My boys are getting ready to start their seventh season of soccer, which makes me a card-carrying soccer mom. Even when the alarm goes off early on Saturday morning and even when I remember it's my turn to bring snacks an hour before the game, I've never been sorry we signed our kids up for soccer. Participation in sports is good for our kids on so many levels: it promotes physical fitness and an active lifestyle, helps them learn how to be a member of a team and it’s just an all-around fun game. I've prepared a list of a few things every soccer mom knows. Whether you're a newbie or a vet, I hope these soccer mom tips and soccer mom hacks will (hopefully) get your season off to a great start.
1. THINGS EVERY SOCCER MOM KNOWS – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHAIR
The chair is functional…it’s a place to park your rear end for the duration of a soccer game or soccer practice. These events usually do not exceed an hour, so unless there’s a medical reason you can’t endure prolonged standing, you won’t die or suffer if you don’t have a chair.
But you’ve got to have a chair.
The right chair is a status symbol. Your chair reflects your level of parental commitment to your child’s sport. Nothing screams “I really want to be here and I’m in it to win it” like a double seater folding chair with cup holders, a built in cooler and clip on umbrellas.
2. CHAIRS ARE IMPORTANT BUT IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT THE SNACKS
Kids burn off a lot of energy running around and a post-practice or post-game snack is a necessity. Besides, snacks are just fun. Who doesn’t like snacks?
Snacks just aren’t for the kids, though. All the running around and cheering from the sidelines can cause soccer moms (and soccer dads!) to work up an appetite. We need to stay fueled to cheer our soccer kids on…and to keep up with all the laundry.
I’m not a fan of complicated soccer snacks, because who has time for all that? I like these RITZ Bits Cracker Sandwiches. They come in convenient multi-packs, so it’s easy to stock up, so grab some extras and share these NABISCO mulitpacks with the other parents on the sidelines. Sure, the kids are out on the field working hard, but parents work hard, too, and need to refuel.
If you have that “Oh Crap” moment and realize you're supposed to bring snacks the night before your kid's game, Shipt can bail you out. It's saved my bacon more than once and you can put instructions to your shopper to leave the parcels on your porch if you don't want them to ring your doorbell early or late.
3. OKAY, MAYBE IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT THE WAGON
If you’re a soccer mom without a wagon, I seriously question your commitment to your child’s sport.
But seriously, one of these babies is a must-have for any soccer mom. It holds the metric ton of gear we need to transport to practices and games and is so much easier to maneuver around than any tote bag.
During soccer season, our wagon stays loaded and ready to go in the garage but this also makes a great beach/pool/shopping/party wagon as well. I’m waiting to find them on sale because I’m totally getting a second one.
This is the wagon we have…we've gotten our money's worth out of it for sure:
4. YOU’LL TAKE AN AVERAGE OF 73 PICTURES OF YOUR CHILD IN ACTION PER GAME
Soccer moms are always trying to get “the perfect action shot” for Instagram
Also, you will get (and share) “the perfect action shot” every time your kid has an event. Don’t forget your “hashtag soccer mom” and “hashtag mom life” in the captions.
Manners are important in general, but every soccer mom knows that it’s important to say thank you to the coach. Your child’s soccer coach is most always a volunteer and probably one of the parents of the other kids on the team who had absolutely no idea what he (or she) was getting into at the time they said “Sure, I’ll coach! That’s a great idea!”
Tell the coach thank you after every practice and every game. It matters. And, don’t forget the coach’s wife (or husband) or the parents who bring snacks. There are probably many parents involved in making sure things come together for your child’s team.
Just say thanks. And mean it. And smile. And, this isn't just something to file under “things every soccer mom knows.” This is a good rule of thumb for any youth sports…and life in general.
6. SHIN GUARDS ARE STINKY
A piece of plastic that’s trapped under a knee-length sock while your small human runs around and sweats for an hour plus is going to smell bad. Really, really bad.
Soccer gear is generally stinky and every good soccer mom is sort of used to that. I shudder to think at what their soccer gear is going to smell like in a few years when it's already this bad. P to the U.
7. BUY SPORTS EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING WHEN YOU SEE IT
Kids outgrow their cleats in a blink…and you usually figure that out at the most inopportune time. No soccer mom likes hearing that their kid’s toes are doubled over inside their cleats 10 minutes before the game but the fact is, our small humans are, well…getting less small.
We buy a lot of our kids’ soccer equipment at thrift stores. If you frequent thrift or consignment stores on the regular, do a pass through the sporting goods section or check out the kid’s sports clothes and shoes. You might not need those pristine condition, two sizes too big cleats right now, but you will need them (and probably sooner than you think.)
You can get some great deals buying clothes and equipment second-hand, but second hand or not, the general rule is, if you see it, grab it. The first year my boys played soccer, we struck out at four different stores trying to find black shorts without pockets in their size.
8. EARLY MORNING GAMES ARE BETTER THAN LATE MORNING GAMES
Yes, we can find plenty to grumble about when it comes to early morning soccer games. First, they’re…well, early. Early Saturday morning soccer games are probably going to have an impact on what your family does on Friday night. Weekends are supposed to be about rest and downtime (yeah, right) and getting up, dressed, fed and watered, and organized in time to be out the door for your kid’s 9:00 a.m. game doesn’t really scream rest and downtime.
While it sucks to get up early on Saturday, getting out early and knocking things out are actually advantageous to your mom schedule. An early morning soccer game won’t interfere with birthday parties, hair appointments or whatever else you have planned for your Saturday. While a 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. game might initially seem more palatable, the later morning games actually mess with your schedule more.
I know…no one likes being up and out early on Saturday but early morning soccer games will give you more hours in the day. If you’re finished with your soccer mom duties before 10 a.m., then you’ve got so much time to accomplish all the weekend things, right?
9. SOCCER CAN CONSUME YOUR ENTIRE SCHEDULE
Every soccer mom knows that you’ll plan other activities, family calendars and shopping around soccer. One practice and one game each week doesn’t seem like a huge commitment but most moms today are overscheduled and, in general, maxed out. I don’t regret having our kids play soccer for an instant. It’s done wonders for their confidence, coordination, and general life skills.
That said, it’s taken up more of my time that I’d initially expected.
10. YOU’LL REALIZE YOUR LITTLE PELE IS PRETTY AMAZING
No matter what level your child plays at, watching them play the game fills you with pride. It makes the crazy schedules, early mornings and stinky shin guards all worth it. Well…maybe not the stinky shin guards but everything else.