The new school year is now underway. We are finally starting to master the morning routines: what time everyone needs to get up, how long it takes us to pack lunches, make breakfast, brush teeth and hopefully wipe the sleep out of our kiddos’ eyes. We know which school route has the least amount of traffic and how much homework our kids have at night. Then, just as we think we have our calendars—and our lives—perfectly planned out, fall sports begin! 

Before you know it, dinnertime is out of whack, the kids are starving on the way to practice, and before you have time to blink, your time for goal achievement has gotten kicked to the sideline. But timeout, mamas! You can still manifest your goals in the midst of your kids’ soccer program (or football, or gymnastics, or even Girls Scouts for that matter).

Why Do We Make Our Kids So Busy?

Let’s face it, fall—although my very favorite time of year—is often a very hectic time for parents and kids. Not only are kids coming off of summer schedules (or a lack thereof), they are now adjusting to long school days, homework, and increased structure. But then we parents decide that little Suzy “should” be playing a sport… or three. I get it, believe me. 

My current Wednesday afternoon schedule looks something like this: Pick up the kids from school. Drive fifteen minutes to the gymnastics school while my girls stuff themselves with snacks. We park and then they modestly change (in the car) into their leotards. At this point my minivan floor already looks like I ransacked both the cracker aisle and the kids department at Target. After the hour-long gymnastics class, I am the first mom to pick up her kids, as I fast-walk them back to the car to do another wardrobe change, this time into soccer gear. We have twelve minutes to get to soccer practice, which, without traffic, is about eleven minutes away (okay, maybe it’s nine). I park at the soccer field, and scurry them—yet again—to their hour-long soccer practice, hopefully remembering to tie their shoe laces and grab their soccer balls. 

Now, do I have to do this? Is it essential that my girls be so busy with sports? No, it isn’t. But here’s what happens as kids get older: they (usually) want to try new things. My girls wanted to do gymnastics and they wanted to play soccer this year and guess what?! I watch the Olympics, so if my kids say they have a desire to try a sport, I’m going to let them. Maybe I have the next Simone Biles or Hope Solo on my hands! You better believe I’m going to see where their love of a sport might take them. Now they didn’t necessarily need to do both sports at one time but gymnastics is year-round and I needed them in a specific class time. Soccer is seasonal and it just so happened that the coaches scheduled practice immediately after their gymnastics class. So for the next few months, my minivan will be a dressing room, a snack station, and my mobile office.

Why We Need Strategy… and Soccer Balls

I am the first to say that I am biased when it comes to youth sports. I started playing volleyball when I was in fifth grade and after a successful high school, club, and college career, I can say that playing sports was, hands down, one of the best parts of my youth even into young adulthood. I learned so much about teamwork, problem solving, dedication, and resilience from playing sports. I want my kids to experience that as well. In my opinion, school happens almost as much out of the classroom as it does in the classroom, so I am always going to take up any chances of extra-curriculars for my children.

But we need strategies in place so that we build their little characters while at the same time continue manifesting our own goals. Here are five ways to manifest your goals, no matter where you are:

1. Get portable

Mama, if you want your kids to be involved with extracurricular activities AND you have goals and dreams you are working toward, then you need to get creative. If you have a laptop, then make it your new purse accessory. Bring it everywhere so that when you have time to spare during little Johnny’s football practice, you can get some work done. If you don’t own a laptop (and I highly suggest you make that a priority investment), then bring a notebook to write down your to-do lists, next steps, or whatever else you are working on that specifically relates to your goals. 

2. Be intentional with your time

Don’t waste your time mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed or looking on Pinterest for your next DIY project. Instead, make your time spent intentional. It’s okay to have your kids in a sport (or a few) but it’s not okay if you spend those times carelessly, especially when you have goals and desires of your own. 

3. Get over the guilt

Here’s where I’m going to squash the mom guilt a little more: you don’t need to watch every second of every practice. It is important that you watch your kids because something I have learned is that they definitely look to make sure you see the goal they just kicked or the perfectly executed round-off they just performed. Knowing that their mom or dad is paying attention makes them feel special and loved. So do that. But then, carve out a little time for you to work on all the ways you want to score goals in your own business or how you want to perfectly execute your own dreams. 

4. Practice positive self-talk

One of the best ways to manifest your goals in any setting is by the power of positive thinking and self-talk. And here’s the bonus: when you practice talking lovingly to yourself, you are also teaching your children to do the same. So when you are in between practices, driving to the next game, or waiting in the parking lot for class to end, talk kindly to yourself. There is countless research about the power and benefit of saying positive affirmations. So say them out loud, practice them with your children, and write them down so that you have something to look at and remind yourself of as you work toward your goals. We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to self-doubt, so practice kindness to yourself, your journey, and how far you’ve already come.

5. Find gratitude every day

Did you know that what you seek is what you find? Or that what you focus on, you see? It’s true. There is actually something called the Reticular Activating System (or RAC), which is a bundle of nerves located in our brainstem that seeks information that validates our beliefs. It’s the reason that, when you talk about getting a specific type of car, all of a sudden you see that car everywhere! Or when you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant or want to get pregnant, do you ever notice you see pregnant women everywhere!? That’s the RAC hard at work. So when you focus on being grateful for the people, experiences, and places in your life (yes, even on the grass of the itchy soccer field), then you will see even more to be grateful for.

You have a choice to make. Either you can see this fall sports season as a time of stress, wishing it were over, and hoping for cancelled practices. Or you can see it as a beautiful opportunity to watch your kids grow, learn something new, and further their skill. All the while you can be intentionally, diligently working toward your own goals and manifesting your dreams. I lovingly encourage you to choose wisely.