Every Team has at least one “team parent” – you know them- the mom or dad who is the coach’s right hand. The one who is at every event, every practice and knows every kid as well as their own. They are the ones who organize the parties, the support and the food. They are backstage, behind the lines or in the locker room for every event, pulling together all the last minute requirements. No sports, drama or school organization could function without them. I do my best to pitch in, help out and give a little extra, but I am a lousy team mom. You would think that someone with the equivalent of an advanced degree in Project Management, who has made miracles happen for teams and can make support materialize out of thin air would be the ultimate team mom. A person who genuinely likes and interacts by choice with kids, who listens and gives advice- should be the makings of a great team mom. Someone who is not afraid to ask for handouts and is not afraid to guilt other people into pitching in? The ultimate team mom, right? Here are the reasons they all fail:
1) I refuse to believe that any one team is more important than everything else. I work, have a household to run and have other kids. They have other activities, sports and teams as well. I can not find it in me to say that one of those is more important than all the others and either schedule everyone else around that one team, or blow off all other commitments and children’s activities. In this arena- parents of only children shine as team moms.
2) I refuse to believe that if the team wins it is worth all pain and sacrifice. I know the coaches have to say things like that. It is important to work hard and try your very best. It is important to strive and stretch and try to excel in ways you did not think possible. I do it every day. But I also believe in balance, and fun and peace. And when winning means you sacrifice everything else, something seems wrong to me. When the kids complain they are running a fever or sick or broke an ankle or twisted a knee, I want to nurture them- not send them back in for another round of practice. I can’t even fake it enough to be a great team mom.
3) I am a “bad” influence. When kids come to me for advice, I encourage them to think and question ( even authority) , to think outside the box, to stand up for the things they believe in- but to be tolerant of others who choose differently. I can quote the bible ( in several versions), but I do not go to church. I sometimes dress funny and I know things that are cool… sometimes even before the kids. This tends to cause interesting individuals to grow- but is really bad for a team.
4) I only see my Fiance on weekends, and am unwilling to give up those times for team events every weekend. I will do about half- but no more… which means I am unreliable and will not be available no matter what.
5) My health has been flaky- a sad but true statement- which also makes me unreliable. This one just makes me sad. I need this one to change.
To all those team parents out there who make my kid’s activities possible, who are the glue that holds everything together, I thank you. Know that you can always call on me for donations, one time events and as much cheering as I can schedule. I promise to not be too scary and keep the foment and unrest to a minimum.