Thursday, March 26, 2009

American Pastime

So our first baseball season has begun. I am stressed on many levels.

First off, I worry about my special guy on a team with his typical peers. Baseball is highly competitive and places so much pressure on the individual. How will he fit in? How will the other kids treat him? How will the coaches treat him? What about the other parents? They scare me worst of all...
Secondly, I'm stressed about logistics. Emily is not one to be left out and so she's playing her first season of softball. Sitting down with the team schedules, my calendar and two different colored pens to make sense of it all...I've quickly realized that the majority of their games and practices are at the exact same time. On two different fields. Of course.

Thirdly, I have anxiety about dinner time, bedtime, baths and homework. Baseball is so much more time-intensive than soccer or basketball. So many games/practices on school nights! I like my children in bed early. I like myself in bed early. How am I going to squeeze it all in? Without losing my niceness?

I know this is old news for many of you and I want advice. All you baseball moms out there...HELP!

Please write in and share your wisdom. Where can I find affordable cleats? What should I fix for dinner? How do you entertain younger sibs hour after hour at the baseball field? How can I cheer for two players at the same time? When my husband's outta town? How much SPF should I be wearing?

I know you've got the answers...

22 comments:

Annemarie said...

Three boys, two different teams & practice schedules & games (almost three)AGHH!!
My calendar is rather full.

Dinner: Snack shack hotdogs. I know, gross. But every once in a awhile it's a treat for all involved.
Cleats: Nike Keystone. They have expanders & you can get at least two seasons out of these bad boys.
Sunscreen: a must on the back of your neck.
Younger sibs: snacks & other kids at the field (an open field hopefully) will keep them busy.

I talk like I know what's up, but really, I have ALL of the same concerns. Enjoy it. It really is a fun sport. Your kids will have a blast!

HILLARY said...

As a veteran baseball/softball mom - all 4 last season - down to 2 this year:) I have a few hints...

Take a portable dvd player, lots of snacks, big blanket or chairs for them, water, know where the porta potty's are !

Dinner at the snack shack is the easiest, or try to crock pot it or feed them a big snack after school and have something easy when you get home. The 1$ menu's always work!!!

You can always try play it again sports for cleats and pans and socks and ... but somewhere like big 5 or whatever usually has good sales.

As far as spf... they'll need it, but you'll have the best tan around. I will miss my JOBL tan this season. Just try to be calm. I f you miss one's game, they get you next time. There were times when all 4 played at the same time. Thankfully it was all at the same complex, not different schools. Ge tot know the other moms and share the load.

Do not, I repeat do NOT try to take on anything from each team. I was team rep for all 4 teams last year and my husband coached 2 of them!! Hopefully this will help you feel a little less stress, it could be worse!!!

I have some older posts on my blog... but I'm not sure if you want to read them! I do/will miss seeing my little girls play this year. I know they have more time in them. Try to enjoy and not think ahead to who's game your missing.

Sorry this is a novel, as you can see I've put in my time. ope any of this helps.

Paige said...

You need help. Hired help. Have someone help you out, and do dinner runs, etc. You are outnumbered. Hire a teenager for the season. You don't need to do it alone, and their are no prizes other than anxiety for doing it yourself!

the wrath of khandrea said...

leave it to paige to suggest hired help. i love that girl.

we are embarking on the same season, except all three kids are doing soccer on three different teams. my husband has night classes. i am scared.

in the past, i have found whichever kids weren't playing quickly found other non-playing siblings, and grabbed a ball to run around with. i just let them go be kids. if they're not playing, i don't expect them to sit and cheer for their sibling who is. it works out well.

meals are tricky. annemarie's right; some nights you just have to suck it up and get the happy meal. (with apple dippers and fruit juice, of course) but depending on the time of the game, if you plan ahead you can have a crockpot waiting when you get home.
also, there's nothing wrong with the occasional bowl of cheerios for supper.
i wish your son the best. i feel your fear- this is noe's first season in sports, and i have no idea how her hearing impairment will affect her ability. but we give it a shot, right? we're doing the right thing, gab.

Meg said...

I am so with you on this. Now that my husband is the bishop I am not sure how I am going to juggle the baseball and flag football schedules. One day at a time that is my motto.

diane said...

I did this with 3 kids and 3 teams for about 10 years.

