Before anyone attacks me for being anti-feminist here, I do agree that moms most CERTAINLY CAN do whatever coaching she would like. As a matter of fact, a lot of single moms don't have much choice, and I tip my hat to them.
But it's a lot harder for us.
I bit off more than I could chew by volunteering this year as a softball coach. I'm not even the head coach, mind you, but I now see why this is a Daddy job more than a Mommy job.
It's not the actual coaching that's hard. I love the sport, and have played more years of my life than I have not. I have 2 degrees in elementary education and experience teaching, so I'm not afraid of the kids, either.
I know the sport and I know kids, what could be more perfect, right?
That was your question if you are a man. If you're a woman, you probably already know the problem.
The problem is the same problem we have with everything else. It's One. More. Thing.
I see why the daughters of the only "Mom-coach" I ever had growing up never had their hair in pigtails. My daughter's hair was often a mess this season. More than once I brought the child to the game and asked the older sister of a teammate to do her hair for me. Because honestly? It was a huge success for me if I could get her in the car with her uniform and cleats on. (There were days I threw in the towel and had her do some of that IN the car. Because coaches have to be on time, no exceptions.)
Moms are the ones in charge of the hair, the uniform, and the shoes. Have you seen the dads who had to do the daughters' hair? You have, and you gave him grace. Moms don't get that grace. It's our job.
What we SHOULD be doing is: hair, clothes, shoes, HAND-OFF. Hand the child off to the dad so he can take it from there and teach them how to play.
You may have thought that since I am a stay-at-home mom, it would be much easier for me to pull this new position off. I thought so too. The problem is that the coaching doesn't happen during the day when the kids are at school and the hubby is at work. That would have made it much easier. Nope, games and practices all occur at the same time everything else happens - the very minute (sometimes before) that everyone gets home.
Dinner becomes the next issue. Moms must have a meal ready for everyone. Sometimes, we have to be at the field before our husbands are home from work. So dinner needs to be prepared to be eaten in shifts. We've eaten sometimes at 4:30. We are training our kids to be old people.
Again, how nice would it be to just feed them and hand them off?
Coaching means you are in charge of equipment. It's never light. In our league, we have to get out out bases and line the field. The bases are heavy. I'm not a weakling, but I can only carry one base at a time. Most men I see carry two. I'm the kind of person who will dislocate a shoulder to get more groceries in the house in one trip, so seeing the men juggle bases like that makes me envious.
Oh, and at the end of the game? We have to drag a metal grate around the field behind a riding mower. I managed to get away without having to drive that thing... until the last away game. After I learned how to get it moving, things were fine until it ran out of gas... at the bottom of the hill. I literally could not push it back to the top. At least I could stand and look pathetic until 2 dads from a neighboring game came over with pity and finished it up for me. That's right. Dads.
Yes, I am in need of your strength, men.
Speaking of strength, how about toughness? Dads are in charge of teaching kids to "tough it out." Moms are in charge of cuddling. What happens when kids get hurt on the field? The coach tells the player to "Suck it up and get back out there," right? Not if you're the mom.
There was one instance last week when my 7-year-old little girl, playing pitcher at the time, took a hard line drive to the shin. I ran right out to the mound and stopped. What now? I wanted to pick her up and carry her off the field, applying ice and doing all the other first aid I knew. But I had to get back in the field and finish coaching the team. It was my kid, so I couldn't hand her off to her mom for TLC, so I had to coach. "Aww, Sweetie, that was a tough one, huh? Doesn't hurt too badly, though, does it? I think you're okay to keep playing, what do you say?"
She sniffed away her tears, nodded, and we all clapped to commend her bravery. Thankfully, it really DIDN'T hurt too badly and didn't even leave a mark.
OK, so there definitely are advantages to having a mom as a coach. I had to teach one girl how to discreetly change her shirt in the plain light of day. Only a mom can do that. And you know my softball bag has everything in that Pinterest has taught me I would need to fight bugs and ticks. Also, when the young ones aren't standing in the right position, I can pick them up and just put them where they need to be.
Then of course, there are the hugs. Sadly, in this day, society won't let daddies hug other people's daughters. But they are still little girls. There may be no crying in baseball, but there's a little bit in softball, and the girls need a little TLC sometimes.
So, in retrospect, maybe I should re-title this post, "It's Hard for Moms to Coach, But Here's Why We're Still Going to Do It."
Because when my daughter asks, "Will you be there for me?" and I can say, "You bet," it's worth it.
I wanted to sell Tastefully Simple products.
It seemed so easy - get your friends together for a party and eat snacks. They buy products, happily, and I come away having made (from what I hear) in the neighborhood of $200 or so.
