Raising Needham: The Evolution of a Soccer Mom
Whether it is soccer, t-ball or football, every parent goes through an evolution as they watch their child participate in team sports.
I’m a soccer mom. There, I said it.
I am the same soccer mom I used to talk about when I was twentysomething and swore I’d never become. Although, I am a cool soccer mom, as are many of us out there, and I am sure we could teach those twentysomethings a thing or two about moving on with your life and still having a life.
Now that I am the mom taxi, taking my kids to all of their various extracurricular activities, I thought I would at least do it with style. But what kind of style would that be?
My evolution started gradually with my daughter playing soccer as a four-year-old in a very kid friendly, no game, all activities sort of way. I have to say, I almost felt cheated. Where were the folding chairs, hot coffee, uniforms and daddy coaches? I drifted through that phase with both kids and thought my soccer mom days would have to wait.
Then finally, after two years of waiting, it was go time. We signed my daughter up for “real” soccer with “real” daddy coaches (my husband being one of those) and “real” soccer moms watching in folding chairs and hot coffee and uniforms and obnoxious parents screaming for their kids... Wait—that came later.
At first, I was just thrilled to see my daughter get so excited about playing a team sport, to meet new people (still feeling a bit like the new girl in town) and to watch my husband engage in the age old tradition of daddy coaching. We all showed up bright and early that first Saturday dressed in layers and ready to have some soccer fun. I set up my folding chair and, with my son on my lap, cheered on my daughter in her first “real” soccer game.
The few parents that were there (yes it was cold) sat quietly and clapped with respect for both teams. High fives were given out like candy and smiles were abound. I was in heaven. Even my son who was itching to play sat and watched patiently knowing some day he would be the one receiving the cheers and high fives. The daddy coaches playfully encouraged their teams to spread out on the field and talk to their teammates and occasionally reminded the players which goal to kick to. I was a blissful soccer mom and I looked forward to Saturday mornings like a new mom looks forward to two hours of uninterrupted sleep.
This went on for a few weeks until suddenly one Saturday morning my four-year-old son perched happily on my lap said, “Mom, you’re screaming in my ear!” Huh? Me? Screaming? I patted him on his back, hoping it was just a moment of excitement for my daughter. After all, she had scored two goals against a team of all boys. What mom wouldn’t scream?
But he kept saying it over and over, and then my husband looked at me in a “Babe, put a lid on it” way. Was I turning into that obnoxious parent so many of us (yes, you, too) talk about and hope to God we do not become? I downed some water and started chatting with a calmer parent and hoped my moment of soccer mom insanity would calm. I swore that would be the end of my overzealous screaming from the sideline days.
It wasn’t, and I think I might be OK with that. I have decided it is OK to scream for your child as long as you also cheer for the other team when they make a great play or score a goal. That is the logic that is keeping me going these days, and we will see how long it lasts. I just get so excited, and I think that screaming is fair game as long as I don’t embarrass the kids or the daddy coach I have to live with.
So, for all of you new soccer moms out there, take heart that you aren’t the only one navigating these tricky waters. Do what you can to support your kids, have fun and try not to leave them needing any additional therapy.