Have you ever watched the NHL draft on TV? You see the general managers and coaches and other team staff talking on their cell phones non-stop and hunched over laptops. They alternative between looking anxious and worried, and then suddenly they’re all happy and smiling on stage with their young protégé. A young man gets drafted in exchange for a third round draft pick and a tenth round draft pick, or something along those lines. An on it continues. The casual observer really has little appreciation for the deal-making and drama that has gone on in the background.
On the other hand, have you ever seen a hockey mom working to trade off one of the kids’ practices for another with her spouse? Let’s just say the NHL draft negotiation trade-offs pale in comparison to the wheeling and dealing between a husband and a wife on the Friday night before a big hockey weekend. As a hockey mom who’s had multiple concurrent kids in hockey, it’s impossible to get out of all weekend hockey, and I wouldn’t want to. But there are some Saturday mornings, and some late Sunday evenings – well – you’ve been there: a good round of puck, paper, scissors is clearly in order.
I’ve had a pretty good run with the puck, paper scissors method. In fact, I consider myself a pro.
Just consider my track record:
- I successfully maintained one weekend away as a ‘no-dads allowed/mother-daughter only’ hockey tournament for several consecutive seasons through my sheer tactical selection of postgame restaurant choices for the team dinner (“Sorry, honey, I don’t think it has a liquor license yet” or “They don’t seem to have any big screen TVs there”);
- I’ve faked a really good illness once or twice;
- I’ve issued the housework versus hockey or groceries versus game edict knowing my husband will always take the hockey (though this doesn’t always make my life easier!);
- I’ve bribed my own children onto my negotiating team (and educated them on enhanced optimization of the puppy eyes and the “Mom doesn’t know how to tie my skates right!” guilt trip); and
- I even had another baby just so I could say I had to stay home with her to breastfeed (which later backfired on me as she turned into a hockey player herself).
Honestly, if NAFTA negotiations stall in Washington, I’m going to suggest to Chrystia Freeland that she bring a hockey mom along for the next round of talks!
Have you ever felt the urge to negotiate your way out of hockey? Please share your strategies in the comments section. Who knows? Maybe we can assemble a hockey mom service alliance union and I’ll be your representative!
Three cheers for puck, paper scissors – and may you always have the winning hand!
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