dead in my tracks. It can block me from reaching my potential and interrupt me from making important life plays.

Come to think of it, all guilt has ever done is put me on the defensive and allowed me to fail.
And looking at it from that perspective, I realize that guilt – really just needs to be benched.

Life’s too short to let guilt have that much control over me, so consider “guilt” officially benched.
(Score two points for mom!)

Mommy Burnout

Parents always talk about raising well-rounded children, but how can we teach our kids well-roundedness without also being well rounded ourselves?

Just as my son has found a passion for basketball, when I was young I discovered a love for the sport of diving. In the beginning my passion for diving trumped everything – but what I found is that my passion became an obsession that eventually burnt me out.

Focus can be a good thing, but when it isn’t balanced sometimes it causes burnout.

Looking back I now see that I began attacking motherhood in the same way in which I approached the sport of diving. Because for a while, I’ll admit, that I was feeling rather “burnt out” as a mom.

Opportunity – Life’s Cheerleader

So now I am taking a new approach to help avoid mommy “burn out” – I am getting off the bench and back into the game by diversifying my experiences and putting more focus on my passions – all of them, not just motherhood.

Years ago, as a new mom, I might have seen these opportunities to travel and pursue my passions as impractical. I might have considered the women who got these opportunities to be fortunate and have thought – maybe someday…

It seems what I failed to notice as a new parent is that motherhood doesn’t have to be my only passion.

In fact for years, opportunity had been cheering at my court’s sidelines and I had been rudely ignoring its persistent chants. Instead, just looking ahead to someday…

So someday is now.

(Slam Dunk.
And the crowd goes wild!)

Leave a Comment. What are you passionate about? Do you let your guilt sometimes limit your passions and potential?


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I am a staff member of the National Association of Mothers' Centers and a longtime member of the Mothers' Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. My husband and I are busy raising 3 children ages 4-11. I have a professional background as a graphic designer in the creative and education industry. Since 2005, I have been using my professional skills by actively volunteering with the Mothers' Center of Greater Toledo in various leadership positions.
Kate Fineske
View all posts by Kate Fineske
Kate's website

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Luke April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Moral I get from your story: this is why community is so important! Together you can fight the enemy that is guilt. You can forge new paths for one another, discover new passions that can save you from old ways of living and behaving. Whether these communities are online, friends you’ve known all your life, or faith ones, it doesn’t matter. Find ‘em, get involved, and share your story.

Great post!


Kate Fineske April 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm

What a great way to sum up the post Luke! My kids have definitely paved the way for me to forge new paths and discover new passions. I am so glad I remember (most of the time!) to take the time to learn from them – because as much as I hope to teach my own kids, that is how much – if not more – that they continue to also teach me.


Pamela April 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Kate, I love it! I agree that focusing single-mindedly on a passion can burn one out a bit. I think I’m experiencing that with my writing right now (both the guilt for the time it takes, then the burnout for that being the only thing I do besides mothering). Thanks for putting that struggle into words. Tonight is my night off and I’m trying to figure out where to spend my energy besides home or writing. We’ll see where the evening takes me! I’m glad that you’ve pushed aside some of that guilt to do some great things for yourself and that we have an opportunity to read your writing because of it!


Kate Fineske April 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Enjoy your night off! I am sure it is much needed. Sometimes the guilt does get overwhelming… but then, I remind myself to put things in perspective. Our kids really do model everything we do (at least that is what I truly believe) and I try to continually remind myself: do I really want to model to them that one should ignore the things they are passionate about? Balance is a tricky thing… and it is always about finding the mix that works best for you.


Adrienne April 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm

What an inspiring post!


Kate Fineske April 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Thank you! So happy to share it and to know you enjoyed it.


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