Do you find yourself secretly dreading the [insert your child’s favorite sport here] season? Or like me, are you feeling like a Frazzled Mom, audibly moaning when softball sign-ups are announced?
Busy? Have a listen to the podcast episode right here…
That sense of overwhelm is incredibly real. Come along as we work out how to make the long weeks of the softball season smoother and more joyful not just for your player, but also for you my kindred Frazzled Mom, and your entire frazzled family as well.
Picture This Scene Frazzled Mom…
The kids arrive home from school and have a softball game in two hours. They go off to have an afternoon snack and work on their homework. A half-hour later you realize that in 45 minutes they need to be in the field warming up and you have to take them there. You interrupt them from their school work and begin barking out orders.
Your softball players start scrambling to find their uniforms which are smelly, dirty, and wrinkled at the bottom of the laundry basket from the last game. One cannot find her belt, and her uniform socks are missing, they still need to have water bottles filled, and one is not sure where her face mask has gone.
You realize the baby still needs to eat a meal before you head out because he can’t wait until 8:00 pm, which is the time you all will arrive back home after the game. Not without screaming his head off from hunger, anyway.
Oh, and the two teams are playing in different fields because they belong to different divisions due to age, so you need to drive all over town.
Meanwhile, your husband comes in wondering if there is anything available to stuff into his mouth before you all take off. “It is almost dinner time, after all.”
Ugh! You begin to swear wildly in your head wondering why you can’t seem to get this thing together. It is like this every time there is a game, and a deep loathing for anything softball slowly creeps into your heart.
Your kids are apologetic and frazzled, you are frustrated and guilty for laying into them about their lack of organization, and the tragic state of their rooms. “Cough, cough, wherever did they inherit that trait?”
Your husband is puzzled why you are yelling at him since he just walked in from work and cannot possibly be the cause of all this chaos.
To me, this is the definition of a frazzled family and the frazzled mom leading this ship.
No one is enjoying this. Enough is enough. By the way, you are DEFINITELY not the only one experiencing this pain. So are most of the families of your daughter’s teammates.
Once and for all, let us wage war on this chaos, and create a system to combat game prep mayhem and help make life a bit more joyful for all involved.
WE CAN DO THIS!!!
The Frazzled Mom’s Epic Guide for Surviving Softball Season
1. Review the Weekly Schedule for Schedule Changes.
Outdoor spring sports are a tricky thing for a family schedule. Changes in game times and days are commonplace when rainy weather affects the field conditions. This can be frustrating for any mom who loves her planner and values schedules.
So flexibility here is essential to maintaining your inner peace. “Roll with it,” will become your mantra. Still, it is helpful knowing what is coming up for the next week and what should be happening.
Try establishing the habit of having a family calendar of the upcoming week’s events from Monday to Sunday on the fridge or command center. Everyone in the family will benefit from knowing where everyone is supposed to be each day.
Communication can improve so much by utilizing this simple system. Again, flexibility here is key. Events may move around so having a game plan for this will help you all long-term.
Go to your team website or check with communications from your coach or league to look for any changes or updates to the schedule for the week. Update the calendar accordingly so everyone is in the know.
2. Coordinate Rides and Carpools for the Week Ahead.
If necessary, buddy up with another family on the team, whom you trust, and who lives nearby, to share carpooling duties. This is especially helpful if you have other children that need to go to other activities at the same or overlapping time.
With sports, it’s not just game times but practices as well that can require rides. Having a buddy family to help get your little one there or back can be a lifesaver on more than one occasion during the season. Be sure to reciprocate for their needs as well, as they arise.
3. Plan meals for the week and use the Crock-Pot if you’re into that kind of thing.
If you like crockpot meals, by all means, let this tool be your BFF during this season. Everyone will be coming home famished after a game. And typically during the workweek, games are played right smack in the middle of dinner time.
Do your kids and spouse a favor and know what you are all having for dinner on game nights.