We bought cleats at Walmart and Payless when they were young and growing fast. Crockpot meals can work when everyone is going in different directions. My youngest had snack shack cavities from all the candy we bribed her with to watch another game. I finally switched her to corn nuts. Carpool as much as you can. SPF 30 and a visor. Invest in a good portable chair with cup holders.

Girl's softball is fun. They do cheers and they have matching hair bows. I'm all about the fashion.

Travelin'Oma said...

Food: sack snacks, sack dinners, snack shack--baseball season is a time out of time, so let everybody eat whatever's available whenever they're hungry, forget the normal routine, and just roll with it.

Have a plastic box with a handle (rubbermaid type) packed in the car with a few little cars, airplanes, sidewalk chalk, whiffle balls and bats, activity books and pencils, bandaids, juice boxes, crackers, wipes, insect spray, suntan lotion, etc. Restock it after games and leave it in the car. Pack it like you would for a day at the beach.

Always have a lightweight chair (for yourself) and a blanket or two for the kids. I liked to sit away from the bleachers so I didn't overhear the other parents talk about my kid. It was too awful to listen to their criticism, plus my own little kids were better when I wasn't preoccupied.

On the other hand, maybe it would help if you told every parent about Jake and your worries. Then they would be on your side, rooting for Jake's success and they might pass it on to their kids. Just say you're so thrilled with the coach because he's so supportive of Jake and then explain why. Or say Jake's so excited but you're very nervous and anxious for him to have a good experience and be totally open.

Take a big bag of bubble gum or suckers or something and let your little boys (in matching shirts) pass them around to the parents and other fans. Let their cuteness win friends for Jake.

Tell the coach and his wife thanks after every game, praise them for their work and sacrifice, and thank anybody who cheers for Jake. Make sure Jake thanks them every time, too. They'll feel appreciated and be more patient.

Teach your kids some lingo like "Hey batta, batta, batta" and have them cheer for Jake or Emmie every time they do anything (even when they just run in from the field.)

We would LOVE to be able to come to these games!! I grew up going to baseball games, and we did it for years with our boys. We miss little league! Good luck!

Lauren in GA said...

Such great advice has already been given. I agree with Diane...we get cleats at Wal-Mart or Payless.

My husband and usually take turns and when he has to work late I have had to rely on the kindness of other moms to give rides. I pay them back by taking their child to practice when Mike is available. I die inside if I think someone thinks I am taking advantage of them. I like Paige's idea about hiring a teenager or someone to help. You can only be in so many places at once.

I am petrified of other parents...it strikes fear in my heart. I understand your fear.

Christie said...

Everyone has given such great advice. I'll add my two cents: Cell phone for the kids. Having two boys on two different ball fields, across town from each other, and at the exact same time, required someone to be dropped off early. That was when we got a cell phone for the kids so I could talk to whoever was not with me, and so they could know I was on my way, etc. It was a lifesaver.

I don't envy you. Baseball season is a busy one. We're starting our own here, but luckily, only one boy plays now.

Melissa-Mc said...

This happened last year with me and soccer. Practice at the same times 30 minutes away from each other. I really didn't figure it out, because I was always late to everything. Hopefully you can carpool with someone for practices. That helps out a lot.

Also, I have a friend that hires my daughter to come with her to soccer games for the express purpose of entertaining the younger siblings. Good luck.

Annemarie said...

I had to come back for some advice for ME.
Your mom is a genius, and I will be putting many of her suggestions to good use!!

Hazen5 said...

Oh girl, you have come to the right place! We LIVE baseball. Buy cleats at a second hand store or payless, they grow so fast to invest in expensive ones. Dinners: Have a picnic at the park, do the snack bar thing and also, check out local restaurant- sometimes they deliver to the fields. Activities for the kiddos- Portable DVD players, Crayons & Color Books, bring a soccer ball for kids to kick around, let the kids listen and play with your ipod.

And bring lots of snack for bribing!

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Big 5 for the cleats, may not be the cheapest but it's the easiest and you can buy some extra socks while you are there! You WILL need more than one pair of socks lol.

Dinner?? Hmmm sunflower seeds, nachos and McD's.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Oh and keep a case of water in the back of your car!

Jenibelle said...

Great advice. I got very adept at crock pots (great recipes if you need them...) and making extra dinners to freeze and stick in the oven on a timer. Yadda Yadda Yadda....

