I am just coming down off the thrill of my 12-year-old son Jonah’s first soccer game of the season.
I walked up to the sidelines with fold-up chair in hand, and a little skip in my step realizing how DIFFERENT this might be from my early years attempting to be a soccer mom.
The years where I failed miserably.
You see, my husband, who loved soccer (he says,) “second only to God” growing up, was eager to see his boys play soccer. So, when my first three were around four years old, we signed each of them up for AYSO. Aiming to raise up soccer stars, we got them all onto club teams as early as possible.
It may come as a surprise to some of you that indeed— I was a SOCCER MOM for a number of years.
We were still a beach-going family, but only around the soccer schedules.
And our soccer schedule was full-on: All three boys ended up on AYSO as well as club teams which meant that I was a busy woman. During these years my husband was still in his Medical Residency training, (or early in his hospital career years,) so– like many other soccer moms, I was ON MY OWN for most of the practices and a whole lot of games.
The bummer was, my boys were absolutely NOT INTO IT.
I suppose it was a combination of being pushed a little too hard (Dave will deny it, ) and simply not enjoying the sport, but whatever it was—they fought it tooth and nail. Sure, there were a few positive moments, but in general, it was rough on all of us. I’m pretty sure they had the natural ability to be good soccer players, but due to disinterest, they never performed well in games. (Unless you count cartwheels and daisy-picking performance, then they did alright.) As far as I could see, there as a lot of effort, and very little reward in our family’s soccer playing experience.
There were tears before practice, and more tears before games. I remember schlepping three grumpy boys to HOT soccer fields, trying to be a good mom, but bitter as I could be that I had to do this. Dave assured me that in time they would love the sport like he did, and they would thank us.
Except they didn’t.
And even worse: As Soccer MOM: I was an epic failure.
I would get the boys to the field before realizing that they forgot their ball, or had only one shoe. We lost jerseys, and wore the wrong colored socks.
I often showed up at the wrong field. And I was the mom always calling the coach (who only had a hundred things to manage) as I wandered our huge soccer complex looking for which field we were supposed to be at. Thirty minutes ago.
Sometimes I forgot about practices, and sometimes I pretended to forget about practices. (Shhh.)
Oh–and to really win the worst soccer mom ever prize–More than once, I FORGOT MY SNACK DAYS. If your kids play soccer, then you know the DISGRACE of a mom MISSING her snack day. Those other families would have jumped at the chance to vote me off the island. Or at least the team.
I don’t blame them:
I was useless.
And if you’re a soccer mom, then you know that it isn’t nearly as easy as it looks. Especially when the kids are little. There is a lot to remember, and a great deal of patience required to do this soccer-momming thing well. I’d say to be a GOOD Soccer Mom is about 80% natural giftings, and 20% intense training in the field. I didn’t have the natural giftings, and I wasn’t excited for the field training.
I never seemed to have my own shade so I was always trying to squeeze in with the “organized” families who came “prepared” for the games…Whether I knew them or not. (No shame, I was hot.)
Then I’d be asking to borrow their sunscreen, and maybe even needed to refill my bottle from their massive water jugs (overachievers,) because if I can’t remember snacks for the team, you don’t really think I remembered to bring extra water do you?
Yeah, I was an absolute SOCCER MOM FAILURE.
What’s funny is, I remember talking to one of my friends whose boys were about five years beyond mine. She would sound all giddy on soccer game days saying “I just LOVE soccer days! I get to sit and watch and it’s really a relaxing time!” Surely something was wrong with her. She must not have a life at all.
I only associated soccer game days with sweat and failure.
Through these years of hating my soccer mom life, our boys began to surf more and more, and we ended up missing quite a few soccer tournaments due to surf contests. And I would sit on the beach just smiling at the fact that at any moment–I could actually jump in the ocean to cool off. And I didn’t have to remember snacks for any little brats but my own. (And they were used to me forgetting snacks. No one had died yet.)
I loved the beach life, and I was the happiest person on earth THE DAY THAT ALL THREE of my boys announced that they simply DID NOT WANT TO PLAY SOCCER ANY MORE. AT ALL.
