It’s soccer season! Then again, you probably already know that, since you’ve been wondering what the hell happened to your weekend.
You wanted your kid to play soccer. That’s what happened.
Soccer is the great maternal time suck. See, it’s not just the games that have us spinning our wheels all weekend, trying to get our kids to soccer on time while juggling our other kid’s games and activities. It’s the weekday practices, the required volunteering for parents, and the snack duty — all while homework needs to get done and dinner needs to be made.
This past Saturday, I was on a soccer field, or driving to one, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I came home sunburnt, exhausted, starving, and moderately annoyed that not one portion of my day had been spent doing anything remotely fun for me. Sure, I love seeing my kids play, but they’re not David Beckham. A whole day of kid’s soccer can get tedious and annoying.
So I decided there has to be a better way for us soccer moms. We need a survival guide. Here’s what I’m doing to make kid’s soccer season a little more fun for me.
1. Set up carpool. Parking is often miserable at the field and kids often have to be at games early for practice and pep talks. So carpool it up! It’ll give you a little extra time and maybe save you a bit of that stress.
2. Arrange a playdate or babysitter for little sibs. Your toddler or baby will be far happier at home and you won’t miss the entire soccer game because you were chasing him across the field.
3. Make sure to eat something. If I’m spending a day hauling my kids to and from soccer matches, I’m making sure to feed myself along the way.
4. Take a time out, if you need one. If you miss some of the game because you were checking out Facebook, grabbing a coffee, or taking a walk around the field, so be it. Your child will still live a happy life. Remember, you’re a soccer mom, not a prisoner.
5. Bring a book. Sometimes, I’m stuck at the field while the kids are practicing. I never find time to read at home. But down time waiting for soccer to end is a great time catch up on that book that’s been taking you a year to finish.
6. Delegate the work. Share the responsibility with the hubs. Your dude can handle it. And if he can’t, he’ll figure it out.
7. Make friends with another soccer parent or two. There’s usually a fun parent in every group, so find her. Having someone to chat with will make your day less tedious.
8. Drink water, or whatever gets you through the day. You’ll be baking in the sun for hours at all those soccer practices and games so make sure you’re not just bringing water for your kiddo, but yourself as well. And if you want to slip a little rose into that water bottle, no judgment here.
9. Ignore the pressure to act like the other parents. Some soccer parents treat kid’s soccer like it’s the Super Bowl and they scream from the sidelines like their life depends on it. You don’t have to do that.
10. Don’t worry about entertaining siblings. If dad’s not available and you can’t schedule a playdate, cart the little (or big) sibling with you and let him be entertained by what’s happening on the field. Bring the iPad for back-up, just in case.
11. Make your kid commit to the sport. If I’m going to spend my time shuttling to and from the soccer field, they’re going to participate while we’re there — and practice a little every day.
12. Don’t force your kid to play the next year. If they hate it, they don’t have to play next season, but they do have to finish the season we’ve signed up for.