As the raindrops picked up momentum, changing from a light drizzle to a full-on rain, I checked my son’s jacket to make sure it was zipped up the front and suggested he pull the hood over his head, while wondering why the heck softball practice hadn’t been cancelled. This was the first of two softball practices that day, with my daughter’s practice from 3:45-5:00 and my son’s practice conveniently located at a different field on the other side of town from 4:45-6:00. This would be followed by my daughter’s basketball game (gotta love overlapping seasons!) from 6:30-7:30, for which she needed to be present at 6:15. And after getting home in the 7:40 PM range, not only did we still have homework to contend with, but my over-extended ass had volunteered to bake four dozen basketball-decorated cupcakes for a party the next day.
Figuring out the logistics of days like that, even in the most rudimentary sense of just getting everyone to the correct location on time, properly attired for the right sport and fed during the precious few intervening moments, make me rejoice in the fact that I bothered to earn a J.D. before opting for the stay-at-home life. Clearly, all-pro logic skills are required in order to survive this life, right? Wrong. Anyone with an ounce of reasoning prowess would correctly surmise that having multiple children play multiple sports with overlapping seasons just doesn’t work. As such, I will chalk up my ability to power through a day like that not to my advanced training in the powers of logic, but to sheer stupidity.
And I’m not alone. I am not the only mother sitting on the cold, wet sidelines during practice trying to amuse one bored sibling until the tables turn and the still-cold, still-wet mother gets to amuse the other now-bored sibling whose practice has just ended while the initially bored child practices. This is a common component of the crazy, often child-centered lives we lead these days.
How does one survive possessing even a modicum of sanity? Find your peace. Your moment of calm near the eye of the storm, where for just a short reprieve your world stops spinning and stands still. Peace looks different for everyone, as it’s more an internal state of mind than a function of just sitting on your ass for a minute (though that does bring me both peace and happiness). But I’ll share with you some of my favorite tips for surviving the sports season:
Keep your piggies perfectly pedi’ed. Sitting in a massage chair for an hour a month reading US Magazine while some Vietnamese woman sands your heels down to bone with sandpaper pays off all month long. When the weather cooperates, something as simple as sliding a well-maintained foot along the warm sideline grass or gazing down at how well you wear a flip-flop can bring a smile during a never-ending practice.
Hit the gym! Not only does that hour a day on the elliptical trainer give you the ability to tune out the world and crank up bands your kids abhor (mine have a zero tolerance policy on anything that did not rank on the Billboard Top 40 charts during the mid-‘90s or later), but it also gives you free license to trudge around for the rest of the day rocking a dirty ponytail and no makeup in a socially acceptable way … “OMG! Have you seen how horrific Deb looks when she picks the kids up from school? Truly beastly. I tell ya.” … “Yeah, but she comes straight from the gym.”
Matinee mania. I swear there is no luxury in life more indulgent than sliding solo into a prime seat in the middle of a dead empty movie theater at 11:00 AM on a Wednesday with a 4 buck bottle of water in one hand and your whole day’s worth of calories in the other. Perfect opportunity to see that darkly depressing Blue Valentine movie none of your gal pals want to see with you or that chick flick for which you’ll have to put out in order to get your husband to see with you.
Embrace your inner Martha Stewart. Let’s face it -- not all of us can cook, clean, craft, organize, brand ourselves or serve jail time with style the way Martha can. But odds are that we’re all pretty good at at least one of those and derive some degree of gratification from it (save for the jail time, though that might be a break from the grind ;)). Find your creative calling and go for it! I personally subscribe to a mountain of women’s magazines and draw inspiration from them all the time.
BLOG!!! Yep, you read that little gem of self-indulgence correctly. Find a forum for whatever it is that you want to talk about: being a mother, making jewelry, your freakish interest in circus midgets, etc. Find a community of like-minded folk and engage with them. Meeting people outside your carpool and entering a different world for even a minute can be a glorious break from your reality.
How about the rest of you? What do you do to survive a season of overlapping sports or get through whatever other aspect of life makes you want to pull the covers over your head?