Below Average Soccer Mom

Each stage of parenting comes with its own challenges. As I slowly transition from little kids to mid-sized kids, my job as mom involves more and more administrative challenges, and, thankfully, fewer and fewer bodily functions (non-self) that I need to take part in. While I’m happy to leave much of the little kid mess behind me, I have not yet mastered my new role.

This fall Luke has been part of our town’s travel soccer team. I was warned. This was going to be a Big Commitment. I figured people meant for him. Like, he was going to have to commit to his team, to hard work, to being part of something bigger than himself, to representing our town in a positive way, and all the other wholesome crap that comes with sports. Turns out, if anyone deserves a participation trophy, it’s Sally and me. Our lives have been turned upside down as we spend so much of our time hurrying up only to wait for hours in the cold.

The team practices twice weekly from 5:30 until it’s finally too damn dark. My kids get off the school bus around 4:00. This gives us 1.5 hours to decompress, have a snack, do homework, eat dinner, change for soccer, and get to practice.

Snack and dinner within 90 minutes? Nope. Dinner afterwards? For my early-to-bed kids, that’s a no go. So my solution was to serve dinner instead of an after school snack. The kids walk in the door and instead of cheese and crackers, I dish up chicken and potatoes; in lieu of apples and peanut butter, I serve spaghetti bolognese.

Would you want to eat that at 4:00 in the afternoon? Neither do they. I tried pushing it off until closer to 5:00, but they get home desperately hungry and there’s no way they can face their homework in that state. (Think: Gremlins)

Weeks and weeks of failed attempts to feed my kids passed until this week when I finally nailed it. I successfully fed my kids dinner at 4:00! They ate second helpings and went into the evening happy and with full bellies. I felt at once triumphant and completely mortified. What magical dinner overcame the awkward timing? Fish sticks, corn, and ramen noodles. Are there foods lower on the nutritional totem pole? I’ve come a long way since my homemade baby food days. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Pinterest, please avert your eyes.

So I haven’t quite mastered the job of soccer mom yet. I can’t figure out how to manage dinner and practice on the same night, and I only have one of my kids in a sport. How parents juggle multiple kids in multiple sports and lessons is far beyond my imagination and skill set.

Thankfully, the season is nearly over. The hours spent on the sidelines between the weeknight practices and the two games each weekend have grown unpleasantly cold. While I’m clearly not yet at a varsity level, I have learned a few things:

  • When the coaches stress the commitment that the team entails, they are talking to you, the parent;
  • No matter how much your child loves the sport, the act of putting on cleats is torture and it is YOUR FAULT;
  • Kids don’t want to eat a complete dinner in lieu of a snack;
  • Sometimes, ramen noodles are OK;*
  • The kid on the sidelines patiently waiting through all the boring practices and games is the kid that deserves a (non)participation trophy.

As autumn presses on and each frosty morning foretells the pending winter confinement, I’m looking forward to life slowing down a bit. Soon we’ll have seemingly endless afternoons in which to fit snacks and dinners. I can have conversations with my kids other than me harassing them to get ready faster. I’ll forget how crazed I felt this fall, and will happily sign Luke up for soccer again next year, and will likely believe that I can also handle a sport for Sally. But this time, I’ll bring out the ramen from the start.

*This might be a new mantra of mine.

Soccer Mom

All About Head Lice (blech!)

There’s not much that terrifies the elementary school parent as much as these two words: head lice. *shudder* We’ve all heard horror stories of the gross little bugs that itch and multiply and resist extermination.

As the school year is now in full swing, it won’t be long before some of us get the dreaded letter home stating that there is a case of head lice in our child’s classroom. Back in the day, a lice-infested kid was banned from returning to school until a nurse check determined her free and clear of the nasty little buggers. But these days the rules are different. In our school district there are no such restrictions. I eye every child suspiciously and pull my daughter’s hair back into scalp-stretching styles hoping this will help keep the creepy crawlies at bay. *shudder*

It’s no wonder we find the thought so terrifying! Head lice are tiny insects, about the size of a sesame seed (2–3 mm long). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, they feed on blood from the scalp, and they lay and attach their eggs in the hair close to the scalp. Head lice live about 28 days and can multiply quickly, laying up to 10 eggs a day!


