Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Sports Mom

Kate and I are accidental sports moms. We always swore that we would never, ever be THAT mom. The one whose whole life revolved around practices and games and clinics every single day.  Who had no weekends.  How stupid are they?!

Now we know.

Because our kids fell in love with sports (collectively, baseball, karate, swimming and tennis) and so we found ourselves spending all our time and money doing exactly that and being THOSE moms. 

As much as we hate to admit it, being a Sports Mom is sort of like driving a mini-van.  It's freeing. It's sort of fun. Once you've given up the idea of having free time or disposable income, it becomes kind of great. But there are enemies. Oh yes... There are.  Our pal Sheri explains it all...
I am a Sports Mom. I had no idea how easy my parents had it because they only had one child (me) who played sports. I have 3. And I’m a single mom. So…it’s just…me. HOLY COW. Whuck was I thinking when we first enrolled Speedy (my oldest) in soccer when he was 4 ½? Here is the mantra I have lived by during my kids childhood. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knew that the entire family would take to sports like ducks take to water. Only in our house, the sports.never.end.

  • Speedy, my 17 year old son, during the course of his lifetime, has played soccer, indoor soccer, baseball, basketball, and has now settled on running cross country and track.
  • MonsterMe (my 13-year old daughter and so named because she is taller than me) has tried and rejected dance (there are videos that I plan to release should she ever attempt to put me in a nursing home or run for Congress), gymnastics, soccer, and has settled on softball and a never-ending basketball season (Seriously. We go from August-May).
  • Muddy Waters (my 10-year old son and so named because if there is a mud puddle within 50 yards, he will find it and jump in it) has played soccer, baseball, hip hop dance, and has now decided that football is his sport. Someone send aspirin.
Being a dedicated sports mom is more difficult than it sounds. I keep a calendar, as most moms do. I plugged in all of the various sporting activities. Each child gets a different color. When I counted the number of sporting activities I was due to attend in a 30 day period last spring, there were 26. Twenty. Six. This didn’t count practices, dance, or other school-related activities or family-related activities.

Or, by the way, work.

I’ve been known to show up to sporting events in work clothes. Do you have any idea how little fun it is to walk out onto a soccer field in 3 inch high heels because you forgot you were going to soccer (outdoors) instead of basketball (indoors)? I do. My butt is permanently bleacher shaped and I have no feeling in my legs for 11 months out of the year. The other mothers think I’m unfriendly because my favorite saying is “Did my kid just score that goal/basket/hit? NO? Good. I didn’t miss anything.” I don’t mean it in a bad way, but I was waiting on a text from someone I sent to a different game to see if one of my other kids did something spectacular that I’m missing.

Here are my enemies:

"Moooooom. Where is my uniform?" Why am I constantly asked this question? Was I the last person to wear said uniform? No. Yet for some reason, all three of them think that I hide it the minute it comes into the house. It would be different if I coveted a stinky, sweaty track uniform or if I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a muddy soccer uniform, but the only thing I want to do is get them in the washer. Many of our conversations the night before a game/tournament go like this:

Random Heathen: “Moooooom. What did you do with my uniform?”
Me: “I gave it to homeless people.”
Random Heathen: “That’s not funny. Seriously. It’s not where I left it.”
Me: (curious now) “ Which was….?”
Random Heathen: “In my bag. (Suspiciously). Did you take it out to WASH it?”
Me: “You’ve caught me. Check the dryer.”
Random Heathen: “Great. Now it will be all clean and stuff.”

Indeed. What on earth was *I* thinking?

Packing the bag:
Seriously. Have we not done this before? About a hundred times before? This season alone? What do you need? Uniform. Shoes. Glove. Ha.t Cup. (No, not you, MonsterMe, the boys.) Snacks for the bus. What do you mean it is a home game? I’m pretty sure it is an away game. Check the schedule. See, I’m right. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And you know what? They still forget something. Every.single.time.

The Schedule
Good lord people. Focus. We have a schedule. Particularly on tournament days for MonsterMe. She plays AAU Basketball where they do NOT mess.around. We play 3 games per day and they are intensely focused on the matter at hand. So throw in the uniform and the packing of the bag and add in the packing of Muddy Waters for a day of fun (Nintendo DS plus a day full of snacks PLUS mom and her assorted crap and we need to be OUT THE DOOR RIGHT THIS MINUTE because we have to drive for an hour and I don’t want to be yelled at by the coach for being late AGAIN). Did I mention this is how I spend my LEISURE time on the weekends?

MonsterMe plays AAU basketball. Last year alone we played 140 games. Speedy runs. He runs a lot. Muddy Waters plays soccer. In some of these events, the parents act like their child is the second coming of Michael Jordan/Steve Prefontaine/David Beckham. Perhaps it is that I just do not care anymore (having 3 kids do as many sports as mine do will wear you down a bit) but seriously…unless my kid is jumping over someone’s shoulders to do a complete 360 dunk or breaking the record for the 3 mile, I’m not getting too excited anymore. If we win, we win. If we lose, we have 139 games left to play.