About Jake, absolutely talk to the coach and maybe to the team. I think just putting the honesty out there is always the best policy. We used to take Rachel to everyone's games, meets etc...one day Mitch asked me not to, he was embarrassed by her noises etc. I understood that. But I knew that they could learn a wonderful lesson from her also. So I asked if I could come to a practice and talk to his team. I told them that she had been hurt as a baby and that it wasn't her choice. I explained that funny noises and such were her way of communicating and that she loved watching the kids. I was very honest. The cool thing was that the teams rose to the challenge, they would talk to her, be silly with her etc, run her in her wheelchair around the bases, honestly, very cool things happened. When you take out the unknown, you take away the fear and the curiosity. When the kids on Jake's team understand how much they can mean to him and his family, they will rise to the opportunity. They will encourage him, they will cheer for him, they will be invested in HIS season as well as their own. Maybe I should have emailed you! Oh, I want Jake to have a wonderful experience and his sweet parents too. You know where to find me. Good luck my friend, you're so wise, you're going to be fine through this season. Can't wait for the progress reports!

Ilene said...

Just a soccer mom for now. I'm sure one day I will be turning to this post for help.

Good Luck my friend!

wenderful said...

I'm sorry. I'm glad I'm not you this season. Is that mean? Those games are so much longer when you have little siblings to corral.

I haven't got much for you. Crockpot? Magnifying glasses for the little ones to find bugs and such? Contraband snacks for moments of desperation? A bag of marshmallows and some marshmallow guns? Spray bottles for the heat and for spraying everything in sight?
Good luck!

Holly said...

Wowzers! I do not envy you and other moms juggling Little League Life along with regular life, but I do wish you loads of luck!!

Looks like you've been getting some great advice. I like the idea of firing up your crockpot for meals and possibly packing a small cooler for snacks and drinks while you warm the bleachers (I bet ballpark food gets pricey and too much of it won't be a good thing). Maybe keep a small box of outdoor toys in your car for siblings to play with if they get bored watching the game.

Don't forget wipes, your camera and a comfy chair. Have FUN!!

polly said...

I just read all the comments about baseball season. Great advice. The one I have is don't juggle around "regular life" make it your life for now. it can be such a fun time. I love the advice on having the team know about Jake. I really think that coaches and kids will rally and help and cheer him on. I used to hire babysitters for little ones. I'd offer the choice. If they came to the game, they needed to watch and learn and cheer or they could stay home and play. I didn't want baseball season to be a drag for them. so they would choose. if they all came to the games then i'd bring the sitter along, to help, cause i liked to watch the games. loved marty's advice about sitting away from the group of parents..i used to find a really sympathetic friend and we'd sit in our comfy chairs with our kids and diet cokes and watch the games and solve world problems..i love baseball!

Rochelleht said...

Ouch. Little Ceasar's saves my behind many days a week. My friend was at her kids' first baseball came last night and she was there for 3 hours with 4 kids. Her dh is in the doghouse. ;-)

Good luck!!

Heidiram said...

I have to say I just had an epiphany the other night. I was already starting to freak out about what I was going to do when Fall Ball rolls around and all three of my kids are playing. I made an executive decision for my rough and tumble daughter. She is going to play BASEBALL with her brother until she tells me she wants to play softball. That way I just have two different sets of games and practices to deal with instead of three. I always make early dinner on game and practice nights . . . crock pot, sandwiches, or other easy things. Then when we get home from the baseball field, the kids eat a second dinner which is a bowl of cereal, oatmeal, frozen waffles, etc. I pack lots of snacks and water for the fields. My kids didn't even know that the snack shack existed until last season. Big Bummer! Now I have to come up with 50 cents for each kid per game to buy their ring pop. But, the ring pop kills a lot of time. They stay busy sucking on that until there's only 15-20 minutes left of the game or practice.

We also buy the nike cleats. They last for Fall and Spring ball. We get them at Sports Authority and they're about $35. But, for two seasons, it works for us. Also, instead of buying the expensive $20-$30 baseball pants, I buy 2 of the cheap-0 Wal-Mart $8 baseball pants. Then I'm not doing laundry every single day. With two pants in the rotation, and 2 practices/2 games per week, my son just has to go every other game/practice with dirty pants. At first I was really anal about making sure all the grass stains and red clay were out of his pants for every practice and game. Now I am so over it. Both pairs of pants get washed once a week . . . and once only . . . by my son and not by me.

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