Monday, December 6, 2010

Soccer Mom for a Week

For the past week I have been acting as Soccer Mom for a friend who is vacationing in Hawaii for a week with her husband. It has been quite an experience taking responsibility for an 11, 14, and 17 year old. These kids are really great - not your typical crazy tweens and teens. Sam, Kelsey and Gerik are some of the smartest, most responsible, respectful and well-mannered kids I know. Kuddos to their great parents, Annie and Andy!

This past week has been an interesting experience that gave me a pretty realistic idea of the life of a parent. First of all, I realized the pressure of being responsible for other human beings and having them heavily depend on you. For example, if I oversleep and wake up at 7:00am instead of 6:00am, then someone might miss her carpool and the first 10 mins of gym class (sorry about that Kelsey – I guess I’m just not used to waking up that early). Or if the kids have soccer practice and friends invite you to dinner, you’ll just have to catch up with your friends another time. After all, your schedule isn’t really your own anymore. Also, the kids expect you to remain calm and make clear decisions (even when you’re still half asleep) in unexpected situations such as one of them getting sick to the stomach at 3:30am and needing medical attention and a little comfort. Even after they’ve headed to school and you’re at work, if one of them throws up after “over-running” in gym class (yet proudly breaking his personal running record) you’re going to get a call asking you to pick your sick child up from school. And just when you thought you were done with homework forever, a kid who worked hours on a book report might accidently lose the document and need your help retyping it and printing it out successfully.

I also learned to walk the thin line between having a good time with your kids and flat out embarrassing them. I dropped little Sam off at soccer practice last week and had an hour and a half to kill. I figured I’d take advantage of this precious time to myself and get in a little exercise. So I decided to run around the nice track where his team was practicing. Several other parents were doing it – it was like a parent’s running club. His shaggy blond hair made him easy to spot and I watched him headbutt a few balls and score a couple goals. Such a great soccer player! On our drive home he said, “I saw you running around the track during practice. That was my team playing on the field.” “Oh yeah,” I said nonchalantly. “You’re team plays really well (not that I was intently observing or anything).” And when a high schooler wants you to drop her off at the movies so she can see Harry Potter with her friends, don’t even think about telling her that you’re dying to see that movie too and would love to come along even if you have to sit in the back corner. But if you do think that, resist the urge and make plans to see the movie by yourself another time.

If you want to get on the kids’ good side, take them to Sonic for a milkshake after a long soccer practice, cuddle up on the couch and watch Toy Story or Twilight, teach them how to make cakeballs, cheer for their favorite football team on tv, offer to let them borrow your nail polish, play (and lose) a game of ping pong, admire their really awesome blanket tent, and just be available to chat over a bowl of ice cream.

I have to say I loved having the opportunity to hang out with these kids for a week and I learned a lot that will come in handy down the road (way down the road).

Hidden Talents of an 11 Yr Old
"I’m really good at not spilling. It’s like my specialty. Oh, and balancing. I’m really good at that, too."
- a really talented 11 year old


  1. So cute, and you're going to be a GREAT mom someday!!! Must have had some good parents yourself...ha, ha.

  2. Dang, your mom stole my comment right out from under me! I was just gonna tell you how fun you are and that yes, you will be an amazing mom! Even if you are in spandex circling the track with your earmuffs on! :)

  3. Awww, I loved that post! Those kids must have had so much fun with you! You're so good with kids!

  4. Wish you lived would get A LOOOOT of practice in!

  5. Loved it Mary. Sam wants us to leave again so that you can come back!!!

  6. I absolutely LOVE that you did this! You are going to be a great mom...someday ;)