Sunday, 31 January 2010

And so it begins

There was one thing that my husband and I agreed on absolutely when it came to our kids. We wanted them involved in sport. Not because we thought they'd end up in the premiership earning millions, enabling us to brush our teeth with champagne. And not because we wanted to live out some unfulfilled sporting dreams of our own through them (I've long since accepted my sporting ineptitude and my husband has spent enough time in scrums and on cricket pitches to feel he's played a fair innings).

No. Our goal of having them play sport was forward planning on our part. When they're teenagers, we want them to be so knackered from whatever sport they do, they'll be too tired to hang about on street corners, binge drinking and generally making a nuisance of themselves. We want them to learn the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. We want them to be fit and healthy. And we want them out of the house burning off testosterone instead of moodily skulking about being obnoxious and generally a teenage pain in the bum.

That was the plan. It was only a matter of time before I began to feel the consequences of this plan.

The boys are now 4.5 and almost 6. We suddenly seem to have hit that point where our social life becomes their social life. My car starts donning a taxi sign. My washing machine groans under the load of muddy socks and football shirts. And the money I might have perhaps spent on getting a haircut, now goes on yet another piece of essential kit.

Our schedule looks like this:
Mondays - Karate
Tuesdays - Nothing
Wednesdays - Karate
Thursdays - Nothing
Fridays - Evening football training for son 1
Saturdays - Morning football training for son 2
Sundays - Morning football matches for son 1
Sundays - Evening swimming lessons for both

Now admittedly there's still room for growth, what with two days not currently assigned to a sport of some kind. But cricket season hasn't started yet...and son 2 hasn't even started school.

And the cost. The cost! Let's see. £70 per month for karate plus the £100 joining fee, £80 for uniforms and £30 every time they get graded. There's £50 per month for football plus the cost of football boots and strips which they seem to grow out of every month. And swimming, a mere £140 every 6 weeks. It's ok though, because while this used to be our going out money, we no longer have time to do that. So we break even.

You might suggest that they give up on some of it. But they HAVE to learn to swim - that is non-negotiable. Denying them football would result in a teenage style mutiny, and karate is the one thing that genuinely seems to have an impact on their behaviour. So for now, it's suck it up and see time.

So why am I telling you this? Because today is a Big Day.

It's son 1's first ever proper football match. Today I officially become a 'soccer mom'. I get to stand in the freezing cold with a bored 4 year old and cheer while my little man charges around a field. It's a landmark day. The first of many, many days like this I see stretching out before me for the next 10 to 15 years of my life. No ballet recitals or warm theatres to watch drama club. Just ice cold fields from here to eternity.

I think I'm going to stock up on hip flasks and travel coffee mugs. I think I'm going to need them.


The Dotterel said...

And don't forget the throat lozenges... all those shouts of 'cover back' from the touchline!

Home Office Mum said...

good tip Dotterel. Not that I even know what 'cover back' means but I'm sure I'll be shouting all the same

Ellen Arnison said...

And don't forget the really annoying little black things that end up on the floor from boots used on all-weather courts.
Oh and the fact that everytime you open your car boot expecting to see space, you will see equipment.

nappy valley girl said...

Oh good luck.

I feel the same way about sport. I was always useless at team sports and so was The Doctor. Our parents never encouraged us to do any, either. But we are determined that the boys be given every opportunity to do it and enjoy it -they both have loads of energy, and we want them to be healthy and to want to be outside rather than inside on a Playstation when they're older. So Littleboy 1 starts Saturday sports class in April, and both do gymnastics. I can't see myself as a soccer mom, but maybe I'll end up as one too....

Iota said...

Out of the Doldrums, but straight onto the sidelines!

Home Office Mum said...

Ellen - haven't had any experience wih the litle black things. No doubt will soon. Right now it's all about mud

Nappy valley - exactly, my two would spend all day playing Wii if they were sent off doing real sport, rather than pretend sport

Iota - I know, I know.

incidentally, today's match was called off due to the pitch being too frozen solid. Shows you just how friggin cold these Sunday mornings are going to be. Yay!

Dalia (Generation X Mom) said...

I know exactly what you are saying. Same here. And, yes, my life is now pretty much all about their activities. I always heard about how crazy it gets when they get this age (mine now 4,10,12) but always thought, ya, ya, ya. Now I know what they were saying! Oh, and don't forget the hand warmers!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

My two boys are just 18 months behind your two. I'm reading with interest to see where you go next. Sport will pay a major part of their life as it tallies with my parenting philosophy for boys which is basically 'run them into the ground'. Dave is really keen to get them into Karate, because it teaches them discipline and restraint (and because he did it), but I'm worried we'll be a sport only household, what with swimming (like you say non-negotiable) the inevitable football (my PhD research into football means that the boys have already spent many hours of their life watching matches) and what about cricket? My washing machine can't cope as it is, I'm worried about the muddy kit!

Home Office Mum said...

Dalia - I think hand warmers will become my next purchase

Brit in Bosnia - I know what you mean about totally focused on sport. Son 1 was keen to do music too but it just feels like too much right now. Not that I want to discourage him, but good grief.

katyboo1 said...

I hope it went well for all of you. Perhaps Uggs would be an investment? I don't like them but I bet they keep your feet toasty.

Welsh Girl said...

My friends with sporting aged children all seem to have resigned themselves to spending every weekend at a rugby / football / cricket pitch for the next ten years. I may envy parents many things, but not that! I hope the match went well and applaud your dedication. I send a mental cheerleader your way to cheer you on in the stands...