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.
Passion Under Grace,