Help out your family budget by minimizing the take-out. Take-out can cost a small fortune for a family when there are three games a week. That can be a huge expense. Not to mention, it is not the healthiest choice most of the time.
Instead, having a meal ready to heat up in the microwave or serve from the crockpot can be a lifesaver.
Sometimes, I have boogied out as soon as the game is done and rushed home to get dinner ready. My husband would chit-chat a bit with other parents or coaches, and the girls would likewise be chatting with their friends or picking up the gear.
By the time they got home 20-30 min later, a simple pasta dinner was ready to be served. Have your own game plan for dinner, you will thank yourself.
4. Include after-school and pre-game snacks in the meal plan.
Speaking of food, be sure your kids eat a little something to hold them over and fuel them for the game.
I know my kids don’t like to eat anything too heavy before a game because it can slow them down or upset their stomach if they are running around a lot. But if they are starving, that doesn’t help her performance much either. It is distracting to them.
Having a plan for after school and pre-game snacks will help your player have enough good fuel to energize her game-time performance.
On the other hand, if you are so on top of your game that you have dinner ready, and make the mistake of quickly feeding your players this wonderful food in the car, on the way to the game, or even had them swallow it whole at home, do not be flabbergasted when they ask you what’s for dinner on the way home from a game.
They will be STARVING regardless if you feed them a dinner-sized portion that they scarf down on the way to the game. It will not count in their minds.
On those occasions I have made that mistake, my kids ended up eating a ‘snack’ for dinner. “Bowl of cereal time, kids.”
Even though it’s essentially the same result for their bodies if they have a snack before or after a game, it does mess with your morale when your children ask you what’s for dinner after you have already lovingly prepared, cooked and fed them for the day.
Be sure to read Healthy Game Day Snacks to Make You Queen of the Cooler later for 50+ team snack ideas, pre-game, post-game, and game time snack ideas.
5. Have your child set out her uniform and pack her equipment bag the night before a game.
My dear friends, the ideal time to discover that your daughter’s softball uniform is covered in dirt from the last time she slid into second base is not five minutes before she is to don that garb. Nor do you want to scramble around looking for her right cleat a minute before you should have been in the car.
Take advice from a fellow frazzled mom who has lived this calamity time and time again.
The better time to learn that an emergency load needs to go into the wash or be washed out by hand is the night before a game.
Now, sisters, I KNOW that we just acknowledged that we often come home from games past 8:00 pm and by then our children are hungry, tired, dirty, smelly, and may still need to complete school assignments and take showers.
Our kids are tired, as are we, no doubt. Still, taking a moment to store their sports equipment in a place they will find it, to dig out their water bottles to wash and refill them, to remove and place their uniforms either in a special hamper to be washed right away so it’s ready for next game or if it’s not too disgusting, to go ahead and put it all on a hanger, or back of a chair. A spot where they will know exactly where to find it.
If the uniform is disgusting, I now have my girls put them into a mesh laundry basket in their room. This makes it simple for them, helps let it air out a bit more than in the bottom of a hamper, and keeps it all together so I can dump the entire bag into its own wash and everything is together. See my laundry system tips here for more details on how easy this can be for you.
For softball uniforms, folding the pants, sliding shorts, socks, and shirt over the hanger rod and hooking the belt and visor over the hook keeps it all in one spot. This is a habit you will need to help your sweetheart to create. My girls now like to store their SB uniform in one of these plastic organizers. Since I have one daughter that is a baller to the extreme and plays for several teams, she keeps her gear of each team: uniform, socks, belt in its own drawer. Take a look here at the Ultimate Softball Equipment List.
Because her natural inclination may be to ball up the socks and toss them willy-nilly to the other side of the room, tossing her shirt, pants, and sliding shorts into the hamper (which will inevitably be covered with more smelly laundry by the next game three days later).
Cleats and the dirt they track through the house are not allowed past the doorway. Preferably, they stay outside the front door on the porch to air out.
We are a household where girl sports rule. So, our entryway has cleats and softball bags, basketball shoes and duffel bags stored year around. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
If your player has special equipment: a brace for knees or ankles, inhalers, etc. Making sure she knows where those are and helping her keep organized will be a skill that will carry throughout her lifetime.
