Mom and Dad's investment in soccer is not just money. It's shopping for stuff, replacing stuff, cleaning stuff, picking up stuff, vacuuming the lawn of dead grass and astro turf bits that multiply in corners, cleaning scuff marks from car footwells, cleaning scuff marks from walls, scooping up a never ending tide of water bottles, and patching up boo boo's. It's choosing not to do something we want to do in favor of driving, fighting traffic, sitting (or sleeping) in parking lots, talking with people we don't necessarily like and wouldn't choose to hang out with, getting rained on, shivering under blankets, and rooting till our voices crack for movements we don't understand. Some do, of course, but many moms and dads don't really understand the game. Providing a better understanding of the game and the soccer ecosystem is, of course, one of the reasons The Soccer Sidelines was created.And, in the interest of fairness, it's not just the soccer moms doing all of this work. I see a lot of both moms and dads on the sidelines over the weekends, but I suspect it's the soccer moms as a general rule, who tend to find themselves doing a lot of this. I might make reference to "soccer mom," but I'm really referring to anyone who takes on this role. Motherhood is a great honor and privilege yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awake at night nursing a baby spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers or preparing meals moms continuously put others before themselves.Charles StanleyThe BurdensIf the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that we have one, then I think we have an opportunity to admit a few things here. Mom's and dads might not consider what they do a burden. Our kids are, after all, the whole reason we get to wear the parent title, and being a parent is not something any of us would give up. The activities we do for our kids, however, are not always as enjoyable as they could be. I'm not going to make a claim that when you're done listening to this episode, that you will suddenly enjoy sleeping in a parking lot, but I will do my best to at least frame some of our burdens in a way that is easier to accept. AppreciationThe first of the burdens I'd like to draw attention to is simultaneously one of the easiest ones and one of the hardest ones we can address. The soccer mom uber is under appreciated. It's not hard to say "thank you for driving me," or "thanks for taking me shopping," or "thanks for cleaning up the mess I left today." However, it is hard to remember to say those things - especially when no one is going to remind us to do so. A "thank you..." goes a really long way. Sometimes, it's all that is needed to show appreciation and give mom or dad the energy to get up the next day and do it all over again. Never underestimate the power of gratitude!If you are one of my listening audience who doesn't stand a snowball's chance in a broiler of ever getting a thank you, I have a gift for you. Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for paying the bills. Thank you for registering on time. Thank you for driving; for doing the shopping; for sacrificing your car; for cleaning up pounds of dirt, grass, and astroturf; and for cheering for our kids to succeed. Thank you for doing the research to find this or that, for putting up with people you don't like, and for cleaning up wounds. Thank you for doing the laundry, making sure kids drink plenty of fluids, and that bellies are filled with food. Thank you for smiling when you know you don't want to. Thank you for freezing in the cold and sweating in the heat. Thank you for choosing our kids over reading a good book, riding your bike, or swimming laps. Thank you for being the person on the sidelines who makes it all happen!VolunteeringThere are two main ways to run a program. The first is using paid labor (and paying a lot).
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