Earning a spot on a travel or club team is a big feat for kids. The rosters are usually made up of the best players, rather than whomever signed up. The commitment expectations for these teams are heavy, but for the most part, players and parents are only happy to oblige. The athletes at this level take their sport seriously and want to do whatever it takes to succeed. Parents pour in the endless hours of travel to and from games and practices. Hold the fundraisers, pack the snacks, make the late dinners, and do all the laundry. ALL of the laundry. Moms and Dads that need or choose to work full time can find keeping up with all of the requirements quite daunting to say the least. Juggling travel sports whilst working full time can be a challenge. How do parents maintain a healthy 'travel sports' work life balance?
5 Tips On How to Juggle Travel Sports While Working Full Time
Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is not just a famous quote--it's gospel, especially for the sports parent! Life at home will go on whether you are there to tend to every need, or chained to a desk miles away. Having a plan for the week or even longer can be gold.
Take a few minutes once a week to examine your family's schedule for the upcoming several days and jot it down in a planner. This will provide the opportunity to secure pick up or drop offs, set reminders for school project due dates, plan meals and snacks, and more.
Scheduling apps are very popular these days. Cozi, Curago, and TimePage offer great shared scheduling options for families.
Bonus Tip: keep freezer bags stocked with toiletries, detergent, and other travel essentials. If those details are always ready to go, it'll make for less stressful packing on sports trips.
USE YOUR VILLAGE
One of the best things about being part of a team that spends so much time together, is the bonding. This is not only the case for the players, but for the parents too! You have a group of like minded parents that are trusted members of your inner circle at your disposal--USE THEM!
Most parents are more than willing to help out. My SUV rarely carries less than 3 kids; I help when I can, and I ask for help when I need it. The beauty of these relationships is that we can empathize with one another. We all know how hard it is to try to be at several places at once. Lending a hand can go much further than we can imagine at the time.
PAID TIME OFF
Most full time jobs provide vacation days as part of their benefits packages. Why not save those days for your kids sports?
Summer can be an extremely busy time for my family. We are at baseball tournaments practically every weekend. Many of which require starting on Friday afternoons and playing through Monday. Others require travel out of town or even out of state. By saving all of my vacation days for the summers, I am able to be present for most of it.
This relieves some of the stress of trying to leave work early the day of. It's already in the books, so it's one less thing to worry about. If you are able to save sick time or any other form of 'paid time off', I highly recommend it.
Bonus tip: can you work through your lunch? Eat at your desk daily and ask to leave one hour early from work. That provides 5 extra hours to get 'life' done during the week. Every bit counts!
Travel ball parents just don't have the time to tend to every detail at home. At least not during the season! This means that housekeeping, grocery shopping, and other daily duties can fall behind. If your budget allows, outsourcing can make life so much easier!
- Hire a housekeeper to clean your home weekly or biweekly
- Use a laundry service to wash and fold your family's garments weekly
- Order groceries through a delivery app. Include updating the grocery list in your weekly planning, and make sure you set the info into the app
- Hire landscapers and pool cleaners. Even if only during your busiest seasons, help with outdoor chores such as mowing the lawn can allow for more time spent with your children.
- If your kids have a few minutes after school they can unload the dishwasher, wipe down bathroom counters, and even vacuum their room. Assign one chore per child per day that they can tackle in under 15 minutes. It's a great way to teach them responsibility, and perhaps earn them a few bucks. More importantly, it helps keep mom and dad's sanity, in tact!
DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Were you a little late to your daughter's game? Did you forget to pack your son's snack? Is your house a mess?
Don't sweat it. In the grand scheme of things, these little issues that may seem overwhelming now, will never matter later. EVER.
Being there for your kids, as often as you can, and supporting them through their sports is what is important. It's what they'll remember, and what they will pass along to their own kids someday. The struggle is real, but it's temporary, in fact it will be over far too soon.
I confess that sometimes staying afloat with schedules and life in general, can be a struggle. However, I know that if I plan correctly, it can be done.
There is hope for us working sports parents!
Barbara is the mom behind the blog, Modern Sports Mom. She began writing a craft and lifestyle blog in 2012. As life evolved, and her boys became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.