I am a soccer mom.
I just survived another season of youth soccer.
It was so nice to sleep in on a Saturday morning! …Oh wait, that was my hubby who got to sleep in. Me? Well, I have this annoying biological clock that wakes me up at the same time every morning whether I need to be somewhere or not. So there I was this morning, lying awake in bed at 6:41 trying to convince myself that I wanted to stay cozily tucked under the duvet reveling in the joy of NOT having a schedule to keep. But nope. My brain was already committed to being awake. Too many Saturday mornings spent waking early and rushing to get kids to their soccer fields.
I’ve been a “soccer mom” now for five years. Wait… REALLY?! It seems CRAZY to me that it’s been that long already! I guess that should make me a pro by now, huh? Well, I don’t exactly feel like a pro at being a soccer mom. In fact, I even resisted that title for a long time. Now I have accepted it and maybe even embraced it a little. Maybe… I’ve at least gained five years of experience and wanted to share a few of my own tips for surviving a season of youth soccer and life as a soccer mom. So put on your Soccer Mom hat and listen up!
Tip #1 – Get new wheels. Seriously. No, I’m not talking some high-falutin’ people-hauler or the traditional soccer-mom-minivan (although, that is what I drive…). I’m talking wagon wheels! Real, heavy-duty, off-roading wagon wheels that can handle any terrain from gravel parking lots to thick grass fields. I spent my first few seasons of soccer-momhood pulling and shoving my baby stroller across lush soccer fields. I have some great arm muscles as a result, but it sure made for an exhausting ordeal. Last Christmas my attentive hubby gifted me with one of these Mac Sports Utility Wagons. Seriously, guys, if you find yourself entering the soccer-mom world, this is your new best friend! I can pile this thing high with bags, babies, and blankets and still get around the soccer park. Someone may occasionally have to push or steady the mountain of junk, but it’s nowhere near the wrestling match my stroller and I would engage in! My stroller has taken up permanent residence with the spiders in the garage ; ) Even Bitty had no complaints about the trade; she still has room to ride!
Tip #2 – Plan your meals. I totally failed at this, and let me tell you, it makes ALL the difference in keeping your sanity. We are at the park three nights a week and every Saturday. Most practice sessions overlap our customary supper hour, and of course Saturday games often extend into lunchtime. With my family’s food differences, we don’t eat from the concession stand or dine via the food trucks that show up, so all of our on-the-go meals have to be planned, assembled, and packed into a cooler beforehand. I’ve done pretty well in previous seasons, so I don’t know what happened this season; I was just a miserable failure, and we ended up eating lots of chips and peanut butter sandwiches. Plan ahead. Get it down on a calendar which meals you will be eating at home and which meals need to be sideline-friendly! I am working on some ideas to implement myself and to share with you in the coming soccer season : ) Because you never know when you’ll be forced to eat a sandwich while sandwiched into a sleeping bag with your bestie!
Tip #3 – Keep the car stashed with necessities. This is just common sense but especially important if you’re a sports mom who spends alot of time living out of her kid-hauler. Every season I involuntarily start stashing stuff. Hats, gloves, water bottles, random boxes of Kleenex and wet-wipes, blankets, bandaids in Ziplock bags, essential oils and Basic-H2 tucked into cup holders. Everything ready for whatever the soccer field may throw at us! I discovered this past season that it might be a good idea for me to keep extra pairs of cleats stashed under a seat somewhere… Mad dashes back to the house ten minutes prior to a game really are not my thing!
Tip #4 – Learn to accept help when it’s offered. I’m really bad at this one, so pardon me while I preach to the choir. I’m one of those, “I’ll just take care of it myself so it gets done right” kind of people. But I learned, during a previous season when I was in my last trimester of pregnancy, that sometimes (most times!) it’s OK and even helpful to accept someone’s gracious offer of assistance. Let someone bless you, and in turn you can bless them by being grateful and returning the favor at a later date. I have literally had people run to move their car so I could have their parking space and had referees haul my stuff in the Gator or other soccer parents watch all four of my kids while I ran home for the cleats one of my children (who shall remain nameless) forgot. We are humans. God created us to need each other and take care of each other, so let’s fulfill that purpose by being humble enough to accept help and offer help at every opportunity : )
Tip #5 – If you glean nothing else from this blog post, remember this: show gratitude to those people who are working behind-the-scenes to keep your local soccer/sports league running smoothly. Their job is unending, exhausting, unappreciated, and steals valuable time away from their families. They are literally volunteering their life to give your kids the best experience possible. Take the time to go out of your way and say thank you to the person who stayed up until two o’clock in the morning working the puzzle of game schedules or who rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to set flags in sub-zero temperatures to make sure fields were ready for games. Show appreciation for the introverted volunteer who braves the noise and people to teach soccer to a group of energetic kids. Respect the fourteen-year-old boy who is trying to remember all the rules from his referee training while irate parents are yelling at him for a missed call. These are volunteers, the servants of the community, who do this out of passion for the game. Thank you, guys!