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A Day As A Soccer Mom

I spent yesterday living as close to the life of a typical soccer mom as I have, and let me say, I was exhausted.

And I don’t think I’ll be enlisting any time soon.

A quick definition: a soccer mom – and I’m not making any judgments here – is a mom who is purely stay-at-home, with no outside job or even work-at-home job. A soccer mom, for the purpose of this essay, has the sole “job” of taking care of the kids and home. If you like or dislike the idea of soccer moms, or think that there’s more to life than that or no one with kids should ever want to do anything OTHER than that, please, let me say, this is not the place for that debate.

It’s just a light-hearted essay on how shepherding my kids kicked my butt.

The morning started with our early-rising practice in preparation for school starting, so we got up at 7:15. At 8:15, a friend of Maddie’s was dropped off at our house. At 9 a.m., we all got in the mini-van and picked up a friend of Cora’s and took the whole clan to a bounce house place. The twenty minutes in the car with all four girls was actually quite humorous, as I listened to the two sets of friends carry on entirely disparate conversations. I had to struggle to not yell, “Cora, can you speak more quietly? I’m trying to eavesdrop on Maddie!”

We hit the bounce house place at 9:30 and camped there for two hours. Twice the kids stopped for snack breaks and I broke out what I’d packed: string cheese, dried strawberries, water bottles, and crackers. I’d brought little Dixie cups to feed the kids so no one’s grubby hands were repeatedly dipping in a bag.

I refilled those cups more than a waitress at the Red Lobster’s All-You-Can-Eat Sunday buffet.

My job at the bounce house was relatively easy: guard the two entrance doors, watch for fights that might need refereeing, insist on regular group-wide potty breaks. And the waitress thing, of course. I tried to play with the girls and was met with blank, uncomprehending stares (guest kids) and pleading looks (my kids).

So I sat on my butt and guarded the exits. Which wasn’t bad. It felt, at times, like a job a monkey could do rather than an engaged, loving mother, but it was fine.

From there we headed over to a fast-food place for lunch. Don’t judge. On the drive over, all four girls gave me their orders – and insisted I repeat them back for accuracy – so they could go play in the play area while I stood in line for the food. Order given and fulfilled, table secured, kids rounded up and hand sanitized, we sat down to eat. Well, “sat down” is a relative term.

The first part of the meal I hovered the entire time, opening ketchup packets and splitting French fries and inserting straws and wiping up spills. By the time I was able to sit the first kid was done eating and barely containing herself while she waited for her friend. They all ran to play a few more minutes while I ate and cleaned up – I sat right in front of the play area window, don’t worry – before the mom of one of my guests showed up to pick up her daughter.

We took our remaining charge back home and played until 1:30, when her mom came to grab and go. At that point, we had two hours before Maddie had to get dressed for ballet class.

Everyone separated to their own corners, looking for some down time for just a bit. I caught up on email before the girls demanded my attention, and then I prepped dinner while they watched their daily video. A short flurry of potty breaks and wrestling legs into tights and hair into a bun, and we were off to ballet.

An hour later we ran home, I plated up dinner, and we scarfed down our meal. Why eat so fast? Because in an effort to let Maddie try new things, I scheduled ice skating on Thursdays as well. Just for a two-week overlap, but still.

Throw Maddie into cold-weather clothes, grab socks, drive to the rink. Watch while she practices, drive home, race through bedtime routine, and pray they stay in their rooms.

I was exhausted.

It’s not like I’ve never spent an entire break-free day with the girls: we’ve had lots of days where it’s just the three of us constantly together. And I’ve enjoyed it. Mostly. But I’ve never spent an entire day where I felt so necessary, but not necessarily for myself. The girls didn’t need me: they needed someone to drive them and cook for them and get their clean clothes out and stay back during a play date and . . . . and. . . . and. I felt indispensable and superfluous at the same time.

So I’ll never be the mom who lets her kids do five different activities at once, racing from piano to soccer to gymnastics. I enjoy – sometimes only intellectually – serving my kids. I do. But I want to be more involved – making brownies with them, or helping them through art projects – if I’m going to be on Mommy Duty an entire day. Does that make sense?

Am I crazy to even draw that line? I don’t know.

But I do know it’s not my thing. And my kids will just have to be ok with that.


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