Back to Work

This week, I did something I hadn’t done for 14 years – I went to work for a boss other than myself.

When it was getting close to the time for my son to get his driver’s license, I had one of those AHA! moments and realized I was going to need something else to do with my afternoons once my chauffeuring skills were no longer needed.  While I was very content with my schedule of teaching fitness classes, playing tennis, Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, and hosting my radio show, I knew my mental health was going to suffer if I didn’t find a reason to get out of my house for at least a few hours each week.  So, I started telling everyone I knew that I was looking for part-time work.

Part-time, for me, meant (1) I couldn’t work Mondays or Fridays or weekends because that would interfere with tournament travel with my son; (2) I couldn’t work Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday mornings because that would interfere with my yoga class and league tennis play; (3) I didn’t want a job that required me to bring work home, either literally or figuratively; and (4) most importantly, I needed to be home in time for dinner with my husband and son each night.  The ideal job candidate . . . NOT!  I knew it would be tough to find something that would accommodate my wonky scheduling needs, but I had faith that the Perfect Part-Time Job was out there somewhere.

My Facebook addiction paid off – a local magazine posted a job listing on its Facebook page for a young chiropractic office looking for an assistant.  The hours were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 2:45-6:00pm.  Eureka!  I emailed the doctor my resume right away and almost immediately got a call to schedule an interview for the following afternoon.  The job description was right up my alley – answer phones, greet patients, and assist with patient communication.  The doctor and I hit it off, and he offered me the job the following day.

While it’s been a bit strange this week having to come home from my morning workout, take a shower, and put on Real Clothes and Make-Up, so far, I’m really enjoying the work.  I’m learning a lot about the chiropractic field and the different aspects of treatment.  I’m learning a lot about medical technology.  And, I’m learning a lot about building a practice from the ground up.  The people are great, and the social interaction is absolutely necessary for my mental well-being.

My husband and son have been great, too.  We had The Talk about how I wouldn’t be available to them on the afternoons I was working to run errands or drop off a forgotten book or extra tennis shirt.  So far, so good.  And, I’ve even managed to prepare food before I go to my job so we have that dinner to eat together that I mentioned above.

I know there will be days where I’m feeling rushed or overwhelmed, but I’m confident that my guys will help me find a good balance so we can make this work thing . . . well . . . WORK!  Wish me luck!

Tennis Parent/Non-Tennis Parent – It Takes Two!

If you’ve watched any professional tennis in the past couple of years, no doubt you’ve noticed Novak Djokovic’s parents in the stands during his matches – they are the ones cheering loudly, wearing their son’s image on their shirts, standing and fist-pumping after every winning shot.  Rumor has it that the King of Decorum, Roger Federer, once told them to be quiet (not the words he used!) during a match with their son.  They are the epitome of the hard-core Tennis Parent.

In most junior tennis families, though, typically there is one parent in charge of all-things-tennis and one parent who is less involved.  Even in families where the parents are no longer living in the same household, I’ve seen this distinction develop.  There is one parent who you see at pretty much every tournament though every now and then the other will make an appearance.

The role of the All-Things-Tennis parent are pretty clear – and I think I’ve covered them sufficiently in previous posts (click here and here) – but what, exactly, is the role of the Non-Tennis parent?

I actually posted this exact question on a Facebook group that I frequent consisting of former junior tennis champions who are now Tennis Parents, coaches, or otherwise still involved in the Tennis World.  One response I received was, “If I get this question right, what you will have is a non-tennis parent who becomes totally disenchanted with the behavior of the tennis parent. He/she voices their opinion to said tennis parent who immediately tells the non-tennis parent that they have no clue what the heck they are talking about and stay out of anything that has to do with Jr’s sports. ”

According to David Benzel, founder of Growing Champions For Life, in a family where one parent is “NOT the tennis parent”, the opportunity exists for this parent to provide the voice of balance for both the spouse and child who are immersed in the tennis culture. It’s important that tennis occupy the appropriate amount of space, time and energy for the health of any family.  However this is a tricky role to play because this parent may come to feel alienated from the tennis two-some and their dedication to the sport. Therefore, the ideal scenario may actually be when two parents alternate with each other in playing “tennis-parent” with all its travel, time, and emotional demands.  This facilitates an equal sharing of the tennis experience with the child and keeps both parents on the family team, not just the tennis team, in the eyes of the child.

In our family, my husband is the Non-Tennis parent (duh!), and his role ranges from earning the money to pay for our son’s sport of choice to reigning in the All-Things-Tennis parent (Moi!) when she gets out of hand.  Though we have definitely had our share of moments like the one described in the paragraph above, I think we have done a pretty good job of finding the balance and working TOGETHER to keep our son’s tennis in perspective.  While I’m typically the parent who goes to the tournaments and communicates with our son’s coach, my husband does do Tournament Duty a few times a year and does get involved when there’s a Big Issue to discuss.  I’m always grateful for that break, and our son is definitely grateful to have Guy Time with his dad.

That said, I wouldn’t trade my Tennis Parent role for anything – it has given me the chance to spend some high-quality time with my son and to meet some wonderful people.  What is your role and how do you keep balance in your family?