Lastly, be sure she checks her bat bag for all her necessary gear and equipment. If you have little beans in the house too as we do, her glove might just be mysteriously missing from her bag. If she doesn’t check it before she leaves, that could spell disaster and more stress on the field. “Run home, frazzled mom, please find my glove!”
Establishing a habit of prepping for games the night before will minimize any last-minute hustling and fights, and help the prep and therefore the game goes much smoother for your player.
6. Put ice water and bench snacks in the fridge the night before.
Right along those lines of prepping equipment, likewise, prepping the water bottles and any snacks for the bench or ride to the game ahead of time will ease your departure and be a quick grab-and-go situation.
7. Wash uniforms twice a week (in the tub or sink if necessary).
Washing uniforms twice a week may be necessary if your child is getting in there sliding on grass or dirt. Softball is played outdoors. Her uniform will get dirty. It’s actually a good sign.
So prepare yourself to wash her uniform after each game. It’s more work for us, but she will appreciate that you care.
If you don’t have a washer and dryer at home, do not think you need to schlep to the laundromat several times a week. In those cases, washing with a drop of detergent in the sink or tub and hang drying in the shower will do the trick.
Again, game day is not the time to discover you need to hand wash and dry a uniform! By all means, if your child is of the age to do this task for herself, equip her and let her be responsible for cleaning and prepping her gear.
It is a skill that will serve her well throughout her lifetime, after all, we are trying to raise up responsible, independent adults aren’t we?
Tip: If your child is on a tournament team for softball, pick up extra socks to have her change into between games. Her toes will thank you.
8. Keep your car stocked with the Family Car Kit Essentials.
Softball can often mean traveling to games and not being close to home. Having a kit in the trunk of your car with some family essentials can help in a jam.
You know your family and the things they end up needing most while you are out for the day.
Some useful things to store in a zippered tote or plastic box may be items that you will need for a day out in the sun, such as Sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, trash bags, towel, toilet paper (if the port-a-potty is empty), extra t-shirt, ace-bandage (if there is a sprain or injury on the field), paper towels, a coin purse with some cash and change for the snack bar, tiny first aid kit with Neosporin and band-aids, feminine pads (for your teenagers).
Pens, pencils, markers, and a notepad. Snack bags of non-perishables are useful also like popcorn or pretzels, etc. These are just some things that are in mine.
If you have a baby, be sure to include a change of clothes, baby blanket, some extra diapers and wipes, and emergency Cheerios or baby food.
In the car, I also keep a picnic blanket and sheet to lay on the grass, and a folding chair or two.
Spring in New England can be more like a mild rainy winter, so I also pack a hat, gloves, scarf, raincoat, sweatshirt, jacket, and a winter throw or blanket. In June we are still using these things on occasion!
Check out my Best Basic Travel Softball Car Packing List complete with a link to the printable checklist for your convenience.
9. Limit your child’s extra-curricular activities to one sport per season.
OOOH, I know I am going to hear it on this one, but, I am just going to say it. This is a tough one, but running all over creation to different games, practices, recitals, lessons, etc. (all for the same child) and having to choose between sports is not fair to your child, her teammates or her coach. Nor is it a way to avoid chaos in a family.
Multiply this scenario between several children and it is a recipe for frustration, exhaustion, and lackluster performance.
Hear me out. When your child has to choose between a lacrosse practice and a softball game it is setting her up for failure in both sports.
If she is not at practice, she cannot develop her skills alongside her teammates. She cannot learn how to play the game they way her Coach is preparing the other players because she is not there to experience it. Her teammates won’t know how to depend on her because they won’t know her skill level and what she can handle. Coach won’t learn where her strengths lay and what she needs to develop.
Then when is it game time, she will only be using the skills she has learned before that practice, never truly advancing as much as she could, or developing at the level of her teammates.
