Bad Team Mom
by Margaret Pence
There are three types of team mom: those who are enthusiastic and truly do a great job and set the bar high, those who accept the position out of a sense of duty and are perfectly functional, and BAD! It has been a long time since I had BAD, but I do this season!
Every Third Activity, You Must Volunteer
No one wants to be team mom (or manager, for you dads!), but I believe every third activity your child participates in, you need to volunteer in some capacity. With three children, I have been: team mom, assistant coach, Girl Scout cookie mom (for three years!), worked the scoreboard, moved the chains for football, announced games over the loudspeaker, kept the stats, worked in the nursery, tennis team captain (for my team and my children’s), chaperoned field trips, and the list goes on.
If you child is going to be on a team, in a troop or group, join a club, etc., you must volunteer. You don’t have to run the whole show, but you do have to help. The same people show up over and over and it is now your turn! We all have a season or two of hardship, but after that, it is your obligation. No organization runs by itself. Too many parents believe that their registration fee covers it all, and it is now their job to cheer on their children and criticize the coaches.
Two key characteristics of good team moms are communication and delegation. These moms are the heroes who keep the organizations running and make everyone else want to join that team. They are great leaders who are always there to pick up the slack from others. A great team mom I know commissioned paintings of the softball field as coaches’ gifts for the two great coaches we had. She sent emails reminding of snack duty and communicated all team changes by email immediately. The kids all had their own song to play when they came up to bat. She did not take on all the work herself—delegation is key. These teams usually form a special bond and are remembered years later for the fun they had.
These volunteers do what is required to keep the team or group functioning. This is all that is required. For sports, you send out the schedule and snack sign up. You send one email letting everyone know their duty, and leave it up to them to remember. Parents are adults after all, and shouldn’t need reminding. They collect the season ending funds for coaches’ gifts and team party. The gift is usually a gift certificate to local restaurant or sporting good store, with cookie cake for the team party. Anyone can do this! And everyone should do it at least every other year. If your children have played several seasons of sports, it is your obligation to sign up for team mom at least once. If everyone has been team mom at least once, there would be a lot less criticism. I am always thankful to the mom who steps up and does the job. Which brings me to my next point …
What happened? We all signed up on the sheet passed around for snack. Never saw the sheet again, some weeks we had snack, some weeks we didn’t. My guess is there were extra days and some people needed to sign up more than once. As the kids are wearing helmets and pads in 90-plus-degree weather, they need water and drinks at a minimum. If no one is bringing drinks, then parents should know so they provide drinks for their own children. I am fine with no snack at all, but communicate what is expected! Next—the gift. This mom sent a request for $50 per family for gifts. Some parents donated right away, and some complained that the price was too high. She lowered the request to $30. I was sitting with at least ten parents who checked their name off the envelope and gave the $30. We show up to the banquet and there was no gift for the coaches! What? Did she give it to him in private later? Or did it pay for her Christmas? I guess I will never know.
As I was typing, I just received an email from my daughter’s basketball team “manager” (a dad!). He reviewed the practice times, games, and snacks for this week, and attached directions to the away game! Now that is a good team manager!