Embracing my inner soccer mom

Before I became a mother, the term “soccer mom” conjured up images of an overly zealous mother who drove a mini-van with the little family stick figures on the rear window. When I heard people use the term “soccer mom” it never seemed to be a compliment. And as someone who is neither an athlete nor a sports fan, a soccer mom is the last thing I imagined I would be. Any yet, nearly a decade later here I am, a full-blown soccer mom driving all over Northern California in my SUV with my little stick figure family prominently displayed on my rear window.

How did I get here? Well, it started innocently enough. My husband and our preschooler were butting heads and I found myself caught in the middle. They needed something of their own; something that didn’t involve me. Soccer was it.

From the beginning my husband was all in, volunteering to coach a team of giggling 4 year-olds—a challenge that proved to be a little more difficult than he (or we) had anticipated. We kicked into problem-solving mode and were reading books, watching YouTube videos and talking to more seasoned coaches. And eventually, we found a way to make practices fun while also ensuring that the girls were learning basic soccer skills. I like, no need, order and so I found myself managing the team logistics. Soon this turned into becoming a full-fledged SYSA (Stockton Youth Soccer Association) volunteer—an age group coordinator to be exact. I found coaches, made teams and dealt with complaints. (Did I also mention that I can be a bit of a control freak?) Before I knew it, recreational soccer had turned into competitive soccer. And off we went.

If you are the parent of a student athlete, you know that this is exhausting and, often, thankless work. Who really wants to wake up at 4 AM on a Saturday to pack snacks and load the car? And yet, I do it willingly and usually without complaint. So why have I jumped into the role of soccer mom? A recent blog post “6 words you should say today” by Rachel Macy Stanford summed it up beautifully. At the end of the day I participate in this insanity because, “I love to watch you play.” I have grown to love soccer, not because I’ve developed an appreciation for the game but because I have developed an appreciation for what the game has given my daughter. Through the years I have watched her become more confident, assertive and silly both on and off the field; and so I enthusiastically and gratefully embrace my inner soccer mom.

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