The other day I attended some automotive focus groups, and one of the respondents said, “I don’t ever want to drive a mom car.” She was, of course referring to a mini-van and the lifestyle that goes with it…a soccer mom, if you will. She was probably visualizing a hurried mom, wearing yoga pants, loading sports gear into her car, chauffeuring a million kids, a toddler screaming, not wanting to be seated, food crumbs all over the place, and mom frantically driving from place to place taking her kids to different activities….whoosh, just typing that made me all frenzy!
This got me thinking, at what point, did soccer mom turn into such a negative thing, and who made it so? The respondent from the focus group didn’t have kids but was planning a family soon. She had adopted the negative soccer mom image and was turned off by it. In my mind I was thinking, just wait until you have kids and then you can make up your mind, especially about the car you’ll need, because having kids really changes the priorities in your life. But even within the mom world, “soccer mom” has taken on a negative meaning, referring to an overprotective, domineering, suburban mom who is controlling every aspect of her kids’ time and forcing them into activities after school rather then letting them enjoy their free time and their childhood.
When seen like this, of course it’s negative, and might even scare people from ever wanting kids. You may even know someone like this, but we are not all like that – not even close. Us “very involved” moms are dedicated, fun, enthusiastic, and encouraging, if anything we are more like fútbol moms…passion for our kids, passion for their sports. My kids, for example, have free time despite being involved with swimming and piano practice nearly everyday. Whether we are soccer moms or not, we’re all in the same boat, dedicated to doing what is best for our kids, and dreaming big for them. Because if we as parents don’t do it, then who will?
I’m sure that at the beginning of this whole “soccer mom” phenomenon, she was the mom that was the loudest cheerleader for her kids, the busy mom handling all the paperwork, creating the signs, baking the goods, fundraising, and treating the entire team as her own. She not only did it out of the goodness of her heart and her big dreams, but also because it’s a lot of fun. Somewhere along the way, however, one or two bad apples got carried away with the soccer mom title and took it too far being overbearing and obnoxious and giving it a bad rep.
The other day my sister shared with me a P&G spot in honor of Mother’s Day and the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Click on link to view the spot.
P&G did a great job at not only recognizing mom’s efforts, but also of portraying her as her child’s rock “beyond athletics and into their everyday lives.” She is clearly dedicated, persevering and involved, and IMHO, the ultimate soccer mom. What better prize then seeing your child overcome challenges and driven to succeed knowing that they are loved, supported and encouraged. That is the soccer mom I aspire to be.