So guess what, crazy sports parent? STOP YELLING at your kid, at my kid, at the coaches, the referees, the guy selling concessions, and the parking attendant. It just embarrasses your kid and makes you look like a loon. Speedy runs like the wind. I couldn’t keep up with him if I had a bike sometimes. All I yell is “Go!” Muddy Waters is happiest when his uniform is the dirtiest. I’ve learned just to take pictures and bring a towel.

Suck it, 8 year old losers. We just WON.
Just because your kid PLAYS sports does not necessarily mean that your kid is going to be GOOD at sports. Enjoyment does not equal mastery. Screaming at your child from the sidelines is not going to help the kid learn to love the sport any more or be any better at it. It may even make the kid hate it and take up chess (not that there is anything wrong with chess. Hey…maybe my kids could play chess?? I’ll bet there isn’t a lot of travel involved there. Note to self: buy a chess board.). My point is that kids play sports for all kinds of reasons and they have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. If YOU want to play whatever sport again…go do it. Let your kid enjoy his/her childhood.

So..there you have it. Enemies of a sports mom. If you see me out, looking slightly confused, please tell me to check my calendar to figure out what sporting event I’m supposed to be at now. I’m probably in the wrong spot.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. Kids' sports have seriously gotten out of control. In our area (I live in the suburbs of a major city in the Midwest) there are so many teams that a friend's 12-y-o daughter had soccer games BEGINNING at 10 pm on a Saturday night, because there were so many other teams that needed to use the field. And this was just parks and rec soccer, not a varsity team or anything.

    I am dreading the day when my boy is old enough for organized sports. Why do parents put up with this crap? We ought to unionize or something...

  2. I would also add the increased risk of injury--not that kids don't get just as injured on the playground or, if you're my brother, in your own bed! But I remember getting my eye scraped by a member of the opposite team in basketball when I was 13. And a bruise the size of a large melon on my hip from learning to dive in volleyball that same year. And almost breaking my nose (just a bloody mess) trying to dig a volleyball out of the net. And I wasn't even all that competitive, or in any contact sports! :)

  3. LOL Just signing my two beauties up for their collective 4 sports. Can I admit I'm sorta glad sweet child didn't make travel baseball?!

  4. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I still swear I will never be THAT mom but I'm glad I have this guide for the just-in-case. ;)

  5. Bad news. Good chess players travel too - and their season goes from October to April!

  6. I thought I was doing good to limit my 3 howler monkeys to one sport each (and the twins are on the same team so that helps tremendously) but I now see the fallacy in that thought. We are always on the go and many days Hubs and I divide and conquer to get every where they need to be. Hugs to Sheri for doing it all by herself.

  7. This is the first fall I've signed my girls up for soccer. Veteran sports moms, please be kind to the newbie! :)

  8. I'm just about to register for fall sports and this couldn't have come at a better time. Add to this list all the self-righteous parents who proclaim that they "don't believe in over-scheduling children" and this describes my life to a tee. Thank you so much! (And incidentally, to all those parents, I have FOUR children. Even if they all pick one thing, I still have to be in four different places. Sometimes all at the same time. So go suck it.) Thank you for this post!

  9. Stephanie WilliamsAugust 23, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    It's not just sports!! Lol my daughter alone this year will be in at LEAST two choirs and guitar plus all her art camps. Oh, and did I mention she swims too?? My one year old is usually booked to the max too with music class and swimming. Christmas time and music festival times are crazy for us!

  10. If you don't want to be THAT mom, don't let your boys play football. 3-4 two hour practices a week and travel games on Saturdays. Did I mention both of my boys are playing? And the schedules always conflict. Poor daughter has to wait until November for volleyball because we just can't fit anything else into our schedule yet.

  11. Great! Just signed my daughter up for dance. She's 4. I thought, "It's only once a week, we can handle that." Bwahahaha! I didn't realize there would be so many parent meetings, costume fittings, rehearsals, and the like. It will only get worse if she likes it and we have to start having class twice a week. Shoot me now!

  12. Ya'll should try hockey. Unless you live in Detroit and don't play "travel hockey," ya'll travel A LOT. DD was gonna play travel softball this year. Might have had to travel an hour. HA! We travel an hour and a half, one way, just for her hockey practices. Three times a week. But I love her, and she loves hockey...

  13. Only my older kids play, and it's only one sport each, but my husband decides it's not busy enough, and so coaches 3 (yes 3!) softball teams of his own. Shoot me now. (And no, my kids are not on his team. Oldest is in college, and playing for them, and 13yo is a boy) I feel your pain, sports mom!

