Score One for Mom (Learning to Kick Fear to the Curb)

by Kate Fineske on January 7, 2014 · 9 comments

Have you ever noticed that parenthood has a way of magnifying our own individual fears and shortcomings? Especially when we see our own anxieties mirrored through our child’s actions. As parents, above and beyond all else, we want what is best for our kids, and sometimes in order to model what’s best—we have to kick our fears to the curb.

The following is one mom’s tale of how she did just that…

Teresa and Gracie

Score One for Mom

A guest post by Teresa McCarthy

I was the kid who stayed far away from team sports.

To be more exact, I was the kid who took “special gym”. Nowadays, I’m sure there would be a more politically correct term like “OT” or “Character Development”, but back in 1981 I was known as: the girl in special gym. I was pulled out of first grade academics to have dodge balls thrown at me by the gym teacher (supposedly) to improve my hand/eye coordination.

The fact that I was not athletic nor very coordinated has stuck with me for most of my life.

Since elementary school gym I’m happy to report that I’ve excelled in many other facets of my life. I’ve also managed to participate in many physical activities, yet only as a solo act (i.e. bowling, horse-back riding, hiking, kayaking & yoga). Why? I felt I knew my limits.

The truth is, I was too afraid to join a team—even if only recreational—because I didn’t want to let anyone down with my inabilities. I still thought of myself as “the girl in special gym.”

That is, until I saw myself reflected through the eyes of my daughter.

When my oldest daughter Gracie was 4, some of her friends began playing soccer and joining little league teams. Again and again I would ask Gracie if she wanted to participate, but her answer was always, “No. I just like to dance by myself Mommy.”

Whoosh! Just like that, all of my own insecurities came rushing back.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (I thought). Gracie was avoiding team sports just as I always had. The thing is, modeling a healthy lifestyle for Gracie (who is now 7) and her younger sister Anna (currently 4) is of the utmost importance to me. I began to understand that maybe I might have to stretch out of my comfort zone in order for Gracie to consider stretching beyond hers…

For better or worse, I decided to join the Spicy Cajones.

As absurd as it may sound, I joined an adult woman’s kickball league. Although, I had a few friends already on the team, the majority of women were strangers to me. I was a nervous wreck as I walked into my 1st practice. I discovered very quickly that some ladies take kickball pretty seriously! Yet miraculously I found a group of super encouraging women who can find the fun in any game—win or lose.

Most people recognize our team is the “Bad News Bears” of women’s kickball. I’m not exaggerating, we lose every game! (However, we did tie once!) After two seasons we’ve (slightly) improved, yet win or lose we get out there and play.

We play every. single. game with gusto.

My daughters watch me make a fool of myself.
They cheer me on when I miraculously make it to first base or when I catch the ball.
(They see me whiff and drop the ball plenty too!)
They root me on and tell me over (and over) that they still love me when we lose.

More than anything else, what I love is that they see Mommy being a part of a team. They see me as someone who doesn’t have to be perfect at everything I do. They see me trying and smiling, win or lose.

A far cry from my days of “special gym.”
Score one for mom (and hopefully for my daughter Gracie too).

Leave a Comment: Have you ever faced a fear head on after seeing your own anxieties reflected in your child? Please help us give a warm welcome to Teresa McCarthy for sharing her fear-fighting story with us on Mothers’ Central.


Teresa McCarthy Head ShotTeresa McCarthy resides in Long Beach, NY and is the mother of daughters Gracie and Anna. A former children’s librarian, Teresa is a stay at home mom who dabbles in the family business (the operation of 5 bowling centers) whenever she can. Additionally she volunteers as president of the pre-school PTA, is a Girl Scout troop leader and assists with many community fundraisers and events. Teresa is grateful for her supportive husband Jack and to live just a quick boardwalk bike ride away from her parents.

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
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Fineske January 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

Teresa, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

After reading this post I realize that (among so many other things) my kids and the ongoing stages of mothering have a way of bringing forward my own bravery. Oftentimes I think if how my actions reflect on my children and this always––and will forever––shape my decisions and give weight to how I make choices. Looking back, there are so many things I have done over the past 11 years of motherhood that I don’t think I would have considered doing prior to become a mom.

I believe my children, make me a better person (and in your case it sounds like, a more confident athlete) :)

Thanks again for sharing your story!


Teresa January 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Yes Kate. I agree that my children make me a better person too. How lucky that we have mimics & mirrors in our little ones to remind us to be the best people we can be. Thanks for asking me to contribute to the blog!


Valerie January 7, 2014 at 7:55 am

One aspect of motherhood I liked so much was the double re-do. We get to parent our children, sometimes, in a way we wish we had been parented, and somehow, in doing so, we re-parent ourselves at the same time. There is an opportunity to fix or fine tune certain things in ourselves, because we have children. I love that.


Teresa January 8, 2014 at 9:16 am

Great insight Valerie. Yes! Life is full of tweaks & changes with and without our children.


Ali January 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I want to join team Spicy Cajones!
What a great thingyou are doing for your girls. Too many parents instill their own fears into their children.
Great job!


Teresa January 8, 2014 at 9:14 am

Congrats Ali! You’re on the team – Sunday nights when the weather’s warm :)
Thanks for your friendship & kind words!


Barbara Merl Smith January 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Great blog proud to know you. Teresa you are smart courageous and a great role model for children and adults


Teresa January 8, 2014 at 9:15 am

That’s so kind Barbara! Thank you so much!


Linda Juergens January 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Teresa, your story shows yet another way motherhood brings opportunities for us to grow personally. We stretch ourselves in ways we never thought we would to benefit our children and don’t always realize how often it benefits us too. Thanks for sharing this.


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