Before having kids, I’d always heard of people talking about soccer moms—those harried suburban women with a mini-van full of kids having to run back and forth transporting them from practices to games.
I wasn’t sure that would ever by me. But now, after having kids of my own, I’m not a soccer mom. Instead, I’m a softball mom and, at one point, when my son was playing, also a baseball mom.
Peak season in the springtime usually meant practice and/or games 2-3 days a week. That was busy enough but when you pull in games on the weekends, you can see your life getting chaotic and out of control.
So, on any given day, you have to pick up the kids from school, have them scarf down a quick snack, start on their homework, go to practice, get back home, cook them dinner, feed them, and then they have to shower, finish their homework and maybe, just maybe, you can get them to bed at a decent hour.
So, how do we help our children do all of this? The first thing you’re going to need is a giant calendar.
I know, apps work well, too. But for a lot of people, having a big physical calendar is still the best way to go so you can physically see it without opening your phone and going down the rabbit-hole of technology distractions.
List all the events you have as soon as you get the schedule. Put up the practice dates, games, and other school events and see if there’s going to be any time left for other events. You don’t want to over schedule yourself and burn out even more!
Include one very specific thing for you and your family—some quality family time.
Make sure that at least once a week you’re taking a break from all the insanity and spending time without any sports. Watch a movie. Have a quiet dinner together. Do whatever you can but enjoy yourself with your kids.
And lastly, remember that the crockpot can be your friend. You don’t have to kill yourself cooking on top of all the running around and shuttling that you have to do. A slow cooker can help you set up a nutritious meal without having to spend hours slaving behind the steering wheel and over the stove.
Here are must pack items to bring along with you to sport events:
I can’t say it enough: You’ve got to stay hydrated, no matter what you’re doing. Even if you think you’re just going to be sitting on the sidelines, remember that the sun can really sneak up on you and get you overheated.
And let’s face it—you aren’t just going to be sitting on the sidelines a lot. You’re going to be on your feet, running with the action, and yelling and cheering your kid on to victory.
Sporting event concession stands are notorious for being overpriced and full of unhealthy, sugary sodas and juices. Water will keep you hydrated during the games and keep your throat from drying out, so you can continue to yell your support. If your child runs off from the sidelines to join you, they’re also going to need plenty of water as well.
If you haven’t been to a sporting event for kids in a while, let’s cue you in on one big tip. Chances are the field will NOT have any kind of bleacher seats for you to use, and if they do, the seats are going to be hard metal that will kill your back.
Go ahead and head this off with some comfy captain’s chairs so you can sit in style. I personally like the type that folds up into the easy-to-carry bags and comes with a cupholder for your bottled water.
Soccer, baseball, and other outdoor sports can be brutal underneath the spring-time sun. You’re absolutely going to need shade to keep from roasting.
An absolute must-have is sunscreen. SPF 30 sunscreen will block 97% of the sun’s rays and SPF 50 will take that up just a notch to 98%.
Besides the sunscreen to ward off burns and potential skin cancer, stay safe while outdoors by also bringing an umbrella. (It can double to block out the sun but also to be on hand for any random thunderstorms.) A big floppy hat and a nice pair of sunglasses will round out your ensemble and keep you comfy during the game.
Getting ready for a kids’ sporting event should not require all the packing and preparation as if you’re getting ready to storm the beach at Normandy. But it does require some preparation so that you can be comfortable and safe during the game.