  14. At first I detested our foray into the sports world, vowing to never be THAT mom who hoops and hollers on the sideline having a stroke because my kid is just so AWESOME at his sport of choice. I pretended to be detached bringing along a book to their games and kept my head down until I felt like uttering an occasional “way to go” or “good job”…

    But I became engrossed in my crusty boys’ sports life (they play any and every sport that the park district recruits & enlists them for from badminton to volleyball, soccer to baseball and the occasional flag football outing and sometimes speed skating)! They’re good at most of them, too (looking at the mantle as it is teeming with trophies, plaques, ribbons and the like!) And I’m surprisingly good at schlepping smelly boys to and fro and bleeding my wallet dry (another domestic enemy of the sport mom, the CO$$$T involved in this lifestyle). I have even ushered myself into the team mom role, where now the coaches and fellow team parents fully expect me to organize the end of season picnic, snacks schedules, and other administrative stuff that makes it feel like a full time job. I have fallen into this life and so far still loving it.

  15. It's not just sports. My dearest daughter was in choir, and not just one choir but two. My oldest son was in JROTC, Scouts, Science Olympiad and Science Knowledge Bowl -- yeah, he's a nerd. My youngest is in Scouts, Orchestra and Science Olympiad. But the logistics of having 3 kids doing multiple things in multiple places is the same whether it's "nerd stuff" or sports. Fortunately for me, the older two have graduated high school and moved on to college where they are responsible for their own schedules. ;)

  16. I am adjusting to life as a sports mom and I would be lost without my schedule. I've shown up at events in work clothes and like you, my butt is permanently bleacher shaped.

  17. My oldest has no skill for anything that involves body coordination, just like her parents. My second child , however, was born with a soccer ball between his little feet. He has been invited since he was 6 to play on the local traveling team. I was smart enough to keep this a secret until a month or so ago when his dad let it slip. Now I am constantly being told by him that I am "holding him back" and he won't get a college scholarship without this team. He's 8! I don't want to lose my life to this team! But he's a goal tender and apparently in the soccer world they are gold. So next season we start traveling.
    And when I let the kids buy the new baby a present what does he buy? A size 1 soccer ball. They sit in the floor and roll it back and forth. I'm doomed.

  18. This was one of the Domestic Enemy advisories I was waiting for. Despite only having a 2 year old, I am bracing for what life will be like in a few years with extra-curriculars and sports. And because I find watching soccer and baseball as fun as being kicked in the taco, I'm SURE those will be the sports she gravitates to. But thank you for putting it in perspective and I humbly give you props for supporting 3 active kids in their respective sports. Go team!

  19. My daughter is a competitive dancer. (And NO, it's NOTHING like that asinine show Dance Moms.) She's just shy of 9 and will be dancing 4-5 days per week, about 13 or 14 hours per week (including classes and rehearsals.) But she wants to be a professional dancer (and this has been a constant, never-changing refrain since she was 6) and happens to be quite good at it and L.O.V.E.S it. However, when the amount she dances comes up in conversation with other parents or family, WHOA the judgment. It's automatically assumed that I'm some crazy stage mom. When in reality, we actually have to limit the amount she dances because we can't afford more. If it were up to her, she'd dance 7 days per week.

    So I'd add to the list of domestic enemies for sports moms: judgmental folks who jump to the conclusion that we are living through our kids instead of just doing our best to help them live their dreams.

  20. We just entered that world last year, when our daughter (then 8) started soccer. I have to admit I'm grateful our son (almost 13) isn't interested in sports, outside of a limited foray into extracurricular basketball last winter. But I'd love to see a "Domestic Enemies of the Scouting Mom," since we did Girl Scouts for several years, and our son has been in Boy Scouts for almost 6 years.

  21. Oh yes...I now understand why my mom was so happy when I got my driver's license. It meant she no longer had to drive me to lessons and rehearsals in high school. I was not a sport kid-I was a band kid-and I still had after school practice most days, plus private lessons once a week. My DD is only eighteen months old and I already feel like pulling my hair out between music class, story time and planned trips to the park. It's either that or she destroys her play space at home out of sheer boredom. And I suspect we have a future dancer on our hands-I did it for years as a kid, and she already grooves along to music whenever she gets a chance. Shoot me now...

  22. my son is 17 months old and my soul just shrivled up in a corner and is now rocking back and forth to jock jams. shhuuddeeerrr.


  23. I could be Sheri, and totally agree and relate to everything she said!!! I have 5 kids and all of them play at least one sport. At one point all 5 played softball or baseball the same spring. Talk about a juggling act. My mantra has become "it's just a game!" No need to scream at coaches, kids, parents, officials, etc. Because there are 139 more games! Don't know how many times I have only watched a partial game because I had to run to another field/pool/gym to watch another child. Some day I will have my life back. Let's hear it for the "bleacher butt" moms!!!

