soccer mom / mother’s day proclamation

So I was talking to a friend of mine. I said, “My kid is in soccer. Does that make me a soccer mom?” (I was sort of afraid of her answer!)

She replied, “Yes. Absolutely yes! It’s like a Venn diagram: Are you a mom? Is your kid in soccer? If the answers to  those questions are yes, then yes, you are a soccer mom.”

My nonplussed reply was, “NO! But I’m not an asshole. I’m a nice girl! How can I be a soccer mom?!”

So Lucas had has last soccer game of the season today. (So I don’t have to be a soccer mom again until the fall.) He’s been doing really well lately. Really going after the ball, getting in there. I was really proud of him. He even scored a goal a few weeks ago at a game.

But as we were walking to the game today, I heard some mom shouting after her kid, “Be a bully! Be a bully!”

See? That’s the kind of soccer/mom I never want to be. I want to encourage my kids’ best behavior, not the kind of behavior which should be avoided. I was really disappointed in that mom – SHE is a soccer mom. The kind of person who would yell, “BE A BULLY!” is a kind of mom I don’t even want to be friends with, let alone emulate. I just don’t think a person should ever encourage their kids to do awful things. That’s just me I guess.

I yell things like, “Go Tigers! Go after the ball! Defense!” like a proper soccer mom. I don’t want to be an asshole.

These are the things I’m thinking about for this Mother’s day – how can I be a better mom, even if I have to be a soccer mom?

Mother’s Day started out as a non-violent protest against war. I love the original Mother’s Day Manifesto by Julia Ward Howe. This is the spirit of Mother’s Day that I can get behind. Some reminder of our common humanity, some remembrance that war is harmful. This is quoted from the Wikipedia article:

Again, in the sight of the Christian world, have the skill and power of two great nations exhausted themselves in mutual murder. Again have the sacred questions of international justice been committed to the fatal mediation of military weapons. In this day of progress, in this century of light, the ambition of rulers has been allowed to barter the dear interests of domestic life for the bloody exchanges of the battle field. Thus men have done. Thus men will do. But women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror. Despite the assumptions of physical force, the mother has a sacred and commanding word to say to the sons who owe their life to her suffering. That word should now be heard, and answered to as never before.

Arise, then, Christian women of this day ! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears ! Say firmly : We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

— Julia Ward Howe

It reminds me a little bit of the awesome play, Lysistrata.

So here’s to mothers everywhere, soccer or no.

One more thing. Mother’s Day is hard for so many people: people who have terrible mothers, or women who wanted to have children but who were unable, or mothers whose children have died, or people whose mothers have passed away with words left unsaid.

Please remember to have a little grace in your conversations tomorrow. It’s not all about saccharine goofiness and flowers.