I think Dave had seen it coming, but he still took it hard. Having three sons that refused to play soccer simply dashed some of his Dad-dreams. How could this be?
But as he watched them compete on the water, his pain was dulled, and before we knew it–the thought of soccer seemed like a long-distant memory.
I loved this life of raising little surfers so much…and if I’m honest, choosing to call my blog the GROMMOM was in some ways a tribute to my pathetic attempts at being a Soccer Mom.
I had finally found something I could do reasonably well.
Not that I was great at remembering sunscreen, or the extra fins or leashes, but my boys were getting older and could do a lot of that for themselves. Most importantly—I usually made it to surf contests on time, and when I did fail, at least I was only failing my own little punks and not a whole team of them. And their overachieving moms.
Being a GROMMOM fit me so much better than SOCCERMOM, and I embraced this new phase in life for a few happy years…
Until our middle son (what is it with those middle children!?) one day decided THAT HE CHANGED HIS MIND.
He wanted to try soccer again.
What the what?
Remember Son–That chapter is closed. Sorry.
But no. He really did want to, and his friends were doing it, and “Remember Mom–I was really good at soccer back then–I just didn’t have any friends on the team!”
Oh, so this is all about YOU and your happiness, and your FRIENDS?
But what about ME and my utter inability to be a SOCCER MOM? Did you ever consider that young man?
It was too late: Jonah was determined to play soccer, and being the sacrificially loving mother that I aim to be, I said we could give it a shot.
Dave tried to hide a very big smile from me, and I was reminded that God sure does have a sense of humor.
****ALL OF THAT is the background story which leads us all up to TODAY: Jonah’s first soccer game of the season…
And my walking up to the field, HOPING that I might have matured since those early Soccer Mom years. I just might now be a more organized (sort of) woman, one who felt ready for a SECOND CHANCE AT being SOCCER MOM.
I actually got Jonah to the field EARLY, and I had sunscreen in my bag. (BAM!)
It’s true that I did have to run to 7-11 during the warm-ups for extra water and snacks for the rest of the kids and I, but hey–I’m just getting started. Baby steps.
And I did not bring an umbrella, but IT TAKES A VILLAGE REMEMBER and my friend Mele had a large one, which of course she loved sharing with us. Especially as I leaned in next to her with my sticky arms just occasionally slathering her with my Soccer Mom perspiration. What are friends for?
In his grace, the coach did NOT assign me snacks for the first half of the season (I’m wondering who told,) so I’m almost certain that by my snack day I’ll be like a pro. Heck, I’ll probably do something fancy on my snack day. Fancy snacks. I believe in me, gosh darn it.
I sat there waiting for the game to start, smiling, and thinking of that friend that I used to think was crazy. And I had a teensie tiny vision of actually enjoying soccer game days like she did. The kids are older now. Jonah can remember his own ball and shin guards, and my job might become much simpler. Maybe even FUN.
I was also feeling quite pleased with the new Adidas tank top that I wore to the game in an eager attempt to look the part of a TRUE SOCCER MOM today. Dressing the part counts for something. (Funny thing though–none of the other moms were wearing soccer-themed apparel. I’m pretty sure they’ll catch on. Perhaps I’ll become a soccer mom trend setter.)
The game turned to be amazing–Our team won– with Jonah scoring an incredible goal in the LAST SECONDS of the game–nailing it smack in the upper left hand corner of the goal…
My heart stopped as I watched him toss his head back with eyes closed , and punch his hands into the air in utter joy and amazement.
And I–I reached my sweaty arm over to my friend Mele’s, and I cried tears.
Tears of having come full circle…Tears of being SO happy for my son…Tears of truly believing that I don’t HAVE TO FAIL at being a soccer mom anymore.
And (if I’m honest–) maybe some tears of knowing that I will be doing this MANY MANY MORE TIMES in the future…
I quietly asked God to forgive me for all of the grumbling and complaining of years gone by. For judging those other Soccer Moms simply out of my own insecurities. And I decided that as much as I must carry on with my role as GROMMOM, I will proudly add to that title…
Because Soccer Moms ROCK.
With much ALOHA,
Grommom (AKA Soccer Mom)
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