A Team Mom Spills the Tea on Kids’ Sports


I just signed up for my fourth year being the team mom for one of my son’s sports teams.

I truly love being a team mom, but that’s not saying it’s all picture-perfect. As a team mom, I’m responsible for organizing team gear and equipment, helping kids get in their gear, getting kids in the order they need to be in, telling them what position they are playing in that game, helping put together team events and activities outside of games and practices, making sure our first aid kit is stocked, knowing where to find emergency contact information for the teammates if needed, and any miscellaneous things the coaches may need or overlook. That’s all.

As a team mom, I don’t have to be out on the field or court with the team for the games, and I don’t want to be, but I gladly jump into action during practices when needed.

Growing up in my family, my siblings, cousins, and I were in every sport and extracurricular activity from dance to wrestling. When I became a mom, I already knew my child would play sports. It was just a matter of finding what my son wanted to do. I didn’t want to push him towards any particular sport or force him to start before he told me he wanted to, but watching him grow through his toddler years, I knew that time would be coming soon.

Out of the three sports he’s played so far, he seems to like baseball the best. When he started with T-ball at four years old, I followed him out to the field with the rest of the four and five-year-olds so I could help them learn to hit the ball off of a tee and throw and catch a ball.

We all know kids can be brutally honest. We also know that kids are always listening, even when we think they aren’t. My proof of this came in the feedback that I got from this little T-ball team:

  • “My dad says you don’t know what you’re doing.”
  • “My mom didn’t like the snacks you brought last week.”
  • “I have to use my black glove when I stay with my dad, and my brown glove when I stay with my mom.”
  • “My dad says so-and-so’s dad hates him so they switched teams.”

The thing is, these kids parrot what they hear at home. Parents, as team mom, I’m not just keeping track of the pitch count or watching the stopwatch to see when the quarter is over in a soccer game. I listen too. I hear you in the stands or along the sidelines.

When you’re not cheering on your kids, almost everything that comes out of your mouth is negative. Negative about the coaches, negative about whatever drama is going on in your life, negative about your own child’s performance, and even negative about kids you don’t know

Side note: I can almost 100% guarantee your child’s sports organization accepts volunteers since you say you know how to “coach better than that.” Please. Be my guest.

young kids playing football with the team mom looking on.
Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

But as team mom, here’s what I know:

  • The kid throwing his bat and helmet on the ground and having a fit does not have the best home life with his mom. He does a lot better when he’s in his dad’s care.
  • The kid who doesn’t run as fast as the other kids isn’t slower because he’s bad at sports, it’s because he was born with two clubbed feet and spent the first few years of his life in casts and leg braces.
  • The kid who can’t run while dribbling a basketball literally just figured out how to dribble at the last practice when I pulled her to the side to work with her one-on-one until it finally clicked.

I’ve learned a few things as team mom as well:

  • The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.
  • Kids will get burned out on a sport if they’re forced by a parent to play
  • Your child is not a vessel for you to live out your childhood dreams.

It might sound like I’m complaining, but that’s not really the case.

See, with all the brutally honest things the kids tell me, and things I overhear parents say, I get to find out what the world looks like to these kids. And not just the world of whatever sport’s season we’re in at the time, but their world at home. As team mom, I am right there, listening to parents, listening to kids, observing both, and apparently being quite invisible, which is okay with me.

I know there are a handful of people who care if Tommy says his parents don’t live together anymore. I notice who is grateful for whoever was on snack duty that week because they not only included something fun for the kids to enjoy, but also added in something nutritious.

I enjoy being the team mom, and I want to end by sharing some of the perks the position brings:

  • You get the best seat in the house. No fences getting in the way of pictures.
  • Random hugs from the sweetest kids.
  • Lots of cuteness and laughter.
  • Seeing that moment when everything the child has been learning finally “clicks” for them.

There is one thing I love the most about being the team mom – that’s when my son hugs me and tells me I’m the best team mom. I know that him doing that won’t last forever, so I’ll take it while I can get it.

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Claire Hanover
Claire is mom to her thrill-seeking, 2016-born prankster son, who always keeps her on her toes. Her degree and professional background are in legal and administrative practices. Claire splits her time between being the team mom, reading cheesy (and not so cheesy) romance books, trying to keep her plants alive, spoiling her dog, and enjoying anything outdoorsy. You'll find Claire on two of our podcasts, Burning for Bridgerton and But the Book Was Better. She also admins for two of the Vermont Moms’ Facebook groups. Follow her on Instagram at Instagram.com/plants.and.romance


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