You might be a sports mom if:
- Saturdays are spent at the field, gym, pool, etc.
- Your car smells like a middle school locker room.
- Your laundry basket is full of uniforms.
- You can’t commit to anything until you check your kids’ practice schedule.
I have been a sports mom for 12 years, and I have quite a few more years in my future. We parents make lots of sacrifices to have our kids in sports, but it’s so worth it to see them grow, learn new skills, make friends and find something they love playing.
Whether you’re a new sports mom or an experienced one, there are things we can all relate to.
10 Things Sports Moms Understand
1. Your kids’ sports schedule takes over your schedule.
It starts innocently enough with one weeknight practice and one weekend game. Then, before you know it, you are color coding your family calendar with multiple practices and weekend tournaments. My husband and I will sit down on Thursday night and figure out the logistics for multiple weekend games. Before Covid, we would set up carpools for practices, which was very helpful.
2. You feel like you need to take out a loan to cover your kids’ sports and activities.
When you have multiple kids playing sports or kids playing higher-level sports, it can get expensive! Rec sports are a great way to try out a sport for a reasonable price. For our older kids playing on club or travel teams, we have worked with the management and lowered our costs by offering up my husbands’ business airline miles for coaches’ flights or offered to help coach or coordinate certain things.
3. Coordinating dinner is a constant struggle.
This is a daily dilemma for me. We’ll have 2-3 practices a night during certain sports seasons, all during dinner time. Often, I make something in the crockpot, like meatballs or Italian sausage, that can be eaten from 4 p.m. on and are still warm for the kids who are not eating until after practice at 8 p.m.
4. The importance of having a well-stocked car.
As a sports mom, I spend a lot of time in the car taking kids to practices, games, and away tournaments. Having a well-stocked car is vital. In my car, I have a folding chair, a beach towel or two, trash bags for wet sports bags/uniforms, paper towels, umbrella, portable potty, snacks, water, phone chargers, books, and something that resembles a first aid kit.
5. You’re constantly on the lookout for bathrooms.
As a mom who has birthed many children and now has to pee every hour, the first thing I do when I get to a field or sporting event is to assess the bathroom situation. It is also why I bring a travel potty in the car.
6. Keeping siblings occupied during practice/games is hard.
I am always thankful when there is a playground next to a practice field or gym, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I come prepared with charged iPads or Kindles for games, reading, some screen time, card games like Spot It or Uno, a soccer ball or football, and a lot of snacks.
7. If you had a dollar for every time you heard, “Mom, where is my uniform?”
There’s nothing more terrifying for a sports mom than hearing 30 minutes before you need to leave for your kid’s game, “Mom, where is my uniform, socks, cleats, etc. . . ?” Even as an experienced mom, there are still some game days that I am running around tearing the house apart, looking for uniforms and gear. My advice is to have a dedicated place for sports uniforms/equipment, where your child can put it after each practice. I would also like to request that every sports jersey be reversible, so we are not looking through piles of laundry for the white jersey when we know where the blue one is.
8. SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY.
More sports equals more laundry. Some sports (I am looking at you, baseball) require special cleaning like keeping white pants white. Not only do you have to wash everything, but you need to keep track of it for the next game. I have a cabinet in our laundry room dedicated to uniforms. As soon as they are clean, that is where they go. I also involve my older kids in washing their uniforms and making sure they lay everything out before games.
9. Helping your child with big feelings pre- and post-game.
Sports can bring out lots of big feelings for kids and parents. Our job is to help our kids navigate them. We do a lot of listening and validating feelings. Many years ago, my husband and I made a pact that after each game, we would only say to our kids, “I love watching you play.” Our kids are always watching us, so we make sure we are appropriate on the sidelines, supportive of both teams and our coaches/referees.
10. You love watching them play.
It’s doubtful that any of my kids are destined for stardom, but I want them to love playing something. Soccer, tennis, lacrosse, violin, drama, whatever! We’ve learned over the years that they fall in and out of love with certain activities and that a 10-year-old is not a soccer player. We’re happy that they want to be active and enjoy the process of watching them grow, both as an individual, but also a teammate and friend.
Sports are a microcosm of life. They learn the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” in what we hope is a protected environment. Lots of teaching moments, but mostly hugs after hard days and more hugs on great days. It’s hard logistically for my family, it’s expensive for my family, but I wouldn’t trade the experiences my kids have had for the world.
Sports moms – what is missing from my list?