Constantly washing athletic uniforms? Using your lingerie laundry bag for washing shin guards instead of your fancy panties? Incessantly feeding people protein packed snacks? Running shuttle services to and fro the gym daily? Congratulations!! You're a sports mom!! Now what?
I haven't found myself in this position unexpected; it's not a surprise. I married a former coach. My kids are natural athletes. I knew I'd be the soccer mom. And the basketball mom. And the golf mom. It's a role I welcome and enjoy. But if you're not super excited about spending hours sitting in a gym or on a field or about doing all the work it takes, I hope this gives you some insight as to why sports moms do what they do, are the way they are, and are able to deal with it.
What it Takes:
Long hours of practice-If you're a homeschool mama like myself, you probably need a little time alone. This is where practice is a benefit! I use that time to work on my side-hustle, workout at the gym where the kids are, or sit in my car and eat French fries and watch Netflix. Don't judge. You know you've done it. Maybe it's chocolate that you hide and eat. Ooooh, or Pirate's Booty. Just me? Cool. But this isn't about my crazy need to sneak food. If you're not a homeschool mom, spend the time with your other kids if you have them. It's hard to get time in with them all and this could be just the thing to make that happen for you.
Laundry-Oh my word, the laundry. I've had to get into a routine of uniform and gear washing. The second those sweaty, dirty clothes come off that little body, they go into the washer. PSA-make sure you put shin guards in the aforementioned lingerie bag to keep the Velcro from sticking to other items...like jerseys...and pulling the fabric. I've NEVER done that. I just heard from a friend that this could happen. Also, don't dry those jerseys...the numbers melt. Seriously, that wasn't me. I won't say who it was, but he wasn't happy.
Travel-Ok, this is where it gets fun. When my son started playing for this new team, I didn't understand what exactly we were getting into. The coach kept talking about how fun "nationals" was. Awesome, because we're all about the fun at our house. About a month before said "nationals" I realized this wasn't a weekend thing. No, no. It was a week. 7 days. The length of time it took me to binge all 14 seasons of Grey's Anatomy. Y'all see what I'm sayin'? I wasn't emotionally prepared for this. But OHMYLANTA, we had a blast. There we were with some of our kids' favorite friends and our favorite families just living it up in Springfield, Missouri, watching a ton of great basketball and cheering our boys on. Could we have used that money to go to the beach? Sure. But to see your boy on the court of a university receiving a trophy for ACTUALLY WINNING, not just participating, is worth every penny. It was a FAMILY trip and man, it was fun.
Yeah, but how do I survive it?
Great question, mama.
Get involved. I LOVED being team mom this season. I LOVED yelling and cheering for our teams at their games. Secretly, I loved the looks on the other fans' faces when we started pulling out our cowbells and drums. I'm evil laughing right now, but you can't hear me. It was a good one.
Be the mom that makes it fun for the whole family. Get hyped with your kid when they have a game. Wear the team colors. Be ridiculous. It's fine. No one cares what you do. Unless it's your seven year old daughter and then you're "super embarrassing". Whatever, little girl. I gave you that sass but go use it elsewhere.
Don't complain. Ouch. I know. I was a complainer at first. And by "at first" I mean at the first practice of EVERY SEASON my kid has ever played. But I've realized how much joy this brings them and that they're learning valuable skills, and not just on the field or court. Which brings me to my next point.
Let the coach yell at your kid if he/she needs it. Yeah, that's tough. I think the best thing we did was to get our son out from under his dad's coaching. Now, he's a fine coach. Coached varsity and JV sports and played his whole life. But letting someone else coach your kid is so valuable. A veteran mom told me at nationals that she tells her son's coach when he's been giving her attitude at home. Coach handles it. I love that.
It's a ton of work. But the work is definitely outweighed by the fun and family time you get out of it. I haven't met a retired sports mom that said, "I wish we hadn't spent so much time together as a family on the ball field." Soldier on, sports mama. Remember that if you get overwhelmed, there are other mamas on the team who can talk you off the ledge. Or sit in the car and sneak chocolate with you.