It’s late on a Wednesday afternoon and as I head home after a full day of work, I’m mentally psyching myself out for what is coming next. My sons have baseball and soccer practice — on fields about a mile apart — at the same exact time. My husband has youth group on Wednesday afternoons, so sports practices and games are all me, along with watching our rambunctious 5-year-old daughter.
I take a shortened lunch break to get off early, and as I drive to church for the handoff from their dad, I’m running through the steps in my head. I’ll drop Calum off about 10 minutes early to soccer practice. His coaches are always there early. He’s 9, so he doesn’t mind that his mom isn’t on the sidelines. Then I’ll zip over the baseball complex for Patrick’s practice. In the scenario in my head, there is never traffic. The kids are always cooperative. We have plenty of snacks and warm clothes in the car. Sometimes, I hear the “Mission Impossible” theme song playing in my head. I am Super Mom.
But on this particular Wednesday, the song quickly fades and the cape flutters away in the breeze as I arrive at church to get the kids. Baseball mitt, baseball bat and soccer socks have all been forgotten at home. It’s a 20-minute round-trip drive home — and practice starts in 10 minutes. Grumpily, I race home to get forgotten sports equipment. I can still do this. But halfway back to town, I realize we also don’t have water bottles. (Deep breath). So I get to the soccer field, wrestle shin guards and socks into place, lace up shoes and send the first boy off to practice. Then we head to baseball, where my middle child is now very late. We sprint to the right field and apologize profusely to the coach. Then I drag my now-disgruntled 5-year-old, who wants to stay and play with all the other little sisters, to the store to buy water bottles. We drop one off at soccer and then back to baseball. But by then it was time to go right back and pick my oldest up from soccer. I’ll admit that by now, I’m cursing my husband, spring sports in general, and have lost my temper with my daughter more times than I should say.
Once practices are done, I’m too tired to worry about dinner. So we grab fast food and I promise myself that it’ll be better next time. But with two kids in sports at the same time, it’s really never easy. Most weeks we have more than a half dozen practices and/or games. Often times overlapping. That in additional to work, school, church, homework, chores, drum lesson, and everything else.
My son asked his little sister this week when she was going to start playing a spring sport. I cringed. I have no idea what I’m going to do if she wants to play something next year. We made her take a break from ice skating lessons until soccer and baseball are finished this year.
What I’d really like to know is how other parents with three-plus kids or single parents with multiple kids do this. I’m a pretty good multi-tasker, but spring sports season makes me feel like a complete failure.
I’ve read a few other mom bloggers writing about sports with big families. Some employ the all-in-one approach, where all kids play the same sport. We’ll be doing that with hockey this winter. Unfortunately, they’re all at different levels, so it will mean some long days at the ice rink. Some families limit the number of kids in sports at the same time. Our boys are pretty passionate about baseball and soccer, so I couldn’t make one sit out a season.
For now, we’re powering through, boycotting the occasional practice for the sake of our sanity, and enlisting the help of friends and family when needed. But I’m starting to think that there is an amazing business opportunity waiting out there for the right person: Rent-A-Soccer-Mom.