The A-B-Cs of being a Team Mom (or not)

I am the mom of two boys and a little league team.

Along with being a new editor, a mom, a housekeeper (who needs to be fired) and a really lousy member of the school library committee, I’m also shepherding 14 5-and 6-year-old children with bats.

Last year, the Team Mom made it look so simple. She passed out jerseys on time; she lined the kids up for the team picture and distributed all the handouts we needed without breaking a sweat. So, when I registered my son for his second year of baseball in January, I was more than happy to help.

A few weeks ago, I went to the team parent meeting where I received a packet of information, listened to the league president talk about their zero tolerance policy for jerks and learned that organizing the team photograph was my most important job. I left with an 8 ½ by 11 manila envelope full of handy information and a spring in my step about how helpful I would be.

The next morning, I went through all of the information and began typing an email to parents. It took an hour and half to complete and was long enough to require a conclusion paragraph. I don’t remember last year’s team mom sending an 1,100 word email with a three-page attachment.

I was confident going into the team picture. My mission began under dark skies in what I can only describe as a borderline tornado. My task: Line the boys up in alphabetical order. My problem: I kept getting their first and last names confused. There are about seven boys whose names I have spelled phonetically in my notes. I couldn’t spell them correctly if you paid me.

Not only was there a language barrier, there was also an attention deficit, hyperactivity issue. In the absence of bats, ball caps were used as the weapon of choice. Did I mention we were also on the edge of a tornado? Despite the chaos, we marched in alphabetical order, down the sidewalk and into the gym for our photos. Parents were not permitted inside, so it was just me and the coach.

I worked tirelessly to keep them in alphabetical order because it was, after all, my most important job. Our coach kept giving me the same look my husband gives me when I’m overreacting. The kids had their individual pictures taken, and then were seated for the team picture in no particular order. That’s right, just sit wherever.

When I left the gym, the borderline tornado had turned into an apocalyptic thunderstorm. With my fearful child riding piggyback and a tote bag strapped across my chest, I ran through the parking lot. I was part pack-mule, part thoroughbred and 100 percent soaked.

My manila folder didn’t fare well either. Now, team mom headquarters consists of 14 undistributed handouts with ink so smeared it would take a forensic scientist to read; a wadded team roster of names I can’t spell; and several bags of bubble gum for the dugout.

The last team mom email I sent included seven points of critical instructions like, “write their names on drink bottles” and a reminder that listed the wrong time for practice. After careful review, I’ve come to the conclusion that being Type A is not a strength for the job of Team Mom.

I don’t know why this didn’t dawn on me earlier. I’ve had to give up control and learn to go with the flow as a mom to my sons. Therefore, I’m declaring that, for the rest of the season, my most important job as Team Mom is to pass out bubblegum and just enjoy the game.

Sarah Herron is a 30-something blonde navigating marriage, motherhood and morals in Maryville. She is editor of Blount Moms Today and a contributor to youth resources for the United Methodist Publishing House.

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