When I was expecting my first child, he would kick my belly, and I’d get comments from family members and friends.
“With kicks like those, he’s gonna be a soccer player.”
I’d shrug it off, while secretly hoping their prediction was right.
My husband is a great soccer player, and I have two sisters who played soccer in college. As for me? Well, let's just say that these feet were made for running.
As my little boy got older, my husband and I would buy soccer jerseys and equipment. And, boy, did our little guy love it. There was no need to push. He was dribbling a soccer ball while learning to walk.
The boy’s first word was "ball," for goodness sake!
I began to imagine taking him to soccer games and proudly wearing the coveted “soccer mom” badge of honor.
Yes, I wanted to be a soccer mom.
For years, I had seen minivans with “soccer mom” bumper stickers. I’d follow closely (but not too closely) hoping their coolness would somehow rub off on me.
I’d seen soccer moms in movies and on commercials. They always seemed so well put together, with their hair done up nicely and the cooler perfectly packed with juice boxes and thinly sliced oranges.
I looked forward to the day when I would be that mom.
Well, folks, that wish did come true, and it was quickly multiplied by four. Yes, I am the proud mom of four soccer players. With three in club soccer and one in city league, I am here to say that TV is wrong.
Being a soccer mom is not glamorous.
What the media portrayals forget to add is the part about the mom sleeping in because it’s a Saturday, only to remember that it is a Saturday! She then hurries to get the kids ready for each game, frantically looking for matching socks, then tearing her fingers apart trying to pull those darn socks up and over her wiggly son’s shin guards.
What they neglect to show is that the snacks packed in the cooler were not actually packed in a cooler, but in a grocery sack, with the receipt stuck to the bottom of the yogurt box. And those orange slices were not actually oranges … they were Sunny D's, purchased on the way to the soccer game.
And the bumper sticker manufacturer failed to remember the fine print that should say, “Proud Soccer Mom: who couldn’t do it without other ‘proud soccer moms’ who are also running themselves ragged.”
Furthermore, nobody ever seems to make mention of practices. … Oh, the practices.
Then there’s the fact that every open space, by default, becomes a soccer goal — under the table, between the chairs … through my legs!
Now, as I watch a show depicting a perfectly quaffed soccer mom, I just laugh and file it under the comedy section of my media library because that is some funny stuff.
And when I see a fellow soccer mom driving her minivan, I still follow closely, but quickly move to the side, gain eye contact and give her a well-deserved thumbs-up.
Being a soccer mom is no picnic. It is hard work, extremely tiring, but even more rewarding. I wear my “soccer mom” badge proudly because I have most definitely earned it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is my turn to drive car pool.
Arianne Brown is a mother of 6 and a lover of all things, even the common housefly. Her downtime is spent running the trails of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or search her Facebook page, "A Mother's Write."