If she chooses the practice of one sport over her other team’s game, her teammates are now having to pick up the slack of that missing player. They will have to play more because she won’t be there to allow them to rotate out and rest, the team will not have her talents to draw from. Essentially it handicaps the team.
It is not fair to the coach because she or he is working to develop players during a season and that cannot happen effectively if the player is not there to learn, play and practice her skills.
At game time, her coach will not know what to be able to expect from a player that is only occasionally present. It is frustrating. And unfair to everyone involved.
Besides there is something to be said about the old refrain, “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” You don’t necessarily want that for your child, do you?
At some point, she will need to make a choice if she is truly going to develop to her greatest potential. Dedication matters to coaches, teachers, instructors, and mentors.
Do not set your child up for failure or for disappointment. You all will feel more relaxed and at ease.
As it is, if you have more than one child, you are choosing where you need to be, don’t multiply that strain for each child. Give yourself a break.
Life is not necessarily about trying to do it all.
Better to do the one thing you are doing with joy and without regrets.
10. Frazzled Mom, you are ready, now look forward with excitement to the day’s events. Time for a player pep talk.
Finally, look forward to the day’s event with excitement and joy. Bless your child with a pep talk that encourages her skills, boosts her morale, and affirms your love and acceptance of her.
With everything you are doing it can be easy to let this critical step in your day’s preparations fall off the priority list. It is probably the MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD.
No matter how that game goes, as long as she knows she is accepted and loved, she can accept any outcome and bounce right back.
She needs to know that you believe in her and that you are cheering her on. This is much easier to do when you are relaxed and have prepared yourself ahead of time. It is a recipe for her success.
Wrapping it up…you are a Frazzled Mom no more!
I hope these ten tips have helped you in some way feel empowered to make slight tweaks in your home life that will positively impact your child’s experience on the ball field.
- Knowing what’s coming up for the week
- preparing her equipment the night before
- having a plan for nourishing your family on busy nights
- having a stash of just in case items at the ready
- and focusing on one sport per child per season
Having these areas organized should help you feel in control of your life a bit more.
It is up to Mom to be on top of her game and set the tone for the day.
Mom and Dad’s tone can often dictate the mood for an event. If Mom is all over the place, begrudging life and her children, on the verge of hysteria, well… its possible Sweetie is not going to have her best game, right?
If mom is excited, has her act together, is organized and ready to go, the kids will feed off her excitement and positive attitude, and generally follow suit.
Sorry to put it all on you, but after all, you wrote out the check and signed your child up for this! Might as well enjoy!
So say goodbye to Frazzled Mom and hello to Cool, Calm and Collected Mama!!
For our family, softball is a year-round sport. Spring, summer, autumn plus indoor training in winter. WOW! We have to have our act together and be organized to obtain a morsel of family peace. This peace I pass onto you and yours.
Happy planning and “Let’s Play Ball!”
P.S. These are awesome resources we’ve prepared for you.
- Before the Softball Season Begins, let’s make sure your player’s softball equipment is game ready. Check out the Ultimate Fastpitch Softball Equipment List with a link to a printable checklist.
- Get your car ready for any need you’ll come across on the softball field! Check out my Best Basic Travel Softball Car Packing List complete with a link to the printable checklist.
- If Softball Tournament Season is coming up, check out this post on How to Joyfully Survive the Softball Tournament Season.
- Wondering how to keep your other kids happy during the Softball Tournament Weekend of games? This post called How to Make a Softball Tournament fun for the Whole Family
- Healthy Game Day Snacks to Make You Queen of the Cooler
P.P.S. The Frazzled Mom’s Epic Guide for Surviving Softball Season
When the coming of Spring brings a groan that spring sports season has arrived, rather than relief that winter is over, it may be time to reevaluate how you handle the stress of spring sports season.
The Frazzled Mom’s Epic Guide to Softball Season will act as a guide and checklist to use every week to help you feel prepared and on top of things.
Share it with your other softball moms and teammates too!
Get it and much more in the Resource Library. Gain ACCESS to the Library below.
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.