According to Wikipedia. the term soccer mom generally refers to a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan or SUV. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.
Check! Check! Check! Yep, that definitely describes me and several of the women I know. In my case, I really am a “soccer” mom.
Just last weekend, my eldest son had a soccer tournament 100 miles away so I was prodding my younger two out of bed at 5 AM so we could get to the there on time.
Perhaps they should change that term to “soccer family”. As the sun started to shine across the soccer field, I glanced over at my 6 year old and started to laugh. She looked like a young Cyndi Lauper. That’s what happens when you let a 6 year old pick out her own clothes at 5 AM on a Saturday morning!
We may have recently traded in our gas guzzling SUV for a more economical vehicle but we’re still a soccer family in every sense of the word!
I love the comradery I have with my fellow soccer moms. Who else could I grouse about being up early on a Saturday morning when we all know we wouldn’t trade it for the world! When my kids first started playing soccer, I never imagined that I’d spend more money on soccer cleats than I spend on my own shoes!
I remember when I was single and the only thing I worried about when it rained was having an umbrella in my car so I wouldn’t mess up my hair! Oh to be worried about my hair again! Now it’s an arsenal in my trunk as I try to keep my kids and I warm when I know it’s going to be cold and rainy. Sometimes it’s so hot that the whole family spends the day huddled under an umbrella. Either way, I do not travel lightly.
The car companies should take a survey of soccer moms on how to design trunk space. We live in our cars! I’ve become quite the expert of managing chairs, food, clothes and equipment. Maybe someone can come up with a way to wash clothes in your vehicle! Have they done that on Shark Tank yet?
I hate to admit it but there’s many more than one occasion where I waited until the night before a game to wash a uniform, only to discover it has been in the car or the soccer bag since last week! Anyone that knocks a trip through a fast food drive-thru now and again, must not have kids in extracurricular activities. I’d love to go home and make something healthy for them every night but sometimes, after a long day driving back and forth from game to game; it’s an effort just to decide which drive-thru is closest to the freeway on our way home.
Speaking of freeways, I must admit, I love away tournaments. It’s like an adventure when our entire soccer team takes over a hotel. Pizza parties, younger siblings playing together and parents chatting … it’s like a giant slumber party. My kids learned the meaning of “amenities” on all those trips.
Between practices, games and road trips, your soccer team becomes a second family to you and I can already see it’s created a number of life-long friendships for both my kids and my husband and I. You become invested in other people’s lives as much as your own. Your families literally grow up together.
I remember when my kids first started playing sports and these adorable 6 year olds would run across the field as you cheered them on just to run after the ball. Before you know it, they’re teenagers and you realize these handsome young men are the same little ones you used to cart back and forth in your wagon. All their hard work has paid off and they’ve evolved into skilled players.
No matter how old they get, it’s always hard to see my kids heartbroken when they’ve lost a game. Sometimes I try to explain that the experience of the loss will only make them stronger players. They’ve heard me tell them over and over that winning isn’t everything, but I know it still hurts.
I know the saying “times have changed” is a bit over used but things are definitely different than when I was a kid. Participating in any sport today is even more expensive and time consuming than it was back then. When I think about all of the lessons that playing a competitive team sport has taught them, I know it’s worth every minute and every penny. There’s excitement in simply watching them persevere and give 100%. It’s a really good feeling when I watch them try and try, and then suddenly they realize that if they work at something they can succeed. I can tell them over and over, but it’s so much better when they figure it out on their own.
I’ve still got a long ways to go before my “soccer mom” days are over but I already know I’m going to miss the experience when it does end. I’m fortunate to now understand what it is that all these hard working soccer moms do! My kids have made some great friends that I know will be in their lives years from now. As for me, well I’ve made plenty of friends, but when I reflect on this journey I think what I’ll cherish the most are all of the great memories.