  24. Wouldn't want to be in a room with any of these hyperscheduled suburban human doings (as opposed to human beings) who behind all of the surface whining are actually bragging about their automotive lurchings from expensive venue to venue. This is the legacy of the cul de sac dwelling permanent commuters, whose every activity from shopping to worship to entertainment to work to you name it requires another hour long jaunt in a polluting vehicle transporting a workaholic-in-training kid.

  25. Ugh! Daughter decided she wants to do orchestra this year, so she has to be there @ 6:50 am (it is free before school program) just signed her up for volleyball. Son #2 & 3 just got signed up for flag football & son #2 wants to do a wrestling clinic & is starting scouts this week. Later in the year will be basketball for daughter & son #2 & probably soccer for son #3. son #1 hasn't expressed an interest in anything this year & frankly, I'm not pushing it!. I am not single but grouchy hubby refuses to help with this stuff so I get to do it myself. Plus work full time! Ya I'm not bitter. At least he comes to the games. Most of them. Then he bitches cuz his mom never let him do sports when he was a kid! Sorry this turned into a rant. Please disregard!

  26. I'm with Anon ^^. Dance is just as bad. Do you have any idea what those skimpy little costumes of glitter cost??? And the shoes - the mutlitude of freakin' shoes??

    My daughter (almost 14)did competition dance last year for the first time & was in a total of 8 dances for the recital! I'm glad I only have the one kid - can't afford any more!

  27. Amen! on the crazy sports parents! A friend's husband refs baseball. He was literally attacked in the parking lot after a game. He had the.nerve to call their 8yo out for slinging a bat 3xs. What is wrong with these parents?!

  28. Gosh, Anon (at 2:34pm), I am truly impressed by how many insults you managed to fit into 2 sentences. Clearly, you have many years of practice - well done!

  29. Please do not ruin my dream of NOT being a sports mom - that is all...

  30. Southeast Little Leaguer's momAugust 24, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Oh, and let's not forget all the judgey-McJudgerson parents who come crawling out of the woodwork if you sportys star actually goes to nationals (like the Little Leaguers this week) or the Olympics and MISSES SCHOOL. Like they aren't doing homework on the plane, learning actual life skills, or doing anything important that could, you know, get them a college scholarship or something.

  31. How about the sports step mom who spends EVERY Saturday sitting next to my wonderful husband's ex-wife cheering the kids on? Hubby is always coaching our kids so it's me and the EX for several hours every weekend. It used to just be spring and fall, then the little one opted for basketball in the winter...so summer is my only break from the EX. Thank God my kids don't want to swim competitively!

  32. Perfect post!
    Sheri, I do not know how you do it! I have only one is softball and I stay at home and homeschool (so no homework to do at 10pm) and i feel rushed and tired! My hat is off to anyone with more than one kid doing this crazytown stuff.

    In addition to the $ enemy is the many lessons to help your kid succeed in what they choose.

  33. Ah, a glimpse into insanity. I'm not looking forward to this at all. Thankfully, my older kids are supreme nerds, who look out the door, find the back yard entirely too sunny and lacking in sprinklers/pools, and decide that maybe today isn't really the day for outdoor fun. (In their defense, it is regularly in the triple digits here.)
    I can't even imagine them engaged in anything that involves running from one end of a field to the other for hours on end. We'll see how long this lasts.

  34. The uniforms! OY VEY, the uniforms! I always try to make sure that they have the entire uniform before we have to leave for a soccer weekend (small town, must travel to Metroplex for soccer). And always, at the last minute, "I can't find my socks/jersey/shorts..." Not to mention the time we got to the Metroplex the night before the game and my daughter realized that she had left her shoes & shinguards at home. Oh, yes, indeed.

    Now, I require VISUAL CONFIRMATION of all parts of the uniform before any child can have supper/breakfast/watch tv/whatever. GAH!

  35. This is so true!!! I have 4 kids and I am a swimming/soccer(indoor and out)/football(flag and tackle)/volleyball/basketball mom and piano lessons, cubs, scouts, girl group as well! All of the stuff that *I* need to keep track off is insane and heaven help me if *I* forget anything! I try to keep the sports down to one per season but seasons overlap so that unfortunate loop hole is going to be the death of me! And the kids that are close enough in age to be on the same teams? They play different sports! Sigh!

  36. Omg, I think we must be sisters. I could have written this post. I gave up my whole summer (whole!!!) for softball and then Allstar softball because dammit my daughter has to be good at playing. Nothing like bleacher butt, boob sweat, and smelling like Eau de sunscreen. And not to mention how fat I am getting cAuse it's impossible to eat healthy when your choices are hot dogs, nachos or popcorn. What I hate most, though are the fundraisers! Ack! Now we have begun my sons football season. Oh joy! Stephanie




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