Sunday, October 31, 2010

On Being a Soccer Mom, and Lasts

I like soccer as a sport. I played a bit as a kid, nothing major, nothing exciting, and I was no good. But it's fun, there is tons of running, kids are outdoors, learning a team skill, and the equipment and league fees are reasonable. There are no early morning practices =)
In reality, I am having a hard time adjusting to being a soccer mom. This is purely selfish. I don't like getting up early on Saturday mornings, I don't like the impossible hassle of which-field-which-kid-what-time of having TWO boys in soccer, and (slap me, here), sitting on the sidelines is (maybe, a bit, sometimes) a little bit boring. I'd rather be doing something else. Soccer practice twice a week (once per child) is way worse. It's at dinnertime, and I don't have the advantage of a husband who is home at 5 pm to help with evening activities. 4 of every 8 days, he's working during the supper-soccer rush. Once the kids are old enough to help cook, it will get easier. Once they are old enough to leave in the house for short periods, it will be fine! But right now I have to plan a dinner around leaving the house at 5:45 for an hour and a half. Load three boys in the van, unload, mind two of them while the other one has practice, load them back in the van, unload, either eat (if we haven't eaten yet: usually the case), or start with bedtime, and I'm. Fricksausted.
Once 4:30 pm hits, I'm usually running full tilt til 8. Make dinner, monitor child behavior, (possibly practice violin with Ayden if I can leave dinner cooking), feed/eat dinner, monitor child behavior, clean up from dinner, monitor child behavior and unsuccessfully try to initiate bedtime clothing and tooth brushing from the kitchen sink, get children in pyjamas (any who have not done this task have no idea how hard it is--any transition is difficult for children, but transitioning in and out of CLOTHING is absolutely ridiculous), brush teeth, read stories, give cuddles, monitor child behavior, practice violin with Ayden if not done yet, replace errant two year old in bed, settle Ayden in bed, fall onto couch, and check time. Oh, 8 pm. Sometimes later.

Squeezing soccer practice into all this makes me very....cranky.

Luckily, the kids looooooooove soccer. And they are really getting so good at it. And I'm adjusting, slowly. By the time I get accustomed to this routine, soccer will be finished! Soccer season is six months. The kids play in sun, frost, rain, mud, thundershowers, but not snow.

If Brent was around to help with soccer all the time, I would enjoy it much more. It's the single soccer parenting I detest so much.

It's also not reeeeeeeeeeally kosher to drop your kids off at soccer practice just yet. I'm wondering what age that happens? Because it would be much less disruptive to drop them off and go back to dinner, which is what we actually did last Wednesday with Matthew. I'm not sure WHY everyone stays on the sidelines for practice every week? In case their kid gets hurt? Moral support? Discipline? Tying shoelaces? But we do. So I follow the herd. Except for Wednesday.

Part of this is also that dinnertime is Riley's worst time of day. He's overtired and wants to nap, but it's too close to bedtime. If he'd sleep at noon he'd be fine but he's not tired enough then so we just put up with dinnertime freakouts. So loading Riley in the van generally requires the use of a bomb suit to protect all my body parts from flailing angry feet and arms and head, including those sharp little teeth, while I lift and buckle him into his carseat. And yet we just keep breeding.

The "Lasts" part of this post is about me being at work today, at quite possibly my final shift with BC Ambulance. Tuesday I am going to ask my midwife for a note to start my maternity leave early, on account of the painful contractions I get when I lift anything heavier than 15 lbs. My ultimate plan is to not come back here after my leave, although I'm keeping that option open in case I need to, financially. My hope is to get my own personal craft/doula/artwork business running while I'm off, enough to replace at least part of my paramedic income, so I can work from home. With 3 kids (and soon to be 4), we're finding it a bit strenuous not to have at least one parent home for the logistics of running the house, and I'm ready to move on anyways. It will help me bide my time until I get into midwifery school (if I get into midwifery school), which I'm seeing will be much easier to manage as a career if my kids are a bit older anyways.

So I'm at work. And on the one hand, I feel sad to just leave it all behind. We have some really fun times, and I'm definitely not sick of taking care of injured people. Sick people, somewhat. But major trauma is what we all sign up for, and none of us ever get enough of it. =) Most people are all, EW GROSS HOW CAN YOU HANDLE IT??? And most of us paramedics are all, How can you live without it? Variety. So good.
On the other hand, I'm tired. I have to get up at 4 a.m. to be on time for day shifts. That SUCKS. I'm a peeon. I'm sick of the heirarchy. I'm sick of working with cranky partners. I'm sick of the stupid ambulance always getting dirty again right after you wash it, and the tanks always draining (fuel and oxygen), and the supplies always disappearing, and the batteries always needing replacing, and the drugs always expiring, and it just is a neverending cycle, much like laundry.
I get enough of laundry type cycles at home, thank you very much!

It's sad to walk away from it all though. I invested a lot into this job, thinking I'd be here for longer than I was. But I got OUT as much as I put IN, which is a ton, so I'm grateful for that! It's not your average desk job, that's for sure.

Goodbye, BC Ambulance. You haven't been good to me, but I had fun anyways =)


tamie said...

Hey Mel, I have an idea for you. You know me, full of ideas. A good friend of mine has recently moved back to Trinity for grad school (she did her undergrad there too). She's super lonely. She's also super with kids. I think that she should take your boys to soccer practice for you! She could do the standing-on-the-sideline thing, and you could do the cooking-dinner thing. And I think you two should get to know each other in general. You are both very, very cool.

If you like my idea, e-mail me and I can maybe put you two in touch!

lori said...

Oooh, Tamie. Do you know anybody like that who just moved to southern Texas?

Melissa, your last line really cracked me up and made me wish again that I could meet you.

tamie said...

Lori, Jon's cousin, Sharla, lives in the Austin area, and she is an amazing person and an amazing mom. She has three young children (ages 3-9, I think). But I realize Austin's a ways away. I'll keep thinking!