Wisdom From The Sidelines: Don’t Be THAT Mom

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We are a sporty family.  We love sports.  We love to watch them, we love to play them, we even enjoy coaching them at times.  Athletics, sports, & fitness have always been a part of mine and my husband’s lives.  We were high school and college athletes, and are now physically active adults that enjoy recreational sports as well as coaching athletic teams.  As a result, our kids are sporty too. More than likely you will find one of us or all of us at an athletic event or practice most nights of the week.  

From baseball, to swim team, to track, to soccer, to flag football, we are there.  We choose to participate in multiple sports, sometimes at the same time, therefore we welcome the chaos that goes with it.  Blowing through a tank of gas as we zig-zag through town dropping off three boys at three different ball fields.  Eating random dinners in the van or at the given sporting event while craving the chance to dirty all of your pots and pans making a home cooked meal for once.  Sitting in the cold, wet rain in the middle of July dressed as if it were January.  We sign up for it. We know it’s not for everyone, but we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you are in and around sports, you see athletes doing amazing things.  Boys and girls working together for a common goal, forming friendships and memories as they win and lose together.  We also witness amazing things on the sidelines.  Sometimes amazingly funny or embarrassing.  Sometimes sad and upsetting.  

In the midst of the summer season of sports, I am prepared with all the umbrellas, folding chairs, coolers, and blankets.  I also have to remind myself not to be that mom.  You know, that mom that you see sitting at the ball field or in the bleachers who makes you cringe?  Yeah, that mom.  At times, we have all been that mom but we must work really hard not to be.

  • The cheerleader.  The mom who is the loudest one at every game, match or meet with the amazingly loud voice and whistle.  The one who is yelling “go Timmy go” at a swim meet every time Timmy comes up for air.  Mom, Timmy cannot hear you.  We can hear you but he can’t.  Wait until the event is over and clap. I asked my son if he can hear his coaches or teammates while he is swimming and his answer is always no.  And they are on the pool deck!   This applies to the soccer field, the basketball court, the football field and the baseball diamond.  Cheer for Timmy when he makes a good play or scores.  But aside from that, don’t try and communicate with Timmy while he is playing.
  • The fashionista.  Generally the weather or climate at most athletic activities is hot, cold, wet, cold, dirty, cold, sweaty, cold, messy, cold.  You understand, right?  The ball field or bleachers is not the place for your best pants suit and pumps.  Nor is it really a good place for that coordinating yoga pants/gym-casual outfit that you just bought at Lululemon or Athleta.  I love sporty clothes, really I do because I too would wear it in a heart beat, but you aren’t going to be working on your downward facing dogs or doing air squats.  Seriously, capri pants or leggings and a t-shirt please.  Layers.  Wear layers.  Why is it that we insist that the children dress in layers and always have “a long sleeve” just in case but then we show up in a hoodie when its 40 degrees and windy?  Ladies, I understand that you might be rushing from work and can’t stop at home to change.  Pack an outfit with you and change before you get in your car!  You will probably stop and pee because I know you DO NOT want to pee in the porta-potty sitting in center field, so change then. Nothing is worse than being cold and uncomfortable when you’d rather be watching your kids play!
  • “Super snack” mom.  For some reason, there is an intense fear that our children will burn all of their calories while they are picking dandelions in center field and running the bases once every 10 minutes.  Therefore, we must provide a snack and an electrolyte replacement.  I am all for snacks and water when it is 95 degrees out and every one is dying.  I question how can some families will spend well over $15 for snacks and drinks for the team.  But it gets expensive fast to provide enough snacks for the team as well as, inevitably, siblings.  I also hate the pressure that I feel sometimes to make sure I bring a “cool” snack.  I realize that I place this pressure on myself but have you ever watched the snacks week by week?  Some years it has been comical to see parents try to “one up” each other with snacks. Pretzels, chips, fruit (yes, fruit) or even fruit snacks. Water, no Gatorade….just water.  Nothing fancy, keep it simple because we are trying to stick to a budget over here!
  • “Attached to their device” mom.  Put your phone down.  Your child’s athletic abilities do not need to be displayed, instantly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Nothing is more important that seeing your kid smack a double into the gap or make an amazing play in center field. Don’t to miss it because you were checking Facebook.   You can check the weather as you watch the dark clouds roll in but put your phone away while the game is on.  And honestly, no tablets or iPads for siblings.  Cheer your sibling on or just go play! 
  • “Coach/referee” mom.  This is probably a good blog post on it’s own but here is a few things that need to be said.  It is incredibly important that everyone who attends youth sports remember what their roles are during a game.  We have coaches to coach the game and we have referees/officials to call the game.  We have players to play and we have to spectators to watch the game.  As a parent, my role consists of watching the game and providing support for my child AND the other players.  ‘Providing support’ does not mean screaming at refs in disbelief, throwing your hands in the air when a player makes a mistake, or displaying terrible body language.  I know it can be a roller-coaster of thought and feelings watching your kids competing against other kids, but parents must be able to control their emotions.  Why?  Little eyes.  Little eyes are always watching us, learning. 

Don’t be that mom.


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