Mother’s Day is the day we appreciate mom, and while my friend Julie Golob set off on some work for her Mother’s Day #FeelGoodFriday post, I was motivated to share my answer to one of the questions she had for moms who shoot. As I put my answer down “on paper”, I was struck with how small the cadre of moms who compete WITH their children or families are. So while this started as insight into being a mom and shooting competitions, I’m letting this post morph into how for some of us, shooting WITH our families, is a piece many are missing out on.
Adapt & Overcome!
First, I’m going to say that I’m proud of all the moms that get to the range. It’s easy to let others guilt you into thinking you shouldn’t spend time doing something you love, but if we weren’t supposed to do things we enjoy, we wouldn’t do a myriad of other things mom’s love doing. So I want to reiterate that you should not feel guilty going to the range, with or without your children. For those with toddlers and babies, it can be really a tough/nearly impossible thing. But it doesn’t mean you should give up a hobby or stop training. You just have to adapt what you do.
More Precious than Rubies
Now, for what I think is valuable about competing as a mom WITH my family, I’m going to say that just answering Julie’s question made me appreciate what I accomplish as mom. My last couple months have been interesting; we’ve been working at home and my husband has not been able to fly home from work with the Marine Corps since March 16th. We don’t expect him home until the end of June. So a quarter of the year basically turned on a dime from our well-laid plans for 2020....Adapt has been the daily thing we do!
In the middle of this, I’m contemplating on of Julie’s Question:
What’s the hardest part about competing as a mom and how do you deal with it?
I think that the hardest part about competing as a mom is also the part that helps you to be a better shooter.
What I mean is that, as a mom, you constantly manage multiple people and situations at any given moment. Maybe it's just navigating the car safely through traffic with screaming kids, or a sick child and navigating healthcare, maybe it's navigating your kitchen with boiling pots, roving toddlers, and your daily workload inside and outside of the home... Whatever you are doing as a mom, it's a juggling act!
Juggling and other Mom Skills
Shooting is very much a mental and physical juggling act! For any shooting discipline; whether an action shooting event, long range shooting, or one of the many other disciplines, you have multiple items to track and act upon. Being a mom not only helps you to multitask and think on the fly, while mentally managing and prioritizing the most important things over the least things, being a mom also teaches you when to ignore the chaos and just focus on the thing (or things) that matter.
Shooting is much like that! You have to juggle the physical characteristics of a stage, with the control required to shoot accurately, with the speed needed to do this well, and often tune out the people around you who might not be attentive to their lack of volume control because they think you have hear pro and can't hear them (something akin to a toddler with a world view of “me”).
Two years ago, while taking part in an event with NRA Women, I was hit with how much being a mother helps me compete! I was paired with a very novice shooter and our goal was to beat the other 2-women teams. The show producers asked all of us experienced halves how being on a team was impacting our own performance. While everyone else said it was so different because they are used to focusing on what they need to do, I had to chuckle in my head - this was a piece of cake! I 'm usually juggling myself and 4 other people!! I felt like being a mom, a mom who is on the range constantly WITH others that I’m responsible for...well, it gives me an edge! I'm used to being interrupted and having things and people that I have to help - and you know what, that's life!
Stop & Assess...or Not
As mothers, we are constantly in a state of knowing that, at any moment, we could be asked to stop what we're doing, or keep doing what we're doing, while assessing on the fly if that is the right thing to do. That's not easy! But that ability to mentally flex, well, it just makes shooting competitions easier.
So I asked a few other moms who make up a very short list of mothers who compete with their families, “What do you think is valuable about competing as a mom WITH your family?”, and I’m going to share a few of their perspectives too!
"Nurturing and encouraging my children’s development for competing has required a great deal of quality family time with hands on – one-on-one training, learning respect for authority, and respect for firearms. It’s an invaluable opportunity for me to love on them, pour responsibility, the value of safety, consistency, visualizations, and troubleshooting techniques into their lives. \These are all important techniques that they may apply to other areas over their lifetime for success in anything they do. "
“What I find so valuable in competing with my family is the sense of awareness and closeness. For so long my performance was my primary focus when I competed. From my first competition with my boyfriend, now husband, to my first match with my oldest daughter, each experience has brought me closer to them. That first stage excitement and the thrilling ride of ups and downs throughout an entire match is special. Being able to share it with those closest to me sends me on a trip down memory lane. It brings me back to when I first began shooting with my dad. As a kid, I didn’t know just how special it is to share shooting with those you love. Now, I treasure it.”
“Nothing is more important to me than family time. Shooting as a family means traveling in a vehicle together and staying in one hotel room. The ultimate in family closeness. Plus, who better to enjoy your successes and accomplishments with?”
Stuff of Legend
Mothers have much more mental range than most humans. I think the fact that we don't constantly project that and demand respect for it is another testament to the word "Mother". We've got your back, from before you're born until forever, and nobody is going to knock us off task. We're the apex predator in the protection game...adding skill with firearms into that should honestly be the stuff of legend, and we're good with knowing it, without needing to make sure you know it.