I’m a Hockey Mom

I’m a mom. I’m a working mom. I’ve been a baseball mom. I’m now a football mom. But I’ve long been, and always will be, just like a Marine, a hockey mom.
When my oldest wore a helmet as a baby for his misshapen head, we sat in an Applebee’s one night. It was scary taking him out in public because people stared. But we sat him proudly in his high chair at the end of our table. A lady walked by and smiled and said, “Ahhh, look at the cute little hockey player.” We laughed about that, but never gave it a second thought. My cousin played hockey, but I couldn’t even fathom my little baby someday playing.

We used to live very close to a rink, so when he was three we decided to get him into skating lessons. We’d go watch him shuffle across the ice, falling down, just trying to get from one side to the other. After three sessions he was burnt out. We didn’t put skates on him for three more years.

When he was six he wanted to take lessons again. He was in a smaller class this time, and amazingly after three years, he stepped onto the ice and off he went. It didn’t take long before the teacher told us he could transfer to the hockey program if he was interested. He was interested all right.

The night before his first session, as I tucked him into bed, he dreamily said, “I can’t believe I’m a hockey player!”

He was timid at first. This was all new to him. All this equipment and hitting a round heavy thing with a stick. Well, doesn’t sound too much different from baseball when put that way, minus the equipment.

Derek in his first year of hockey.  2008-2009.
Derek in his first year of hockey. 2008-2009.

He loved hockey right away, and of course, when someone loves something, it’s quite infectious. It didn’t take long before little brother, then four, said, “I want to play!” We dismissed it at first as we thought he was too little, but then we saw other kids smaller than him on the ice. We decided to give him a chance. He completely blew us away. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of our hockey lives.

When I say “hockey lives,” I mean it’s our lives. Hockey is not two months long. It starts before school starts and it’s about as long as the school year.

sean-showare

It takes a special kind of mom to be a hockey mom. Special in the sense of: if you are willing to drive your kids to the rink four nights a week (two kids on different teams) and you’re willing to spend your weekends either at practice or games sometimes an hour or more away, that’s a special kind of mom. And that’s house hockey. You have to be even more special to have a kid on a select team where you’ll be traveling across the state or Canada.

I’m not a very organized mom. I wish I had it all together, but I don’t. I also work outside the home in a very grueling job. I have big dreams of making a month’s worth of crock pot meals that I found on Pinterest, but the reality is we end up eating out quite a lot. Red Robin with hockey friends is the BEST!!

My house usually looks like it’s already been burglarized. It’s a great deterrent. And what is that smell coming from the kitchen? Oh, that’s just the rotten chicken packages in the garbage can. It’s a good thing I also sell Scentsy for my own personal use. I have one in every room.

There are usually two smelly hockey bags in my entryway at all times. They smell like a mixture of rotten milk and the rotten chicken in my trash. I try to put them somewhere else, but they always find their way back there. I just don’t fight it anymore.

My car is lived in. I’m here to say that there is no amount of Febreze that will help the hockey stench. If you ever drive by my house, I’m not having a yard sale. That’s just hockey gear “drying out.” And it only gets worse the older they get.

Sometimes I may show up at the rink in the morning looking like I just got out of bed. Uh, that’s because I just did. Don’t worry. I showered the night before. I rarely look my best at hockey, and I don’t care anymore. It’s a hockey game, not a fashion show.

Our weekends are hockey. Our weeknights are hockey. No, we can’t come to your non-hockey event. We have hockey. See you in April.

Derek-hockey2

I haven’t been on a vacation with my husband in five years. I remember it fondly. It was my 30th birthday in Vegas. Oh well, I get overflowing glasses of wine at the rink!

It takes a special mom to be a hockey mom. You have to be pretty selfless. I get resentful at times because I wish I had more time for myself and what I want to do. See above: “pretty selfless.”

