It’s another 90-degree Los Angeles day. I close my eyes. Not because I’m enjoying the sun or having a meditative moment. I’m closing my eyes because I’m sitting on a grassless field watching my son play AYSO soccer. There’s enough dust to fill the Sahara. I look away to avoid getting it in my eyes.
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I sit for a while with my eyes closed. This allows me ample time to mentally count how many more weekends I have to endure doing this, this meaning watching soccer while baking in the sun on a grassless field.
I hear one Dad shout, “Your son scored a goal!”
I open my eyes and see my son standing near the goal. I see the ball in the goal. I hear the “Chariots of Fire” theme-song in my head and picture my son getting recruited to play on an All-Star club team because he’s just that good. Sport aren’t exactly my kid’s gift. Maybe this year, he’s turned a corner.
“Way to go, buddy!” I yell. I’m so excited I high-five myself.
My son looks my way. “Did you see it?” he yells half-crying.
“Totally. That was great. You scored!” I say.
“I accidentally scored a goal for the other team!” my son says before breaking into tears. “Weren’t you watching?”
I went into this soccer season trying to be different. I vowed not to be Queen Eyeroll. And I promised myself I wouldn’t pawn the games off on my husband while I stayed home and dry-humped the air conditioner. I’d be an enthusiastic, energized part of the soccer sideline community. And I was, for about ten minutes of the first game.
And then I got tired from all the cheering. I don’t have a good voice for cheering. It’s weak, thin and at best sounds like a Bar Mitzvah boy who got angry at a sporting event. Plus, I’m allergic to all that enthusiasm.
Why must we cheer anyway? Our kids can’t hear us. Are we cheering so we get a good grade in parenting, because I think spending our weekends baking in the sun without a cocktail takes care of that.
So ten minutes into game 1, I stopped cheering.
This is not the least of my failings as a soccer mom. It gets worse.
I never have the right supplies, like that fold-up chair the professional soccer moms have.
And the visor.
They always have the right visor. I just have my scowl coupled with my ability to sit Indian-style behind an overweight person so part of their body blocks the sun from my face. But I really should get a visor.
I rarely bring my kid cold water. Isn’t field-temperature adequate? The Jews walked 40 years in the desert without ice. My son can go an hour.
I don’t always watch the game and I rarely know what’s happening. I mean I watch, I just don’t watch every moment. So yeah I can miss things like my kid scoring a goal for the other team or being a reliable witness when the kid with impulse control issues take a few players down with his elbow, but I do know what’s happening on Facebook.
I hate being snack mom.
Honestly, I hate it.
One, I don’t understand why the kids need a snack. The game is sixty minutes long and every child has undoubtedly eaten more pre-game food than a world champion marathoner before a race.
And two, being snack mom is just too much pressure. This shit keeps me up at night. I don’t want my kid to be the one whose mom brought everyone a walnut and some dehydrated mangoes. That said I don’t really want to be the mom whom the other moms refer to as, “The one brought Red Dye #7 for snack.”
Being snack mom is a lose/lose situation.
This would all be fine except every other mom seems to love being a soccer mom. They love the weekday practice and it seems to fit easily into their schedules. They plan their weekend around the game. And if their child has other siblings playing soccer, the family spends their day at the field and seems thrilled that their picnic lunch was shared with the homeless man urinating nearby.
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Good soccer moms come to the game even when their husband does, unlike Justin and I who arm wrestle to see who gets to stay home while our little one naps versus the one who has to take the big one to soccer and miss the opportunity to watch TV and be comfortable at home.
Being a soccer mom certainly isn’t the first Mom-job I’ve failed at since giving birth. I was terrible at being a blissed out new mom, which is where I really mastered the eyeroll. I hated talking nap schedules and parenting philosophies. My only parenting philosophy was survival.
I’m not a good park mom and don’t force my kids to share their shit. That, and I always point out the kids with runny noses who are really sick despite their moms insisting it’s teething.
I’m a terrible playdate mom in that I rarely do them.
I’m a decent volunteer mom, but ask me to bake and I’m out.
And I don’t really care if my kid is ever good at any sport, including soccer. He just has to try hard and play with enthusiasm, which he does.
I tell my son this as we’re driving home after the game. He’s heartbroken that he scored for the wrong team. “We lose every game because of me,” he says crying from the back of the car.
“That’s not true,” I tell him. “You’re all terrible. Not just you.”
“Really?” he says relieved. “We’re all bad?”
“Yeah, almost all of you.” I say, my eyes smiling at his in the rearview mirror.
“That’s so awesome,” he says. “I thought it was just me. I wish someone had told us how bad we were before. Then I wouldn’t have thought it was all my fault.”
“Nope. You’re all terrible,” I say as we pull into the driveway.
My kid bolts out of the car and runs inside to tell his dad the news.
I can hear him screaming to his dad, “Daddy, we’re all terrible! Mommy said so.”
“That’s so cool buddy,” Justin says.
Then he tells his Dad the story of how he kicked a goal for the wrong team. He’s not embarrassed, nor ashamed.
Maybe I’m not such a bad soccer mom after all.
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