As of last week I’ve become a bona fide soccer mom! I can already visualize some of you snickering and for the uninitiated, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about soccer mom:
The "soccer mom" typically indicates a single income family, where the husband works while the wife is a homemaker. They are strongly against video games, music, movies, and books that disagree with their worldview. The term can carry pejorative connotations, where the soccer mom may denote a woman who is aloof and has little responsibility or occupation, other than providing basic transportation for her children. In feminist circles, the soccer mom may refer to a woman who has given up on a promising and successful career, particularly after having some early aspirations and achievements.
Literally, soccer moms drive their children to play soccer, and sometimes cheer them on during the game. At once, the soccer mom is associated with encouraging, if perhaps over-scheduling their children with activities, and with making personal sacrifices for their children's benefit while perhaps remaining somewhat overprotective.
The term has found a life as shorthand for a stereotype far beyond its literal meaning. Most widely, perhaps, they are associated with driving Volvos, minivans, or SUVs. Active pride in their children may be displayed, for instance, with membership in a Parent-Teacher Association, or with a bumper sticker boasting that her child is an honors student at their school. They may also have drinks and snacks in the car, for/if when the children finish school and/or soccer.
And now add the desi quotient into the mix. Culture confused, cleanliness obsessed, academic brilliance demanding, native language enforcing, over-the-top mom! Yep, that’s me – Mini (not the van type) driving, cell phone weilding, latte drinking, suburban homemaker and member of PTA (albeit the most inefficient of the bunch) who herds her child from school, to soccer field, to piano lessons, to martial arts class, to drama club, to play dates, in rain or shine without fail and on time carrying various paraphernalia in the trunk of her car that include folding canvas chair, three umbrellas (one of which doesn't work as I found out today), water-proof blanket to sit on, bottles of water, books from library and enough sugary snacks to keep a six year old bright eyed and bushy tailed for 18 hours straight!!!
This afternoon I stood around in pouring rain for 60 minutes, huddled under an umbrella watching a completely soaked sonny boy chase a soccer ball around the field as if his life depended on it! I was wet and cold, nose dripping, ears stinging from the icy wind that blew intermittently, my fingers so numb that I could barely hold on to the umbrella – my soul yearning for the dry, warm comfort of the car! But I stood there clutching a bottle of water and my oversized designer bag because my little angel would come running towards me on drink breaks looking for a high-five and a word of praise for all the good work he’s doing!! Note to self: carry ear muffs, hat and waterproof gloves to the soccer class next week!
Ten years ago if someone had shown me this picture I’d have laughed in disbelief! I was a career woman, single and fancy-free, not particularly fond of children and miles away from any sport whatsoever! Look at me now – so much has changed in the last ten years that I can barely recognize myself! Here’s where you’re probably deciding to feel bad for me…please don’t!! This post is not meant to garner any sympathy for the loss of my corporate aspirations or the consequences of putting my home before my career! I have very little regret for the choices I have made.
I’m living vicariously through my six year old – yes sir, I am!! He’s doing all the stuff that I couldn’t even dream of doing as a child – sometimes due to lack of opportunity and mostly because we couldn’t afford so many extra-curricular activities!! But sonny boy is lucky – he has me, his mommy who’s hell-bent upon saving him from the evil clutches of video games and endless hours in front of pixilated screens; who’s going to live up to the stereotype of first generation immigrant parent pushing her child to the limit for a dazzling future and if that means adding swimming, horse-riding, skiing, ballroom dancing and fencing in the already over-crowded schedule, so be it!
Hail the soccer moms. Don’t feel bad by the snide remarks ignorant people make about you at school parking lot or your husband’s office party. They don’t understand that you are raising model citizens of tomorrow! I’m going to be on your side and fight for your cause as long as you don’t mow me down with your giant SUVs or ask me to whip up 100 cupcakes overnight for the annual bake sale!