For having a party with my friends, calling it work, and putting in about 4 hours worth of work. (If you call that work.)*
For a time, I was a substitute teacher in my kids' elementary school. You want to talk about a great job? My kids go to a great school, and I know many of their friends. They were young when I did this, too, so I was more of a celebrity than an embarrassment when I stepped foot into the classroom. Kids were eager to help me through the day and enjoyed a break from normal routine. I made no plans, did no grading, and was still treated like a professional. Plus, I walked away with about a hundred dollars for a day's visit.
I didn't keep with subbing. Instead, I chose to lock myself away from people, put in hours upon hours daily for up to about 8 months, to write, edit, beg a publisher to contract me, and try to market my product.
My last quarterly royalty check for that effort was $5.63. (If you take away marketing costs I put in, we are way down in the red.)
So, let's sum up the efforts possible, shall we?
1. Sell food products - earn an average of $200 for a day.
2. Substitute teach - earn about $100 in a day
3. Write a book - earn what comes out to $0.01 per day
So why do I do it?
It isn't a job. I write for several reasons.
1. To improve
Writing is a skill. And yes, the inner geek in me can never stop learning. When my editor gave me back my first set of edits, my jaw almost hit the floor. How could a former English teacher write so poorly? By the end of the second book, though, I was thrilled with how much better she had made me.
Just like a runner who sets goals to eventually run a marathon, I want to also give my craft the best I've got.
2. Because I can't not write
(See how far I have to go in improving my writing?)
Do you ever get so inspired by a book or a movie that you think, "Wow, I want to come up with something like that!" Or maybe you've been so mad at the ending of a book or movie, that you re-wrote it in your head. Writers do that too. We even do it with everyday life. "He shouldn't have said that to me. He was supposed to say this..."
It's how you know you were meant to write.
3. Because I have a message
Some people just write to write, but most of us have something to say. For me, it's the desire to show an example of God's love through fiction. Since I feel so strongly about young adults and teens (my target audience) learning about how much He cares, I've made my message my mission.
If you believe in what I write, or if you would like to support me (the same way you would support your friends who sell Tastefully Simple, Scentsy, Thirty-One, or any of those other fun party products), here's what you can do:
1. Check out my books
Right now, only the first 2 books in my series are out, but if you're patient, you will eventually see 8 of them. You can find out more about them here, on my website. Look up at the menu bar and check out the "Books" section or the "About the Angelmen Series" under "The Angelmen Series." If you still have questions, go ahead and contact me with them! I'll tell you anything you want to know - even how you might be able to read my books for free if you need to "test the waters."
2. Recommend them to whom you might know who would like them
You know how the other product-sellers are reminding you that their products make good gifts? Well, teachers like books too. And so do moms, sisters, birthday people, nurses, bus drivers, and so on.
Maybe you took a look at my book section and realized this isn't the kind of book you like to read. But you know you know someone (we ALL know someone) who reads everything they can get their hands on.
My books came about especially because I saw lots of kids reading books with themes that were a little too, ahem, mature for them. I really wanted to provide a safe, CLEAN, alternative that was still interesting and exciting. Sometimes the characters might find themselves in worldly situations, but they will show integrity though it. If you know kids who need something like that, guide them here.
3. Review the books on Amazon and/or Goodreads, if you have read them.
What's this? You've read my books, but still want to help? Well, some Tastefully Simple consultants (especially those who know my friends) can make their living by going around the same circle of party people. But for those of us who sell products that are less consumable, we need to rely on new customers. And we only have so many friends, so we have to get word spread all around.
Amazon is a tricky little species. They love to recommend related products to their customers to get more revenue themselves. How do they know what to recommend? They see what's popular. They only know what's popular by people TELLING them they like it. If you rate my books or even just write a sentence or two about what you thought about it, Amazon will turn their head and pay attention. They will then give other people a chance to see what they think. It makes sense to me. I only want to read books that someone else has said they thought were good.
OK, here's your chance. (The full-out shameless promotion.) Since I have your attention now, I'm going to lead you to the Amazon links for my books, where I invite you to do any of the above. I'll just tell you now how much I appreciate even the fact that you have read through this whole long post. Everything you do beyond that is greatly appreciated as well.
Amity of the Angelmen
Asher of the Angelmen
Who knows? Maybe someday you can tell your friends that you helped this author go from making a penny a day to a dollar a day.
"... and she has me to thank."
*By the way, I mean absolutely no disrespect to those who sell products. It DOES sound fun, even though I know there's a lot more to it than just partying.
Passion Under Grace,