An Ode to the Tired Sports Mom

Giving thanks is just the beginning.

Samm Davidson

| 4 min read

Canva

I see you — filling water bottles, tying cleats, and shuffling schedules. Printing immunization records, packing an activity bag to entertain the littles, and making dinner on the fly. It is awesome, watching your kid smile with their teammates on game day. It makes all the planning, driving, and chaos worth it. 

But wow, it is still hard.

You are not alone if you are feeling burnt out. The fall sports grind is no joke and you are overwhelmed. The transition back to school — getting re-acclimated with the morning routine, managing homework responsibilities, and ensuring a successful reentry for your kids is an entire job in itself. Juggling a youth sports schedule on top of that, even for just one kid, can be majorly exhausting. The drop offs, the pickups, the time in between, the rescheduled practice that was canceled because of rain, the misplaced play sheet that was sent home… It’s not your game, but it’s all your responsibility, ultimately.

And I know the sideline culture is hard to navigate, but you are doing great. You are not crazy to feel lonely in some moments, especially when other parents act like over excited or angry toddlers while watching a poorly executed play. Honestly, just laugh. Take a walk, find a seat alone, or wear headphones and listen to a zen podcast during game time. You’ve got this.

And I see you biting your nails watching your kids’ every move. I know the fan experience is much more complicated for you. Your entire heart is out there running around on that field and you feel every tackle, missed shot, and penalty in your bones. While others are watching the play, you are worried about your kid’s safety, friendships, confidence, and happiness. It is an emotional rollercoaster and win or lose, you are left drained.

Sign ups and tryouts can also feel stressful. Trying to find balance for your child in what can be an overly competitive environment can seem near impossible. Wanting your child to feel successful, but also wanting him to feel like a kid, and not take it all too seriously. Constantly wondering if you are making the right choice. Is this the right team? The right league? The right sport? It is a full-time mental marathon, and you deserve a break.

But as you know, that’s not really possible. One sports season bleeds into the next and you are lucky if you have a few days off in between.  Add a couple of siblings to the roster and you are a year round sports manager. So on those days that feel extra frustrating — when you are in the car for hours on end, overhearing crazy sideline noise, or ordering the fourth mouth guard of the season off Amazon because your kid lost it yet again — remember what it’s all about.

Reflect on the friendships your child has formed with his teammates and the mentor they found in that one special coach. Remember his smile when he made his first big play, or the important lessons she learned through some of the hardships. Remember the family dance party you had in the car on the way home from the playoffs, and the team dinner where your toddler felt like they were part of the crew. And treat yourself. To some time alone, or an over-expensive but extra comfortable folding sideline chair. Because being a sports mom is exhausting, and unrelenting (albeit worth it) — and you deserve it.

Samm Davidson is a writer, photographer and tired sports mom.

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