Soccer, basketball, baseball, flag football, golf, and swim team; we move from one sport to another in a given year. Sometimes two of the sports overlap, and we’re going from a soccer game to a baseball game or vice versa. My son is the sports guy in our family, and he seems to be doing fine with the schedule, but I am worn out. Being asked to bring the snack on top of it all does me in. Call me a loser mom, a naysayer, a biatch, but I’m announcing my retirement from being snack mom. I imagine you are saying, “Well genius, if you are too busy, cut something out!” I am. I’m not bringing the snack.
Snack isn’t what it used to be
Every time our son enters a new sports season, an email goes out with a game schedule and snack sign up. The games predominately fall on the weekends for every sport except Baseball. Baseball games occur several times a week and end at 7:30P, sometimes later. As a result, some coaches request the snack morph into dinner. I am being “asked” to bring dinner for 15 pubescent boys. What? This gen-x lady remembers sliced oranges at soccer games, delivered in a plastic grocery bag at halftime. That was what every parent brought. It wasn’t a question of “Who is bringing the snack?” it was “Who is bringing the oranges?” If there were oranges left over after the game, we’d have those as we were walking off the field. That was it. 2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate?
Snack has become the new trophy for showing up.
Kids have come to expect some reward after the game has ended. “Congratulations, you’ve run around for an hour, now here’s a sugar-filled treat at 10A”. Let’s be real, us parents have created the post-game-reward-expectation, but that’s a conversation for another day.
The trophy usually comes in the form of a snack; chips and a drink, popcorn, candy, donuts, etc. One game, someone brought fruit for half-time followed by a chocolate-filled treat bag after the game. There might have been toys in it; I was too shocked to look. Is this a birthday party? How did this mom know we’d win? Oh, that’s right, they didn’t need to; the kids showed up. Playing a sport is about learning to be part of a team, how to lose gracefully, it’s about developing a game strategy, believing in yourself, following directions, sharpening skills, camaraderie, having fun, and (wow) getting exercise. Playing a sport shouldn’t be about the award you will receive at the end.
There’s a big difference between a guilt-trip and a treat.
I recognize the post-game snack is also for the convenience of the parents; especially when we are talking about young kids. After running around for an extended amount of time, odds are the cherubs will be hungry, so head off the whining by giving them food before the dragging feet, zombie-like moaning begins. I have flashes of being in the hospital immediately following my c-section and the nurses saying, “Make sure you stay ahead of the pain by taking your pill regularly, even if you still feel okay.” Feeding your kids on a regular basis makes sense and is less painful for everyone. That said, I don’t want to feed the entire team because I feel guilty. I’d prefer to surprise the kids when I have the time and because I want to bring them something unexpected, once in a blue moon.
Stop this already.
I was a snack mom for several years for both of my kids. Here is where I draw the line: once kids finish elementary school, the group snack business should shut down. That’s it, game over; us parent’s should no longer be in the food sherpa business. I say this because, surprise, my youngest is now in middle school and team-snack is still present for some sports. My kid needs to learn to think ahead and bring something to eat in the dugout. He should put a granola bar and water in his soccer bag. I’m not coddling him anymore, and I won’t be pampering the team either.
I am hoping that by putting this in writing, people aren’t waiting outside my door with pitchforks. On second thought, if you do end up at my door, I’d invite you in, sans pitchfork, and offer you a snack.
Missy Hunter goes by many labels; daughter, wife, mom, friend, sassy lady, book lover, part-time athlete, writer. She loves her dog and often contemplates knitting a dog-hair sweater with the fur that permanently lives on the hardwood floors. Missy is the voice behind http://sarcasticshorty.com/