(Is your head suddenly itchy as you read this? I can’t tell you how itchy mine is as I write it!)

Luckily, there are products to help us rid ourselves of a lice infestation should we have the misfortune to get one.

All About Lice

For more information on the specific ingredients most commonly found in OTC products to treat head lice, check out these links: Permethrin, (found in Nix) and Piperonyl Butoxide and Pyrethrum Extract, (found in Pronto or Rid).

I hope I never have to use these products, but should lice come home with one of my kids, I’ll be glad to have some effective weapons at my disposal. Until then, I’ll live in a mild state of fear and revulsion. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a shower and check my head because I feel itchy all over. *shudder*

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by KnowYourOTCs educational program which has provided me compensation to write about the safe and appropriate use of OTCs. All content, views, and opinions are my own.

Visit Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s profile on Pinterest.

Reading Can Save Lives

When it comes to reading things carefully, I am not a natural to begin with. Since I’ve had kids? I’m damn near hopeless. After all, what’s more distracting than kids? Nothing. When my kids are around I can barely think straight. Hours after cleaning up from breakfast, I’ve found boxes of cereal in my fridge and containers of milk in my pantry – testaments to how much my kids have ruined my mind.

OK, so there’s one thing more distracting than kids, and that’s sick kids. A child whose burning up with fever or vomiting? THE WORST. Holding a screaming toddler in one arm while trying to read the Drug Facts label on your bottle of Acetaminophen, after a sleepless night with the sick child, is no easy task.

Despite my general state of distraction, one thing I’m now always careful to read is the labels on medications. Ever since that time I had a UTI and my doctor called in a prescription for Pyridium. (That’s the stuff that makes it not hurt to go, and it turns your pee a garish orange color.) Anyway, as I was about to gratefully swallow my first dose I happened to take a second glance at the prescription label. The pharmacy had given me a prescription for progesterone instead! That’s a hormone that I did not need. Holy shit! I almost took the wrong medication based on a pharmacy error! Ever since then, I always carefully check my prescription labels and you should too because clearly pharmacists are also sometimes distracted.

It’s not just prescription medications that one has to be careful with. Even over the counter medications can be dangerous if used incorrectly. And considering the distracted state that parents usually find ourselves in, we should take a few moments to ensure we are administering the correct medication, at the correct dosage, and not creating any adverse interactions with other medications or supplements. It’s easy to overlook those supplements!

I make sure to read the Drug Facts label every time I administer any medication to my kids. I look for usage, active ingredients, and dosage information. No need to use a cold medication with added decongestants simply to reduce a fever, and one has to be careful not to double dose if using a combination medication (like a cold medicine) in addition to a fever reducer.

I usually discuss with my kids what I’m looking for when I read the Drug Facts labels. I want to impress upon them that while medicine can be helpful, it does not cure illnesses and it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. I never dispense medications to my kids unnecessarily or for the wrong reasons.

Drug Facts labels can be confusing to understand. For more information about how to properly read and understand Drug Facts, check out this helpful interactive guide from Know Your OTCs:

Drug Facts Label

If you are ever concerned that a child has gotten into an OTC medication accidentally, call poison control immediately: 1-800-222-1222

Now that the kids are heading back to school, the germs will be heading home. It’s a good time of year to check your medicine cabinet and make sure you’re well stocked with the essentials. Fevers, tummy aches, mysterious rashes, coughs, and colds are all right around the corner. Don’t forget about lice! (Yikes!)


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by KnowYourOTCs educational program which has provided me compensation to write about the safe and appropriate use of OTCs. All content, views, and opinions are my own.

Visit Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s profile on Pinterest.