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5 Payoffs of Watching Your Kid Battle Through a Sports Injury

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If you have a child who is all-things athlete, you understand the depth beneath his/her competitive nature. The kid who lives and breathes sports has an internal drive for success that is off the charts. Watching the Olympics proves this truth.

As with every sport, the risk of injury looms. And you know how devastating a setback can be for your child. But what’s amazing as a parent is observing the perseverance and commitment of a kid determined to heal and get back into the game.

My daughter played seven sports in her first 11 years. When you look at her DNA under a microscope, pretty sure a Nike swoosh shows up. And she played each one with full abandon, expecting perfection of herself even as a pip squeak t-baller. She even had a two-year stint as QB on the football team, not a single bone of fear in her body.

Now she plays collegiate basketball – a level of competition in a different realm. She is a monsterish 5’ 2”; all you need to know about her will to succeed in a game dominated by girls who hover around the tall tree mark. Speed and moxie get the job done.

Unfortunately, even her mettle couldn’t prevent a significant labrum tear in her shoulder during her freshman season. Somehow, she found the grit to play out the year in pain. But what really amazed me, was her mindset and approach to off-season surgery and rehab. A determined purpose to heal and get back on the court left me slack jawed with admiration. And I know so many of you parents have witnessed the same resolve in your courageous kin.

If we take the time to reflect on how our athletic kids respond to injury, we can walk away with a heart full of lessons to buoy us going forward. Setbacks of all kinds await us in the future, and here are five gifts from watching a teen battle through a sports injury to tuck away for safe keeping:

1 | Attitude is everything

Teens get a bad rap for their rapid cycling mood changes. Sometimes their ‘tude gets underneath our skin. But if you look closely, you’ll find they often have us adults beat when it comes to positivity during times of stress. Mind over matter fuels the athlete.

2 | Embracing pain has great dividends

Athletes don’t let pain deter them. Their inner compass points true north: the place where the potential for victory AND defeat always co-exist. Learning to embrace the same paradox in life –accepting the struggles along with the joys – is a life-giving mentality we can all benefit from.

3 | Competitiveness can be a good thing

When the drive to be competitive transcends being a sore loser, the payoff of such determination is confidence. Athletes who lay everything on the line for the love of the game, rather than creating a springboard from which to boast, develop a type of moxie hard to match. And this resolve carries them through injury. If we choose to battle negative thoughts for the love of life, imagine the blessings we’d reap.

4 | You’re never too old to be a kid

If you are an athlete at heart, the joy of playing a game never leaves your spirit. Which means kid vibes run perpetually through your veins. Seems like this playful energy is what fuels the injured athlete and causes them to approach injuries with grace. Imagine if we all could see our setbacks through the eyes of a child.

5 | Life goes on … no matter what

Not every athlete recovers from an injury. But what is amazing to watch is how a kid rebounds from the loss. They continue to battle through the emotions even if the physical fight has reached an end. Kids, because of their limited life experience, take every day as it comes better than adults. And they choose to trust in the unknown going forward. As grown ups, we often struggle when life presses the pause button on our deep seeded efforts; already exhausted from decades of disappointments and let downs. What if we let go of what’s shaped us and start each new day with a fresh slate on which to chalk up our experiences?

So, here’s to the bright side of our child’s athletic injury. Kids teach us countless lessons, but some of the best things we learn correlate to some of the worst things they experience. And the best way to reward our kids for their positivity, grit, and grace is to adopt their philosophies and pay forward the results.

That’s how we make the world a better place one determined effort at a time.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas


Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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