Monday, September 10, 2012

On Not Being A Soccer Mom

 On Saturday morning, I spent a blissful two hours home alone.  I baked bread and I as sat, writing in my journal, I could small the sponge's yeast permeating through the house.  It was pure joy. Why was I home alone?  Because my husband took my daughter to her soccer game.  Was I enjoying being home alone?  Absolutely.  But this ritual, that happens every weekend during soccer season, comes at a price.  That price is the ugly comments from other women (and sometimes their husbands) who think I'm a terrible mother because I'm not a "soccer mom".

I won't say these comments don't hurt.  In fact, I don't there is anything you can do to a person that's worse then judging their ability to mother.  That being said, I also know I'm a good mother and that my decision to step back from soccer duty works for my family.  My daughter knows I support her interest in soccer.  I pack her excellent snacks and the morning of games we have a session of visualization and chant positive affirmations about how well she will play the game.  I also take her to practice when my husband can't and I go to a few of her games each season.  But I'm not there for every practice or every game and that works just fine for my family.

At our house (and most houses I think) a happy mommy makes a happy family and this mommy needs some time alone for resting.  Sure, I'm home alone during the week while my husband is at work and my daughter is at school, but I'm cleaning the house, running errands and trying to keep my craft design business alive.  The "soccer hours" are reserved for resting.  I read magazines, munch on bagels, or watch an old movie on television.  It's pure heaven and the weekends run smoothly and happily after a few hours of recharging.

Then there's our parenting belief that it's important for our daughter to know that both of her parents can take care of her on their own.  As the primary caregiver, she already knows I can handle her care.  If anything ever happened to her dad, she knows she would still eat, have activities, and be generally cared for and, because my husband takes care of her on outings like going to soccer, she knows that her dad can hold down the fort too.  When I was growing up, my father worked a lot.  I remember feeling that, if anything happened to my mom, things would not go smoothly.  As the oldest child, I often worried that the running of the house and my sibling would fall on my shoulders.  I have no idea if this is really true, but as a child, I had few examples of my dad taking care of us alone so, to me, those fears were very real.

The relationship my daughter is building with her dad during their soccer time together is also important to their interpersonal relationship.  My daughter and I have similar interests and a strong bond.  When the three of us are together, my husband (a quiet guy) often gets overpowered and left out.  When my daughter is alone with her dad, bonding over their common interest in soccer, a space opens up and allows them to connect.  That connection can't always be made when we are all together.

Now, I'm not saying being a soccer mom is a bad thing.  That might be the way other families bond and every family creates a dynamic that works best for them.  I'm just saying that, just because a family does something differently, doesn't mean it's bad.  We are all doing the best we can and we need to support one another, not judge.  I'm stepping off my soapbox now, but want you to know that whatever works for your family is okay.  We are all doing the best we can do and that's all that really matters.