Why do I put up with it? Well, because my kids love hockey. We love hockey because our kids love hockey. As that song says, “These are the moments…” When I became a parent, I signed up for this. As long as they are passionate about hockey, we’ll support them and be there for them along the way. And it’s not completely without benefit to us. We’ve made the best friends in hockey parents. Wonderful people who will help you get your kid to hockey (or football now) in a bind, moms who buy you peppermint tea when you have bronchitis, people we laugh and drink with on road tournaments, which are fun getaways for kids and parents! Some of my kids’ best friends are their hockey friends. It is the BEST kind of community.

There will come a day when we won’t have hockey in our lives like this anymore, and we will be looking back on it and missing these days terribly. These are the days to savor the moment with our kids.

Sean with his team last year after winning their tournament.
Sean with his team last year after winning their tournament.

I’m a hockey mom through and through. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Or when the kids move out. ūüôā

Here’s to the new hockey season!

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Okay, Hold On, Mrs. Hall…It Isn’t So Cut-and-Dried, this Parenting-With-Social-Media Thing.

There are two blogs going around Facebook lately. ¬†You might have read them. ¬†Or you might’ve just scrolled right on by, which I usually do. ¬†But I happened to read both because they were both reposted by friends whose opinions on parenting I value and trust. ¬†Here is the link to the first post written by Mrs. Hall on behalf of her sons.¬†http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/. ¬†Read this first, see how you feel about it, and then read the reply blog letter to Mrs. Hall.¬†http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2013/09/dear-mrs-hall-regarding-your-fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/.

If you’ve read it already, you know what it’s about. ¬†If you haven’t read it, and you frankly don’t want to read them, here’s the gist: ¬†Mrs. Hall says, “Teenage girls, be careful what you post because my ‘Hall men’ (her boys) can see it, we see it, and my boys like it when you pose with your duck lips with your nipples showing because you’re not wearing a bra, but I don’t like it because I’m their mom and my boys are perfect and you are ruining them. ¬†And also, if I see it one time, then you’re done. ¬†That’s it. ¬†No second chances for the Hall men.” ¬†(I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Mom #2 says, “Nuh-uh…don’t blame it all on the girls.” ¬†(Also paraphrasing.)

When I first read Mrs. Hall’s post, I was in complete agreement with her. ¬†I have two boys, one of which is in junior high and is on Facebook and Instagram. ¬†Now, he’s 12 years old. ¬†Should he be on Instagram at this age? ¬†Well, that was our decision as parents to let him be on Instagram under our close monitoring. ¬†He has a lot of friends, both boys and girls, who are members as well. ¬†Like Mrs. Hall, I see my son’s friends’ posts – the good, the bad, and the ugly. ¬†Mrs. Hall refers to her sons as “Hall men.” ¬†My son is a boy, and I won’t be calling him a man until he’s at least 18 or can grow a beard, so I’m guessing, judging by his dad’s beard-growing skills, about 25,

He’s a boy. ¬†A prepubescent boy about to be pubescent. ¬†He’s had his iPhone taken away so many times I can’t even count anymore. ¬†Sometimes it’s for talking back, rolling his eyes, just being a little jerk like prepubescent boys can be. ¬†Sometimes I think he forgets we monitor every. single. thing he does on his phone because he’s had his phone taken away umpteen times for posts or comments that are rude or inappropriate. ¬†We monitor his activity, first and foremost, but we DO see all the posts of his friends, and at times we feel like we must be the only parents monitoring their kids’ activity on social media. ¬†Because if the parents of these kids were monitoring, there’s no way they would allow their kid to post that inappropriate material; right?

Well, then, that gets into a whole slippery slope of who lets their kids do what and say what that I don’t let my kids do or say. ¬†Some parents let their kids swear, so an Instagram post with swear words isn’t going to bother them, whereas my kid will lose his phone and be grounded for a month. ¬†It isn’t for me to judge how other people raise their kids. ¬†I can only raise mine.

