Mind if I get a little personal? My husband is a little angry with me right now because I am going away this weekend and his Saturday afternoon golf game has to be postponed or cancelled because my daughter needs a ride to hockey. In fact, my daughter needs a ride to both her volunteer hours as a Timbit coach and a ride to her evening Midget team practice. We have no one to carpool with for the volunteer time and she’s too young to drive herself so there is no alternative.
I’ve been getting the stink eye and I probably deserve it … a little. For years (sixteen years to be precise), I have been giving him the gears if he so much as looks at a golf travel destination advertisement during hockey season, because as I said in my hockey momoir “Who goes golfing during hockey season?!” With three kids in hockey, there was NO WAY I was letting him head off on a boys’ weekend without me putting in my two cents. I mean, he could, but the locks on all our doors would probably be changed when he gets back. So you see I probably deserve some of this flack because my timing isn’t exactly ideal. It’s not going to stop me from going though, I assure you.
I got to thinking of all the hockey parents who work shift work, travel extensively for work or are single parents, and probably (ok, likely) have far more acceptable reasons to be unavailable for hockey duty with the kids than my leisure weekend away. What are the options?
Hockey is a team sport. Therefore, hockey motherhood is also a team sport. Here are some of the Hockey Mom Survival Strategies I have employed to get me through a hockey weekend on my own:
It can be daunting to see your hockey schedule laid out before you on a piece of paper or on the electronic calendar but the more you know what you’re up against, the more you can cry – I mean – plan. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems (just keep telling yourself that). Maybe the games and practices are timed just so you can get everyone where they need to be as long as you all stick together. Check Google maps. Maybe you really can get there from here in under two hours. All the kids have to spend the day together which doesn’t always work out in anyone’s favour believe me, but at least you got everyone to practices or games relatively on time and relatively in one piece.
This is a no-brainer. If your child can get a ride with someone else, go for it. Hockey parents are great for keeping score on the ice but not with the carpool so don’t sweat it. This also makes point #1 all the more important because the more advance notice you can give someone, the better.
Call in the National Guard.
Ok, not the National Guard, but that triple-header hockey weekend is a great time for the grandparents to visit, trust me! If Grandpa or Grandma are not around, even non-hockey parent neighbours sincerely don’t mind picking up a kid at the hockey arena once in a blue moon if it’s the arena around the corner from their house. Tell them you’re in a bind and ask them if they could do it. Just don’t forget to leave a bottle of wine at their door at Christmas.
Your Peewee boy stays at his Peewee teammate’s house, while his Peewee teammate’s Atom sister stays with you. Peewee house goes to Peewee practice and Atom house goes to Atom practice.
Drop your Bantam kid off at his 1:00PM practice and tell him he has to wait a little bit for the pick-up because you’re at the Atom game until 5:00PM. Chances are he’ll find a ride home or get his homework done while he’s waiting (I’m gunning on the latter!).
As a hockey mom, sometimes you look at that hockey schedule and you want to pull your hair out. That’s painful. Knowing you have some options is far less painful. Once you’ve become a weekend warrior, you’ll find that the weekend away is a little easier to manage. You’ll get the stink eye, don’t doubt that, but it just might be worth it.
I’d love to hear more of your strategies for managing a busy hockey weekend on your own. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Three cheers for getaway weekends – and may my key still fit when I get home!
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