Confessions of a fair-weather soccer mom

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website ( Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

I love my kids. Truth be told, though, sometimes I don’t always love feeling like I have to attend every one of their activities. For a while, I compared myself to other parents—who seemed so eager to sit through every single minute of every single game—and wondered what was wrong with me. Why was I the only one who was jumping for joy and high-fiving myself when my son decided he didn’t want to play baseball anymore and I no longer had to sit through interminable games?

I decided years ago that “extreme parenting” is not my calling. I’m clearly not hardcore sideline material. I’m more of the “make your own sundae bar” type of parent. M&M’s anyone? 

To me, it feels that many parents have fallen into a trap where they feel like they are doing something wrong if they miss anything their child does. They aren’t. Growing up, my parents came to most of my softball games. There were only a few of them each spring. I remember them cheering from the sidelines on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or sometimes early on a weekday evening.

But you know what? I was on the tennis team for most of high school and I don’t remember my parents coming to any of those daily matches after school.  My feelings weren’t hurt—in fact, it probably never occurred to me that they should come.  I liked playing and so I played.  I wasn’t participating for an audience or a fan club.  I was playing because it was fun—and it’s the same reason my kids do it now.

I’ve watched hundreds of games over the years—basketball, baseball, field hockey, but mainly softball and soccer. For better or worse, my kids did not pick sports with climate control, and I’ve managed to go to the vast majority of their games.  


But my entire family has come to understand that I’m not cut out to go to all of them. To watch my kids play on a beautiful spring day, is nice. It’s enjoyable for them and it’s enjoyable for me. But there are plenty of times when, despite the fact that they are having fun, I’m not….

It’s not “fun” to watch soccer at 7 a.m. on a Saturday unless it’s on FaceTime and I’m drinking my coffee in my pajamas in bed. It’s not “fun” to watch when it’s 34 degrees outside under a blanket on a field where the wind is whipping my hair into my face. Conversely, it’s not all that “fun” to watch when it’s 100 degrees outside and despite my sunscreen, I’m getting fried and melting.

Night games that begin at 8 p.m. on a Monday somewhere in Illinois which require me to eat swarming bugs aren’t my idea of a good time either.  While I’m at it, pouring rain is also not that enticing, particularly when my shoes turn into sponges and the bottoms of my pants legs are soaked. 

Confession time: You know what else isn’t my favorite?  Games on Mother’s Day. Call me selfish, but watching yet another team sport on Mother’s Day doesn’t feel like a day that is “all about me.” I’ll take brunch, thanks. 

For some reason these days, we’ve come to expect that attending everything out of obligation is the norm. If you don’t cheer for every game in every setting, you have to question if you are a “good Mom.”

I’m here to tell you right now that I love my kids and I am….

Even if I’m watching from the car, with the heat on and the music playing, as I write this during his soccer game.