It’s a different world now, though, isn’t it? ¬†When I was a teenager, my friend and I took somewhat provocative photos of ourselves. ¬†With a camera. ¬†With film. ¬†No Facebook, no Instagram in 1994. ¬†I developed the pictures, we had a good laugh over them, and guess what? ¬†They don’t exist anymore. ¬†Once I was old enough to know better, they were promptly destroyed. ¬†What kids don’t seem to grasp with social media is that once it’s out there online, it’s out there. ¬†Even if they delete it themselves, it’s still out there. ¬†If you text someone a photo on their phone, there’s no end to the possibilities of where that photo can end up.

This is what I strive to teach my sons about the Internet and social media. ¬†My son, my boy (again not a man) has big dreams about what he wants to do with his life. ¬†I am so happy he has big goals. ¬†I try to make him understand that the choices he makes now, and the things he puts out there, might come back to bite him later on. ¬†But he’s a kid, and he doesn’t have the proper brain synapses yet to grasp that on his own. ¬†That’s why his parents, us, have to step in when appropriate and gently, but firmly, redirect him. ¬†Just like when they were toddlers and getting into something. ¬†Saying “no” only goes so far. ¬†You have to get their noses out of it and into something more appropriate.

Doesn’t this all come down to parenting? ¬†Whether you have a boy or a girl, it’s parenting. ¬†If you have a teenage girl, I hope you are monitoring what she posts on social media. ¬†Not because other people might judge her (even though they will) but for her sake, for her future, because she doesn’t know how her 25-year-old self is going to look back on her teen self and regret the things she did then. ¬†Boys are going to look at her as a sexual being (I don’t like the word “object” here) whether she posts pictures on Instagram or not. ¬†But I know if social media were around when I was a teen, my own mom would’ve been monitoring it (because she monitored ME) and she taught me the constants that don’t change in life, no matter what our form of communication is at the moment. ¬†Boys are attracted to girls. ¬†Girls are attracted to boys. ¬†(Assuming they are heterosexual. ¬†You get what I’m saying.) I knew as a teenager what boys were after. ¬†I knew not to put it all out there. ¬†I had self-respect. ¬†Why? ¬†Because that’s how I was raised.

If you have boys, you need to teach your boys how to treat girls, to respect girls. ¬†I am teaching my boys these things. ¬†TEACH your boys that girls are not sexual objects. TEACH your boys to think before they post. ¬†TEACH your boys to ask themselves whether what they say online to someone they would say to that person’s face.

ASK yourselves as a parent whose responsibility it is to parent your children. ¬†Do not put the responsibility on other parents or a 13-year-old girl who will make mistake after mistake after mistake and fall down many times, just like your child will, each time refining themselves. ¬†This is what life is after all. ¬†We all make mistakes, and we are given grace to start again. ¬†As parents, we dole out grace a lot, don’t we? ¬†We unconditionally love our sweet children no matter what they do. ¬†Perhaps we should be more forthcoming with grace for other people’s children as well.

If we (Mrs. Hall) cannot teach our (her) children how to handle being on social media and seeing what there is to see, then perhaps they have no business being on social media to begin with. ¬†After all, we can’t parent other people’s kids. ¬†If it’s too hot in the kitchen, it’s time to get out of it and order takeout. ¬†(I don’t know..just came to me.)

As for me, I give my kids plenty of grace (rope to hang themselves with) and when they need it, I pull them back in. ¬†As a 35-year-old woman now, I’m pretty glad I had parents who gave a shit to monitor what I did and who I talked to. ¬†I don’t have a lot of regrets from my teen years, but after making mistakes like everyone does, I’m glad I was given plenty of grace so I could screw up again. ¬†Where would anyone be if they were written off after one mistake?

Mrs. Hall, the next time you see the girl with no bra, or in her bath towel, seducing your precious, innocent boys, don’t chastise the girl. ¬†Ask yourself, “Where are her parents?”

crazyboys

My boys when they were little and cute. ūüôā