All I Want For Christmas Is For The Holiday Debating To Stop

It’s the 21st century, and I would wager a bet that there is one thing historians will one day point to as defining these earliest decades of the age: the Internet debates. 

You know them. 

They are the debates in which everyone has an opinion that is confused for fact, and it needs to be heard. Loudly.

They are often arguments about the right way to parent. Or, generally speaking, how people do things in different ways, all the while believing theirs to be the only right way.

Everyone involved is undoubtedly offended at some point.

This year’s Christmas season is not lacking in them, the Internet debates. At the strike of midnight on Halloween night, the holiday-related debates started seeping out the woodwork of every crack and crevice the Internet has to offer.

The people who decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving kicked it all off in the debate against those that wait until their turkey has digested.

Shortly after, people started spitting hatred at each other over Thanksgiving turkey or Thanksgiving ham.

It continued with the people that do the Elf on the Shelf versus the people that think it’s creepy and/or over the top and/or teaching your kids to adhere to an authoritarian government’s surveillance. 

(A bit much on the last point there, wouldn’t you say?)

Then it was the people that maintain Santa Claus is real (at all costs) fighting – sometimes virulently – against those that couldn’t lie to their children for any reason. Ever.

This was around the time it became insufferable, as it does every year.

And this year has, so far, been a real doozy. It’s been a lot of discussion about consent and ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ which I have written about on this blog. It’s been the age old correctness of “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas.” It’s even gone down the dark hole of whether or not Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer has secret and insidious messaging to it.

The most recent debate I saw float up out of nowhere in the comments section on Facebook was White versus Colored. As in the color of lights people put on their trees. I could not believe some of the things people were saying, either. Straight lined, cold blooded hatred and bitterness towards people of the side opposing.

Is it just me, or have things gotten a little weird? Culturally speaking, I mean.

Political correctness and everyone’s opinion suddenly being considered fact has effectively taken over not only the Internet, but daily life. I’m not talking about people giving you actual facts… I’m talking about opinions, and that escalating to being offended. At my local grocery store, the cashiers keep a list of holiday greetings they are and are not allowed to say to people for fear of offending someone while checking out their cheese curds and quinoa.

The folly in it all is it’s destroying everything people have, and for what? To prove a point? To be right? To be less offended? 

So you have chosen not to do Elf on the Shelf for your kids. Great! It isn’t necessary to go on a crusade to therefore stop others from doing it, even going as far as to tell your kids to tell their friends that their elves are creepy and perverted.

Or you are an atheist and offended by the mere idea of The Nativity. Cool. I have beliefs too. That doesn’t mean I insist that every thing inconsistent with my own beliefs be taken down around my hometown, as a group of atheists in my community recently suggested of local nativity displays. 

With all of these debates, there are two camps: those that do, those that don’t. There is no in between, and it all seems to be rooted in a whole lot of judgment. What the proponents of each side fails to realize, though, is that what they do actually bears no weight on anyone else.

All I want for Christmas is for the debates to stop. 

I don’t mean for people to all suddenly believe in the same things. And I don’t mean for people to start ignoring facts, let’s be clear there. I just mean – maybe – for the holiday season we could give each other the gift of keeping our divisive, judgmental opinions to ourselves.

Maybe we could have a little more understanding that other people live life differently. And that it’s okay. Your neighbor can eat whatever they want for the holidays, and in turn you have the freedom to have your Elf on the Shelf engage in all the shenanigans you want, unencumbered. You prominently display your nativity scene on your front yard, the guy down the street doesn’t celebrate any holidays at all and you keep your mouth shut about it.

After all, it’s just a holiday. Let people have it for whatever they want it to be (or not). 

Then again, maybe this – like everything else – is just a debate waiting to happen.

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5 Ways I’ve Accepted Mediocrity As A Mother In My Mid-30s

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have 3 kids now, and my life is a total and utter shit show 90% of the time; or that I’m just getting older. But I’ve accepted mediocrity in so many ways.

1. I’m okay with being an okay mom

Honestly. There was a period of time that I wanted to be the best mom. The coolest mom. The mom that always made the treat bags, chaperoned the field trips…and did it in sparkling Converse and trendy hairstyles.

Somewhere along the line, though, I realized that being a stressed out but spectacular mom was not what my kids wanted. They wanted a happy mom. To be a happy mom, I have to be a little mediocre. Not like a do nothing mom, just an okay mom. The okayest mom ever. Like yeah-I-breastfed-but-also-you-had-cheez-its-for-lunch. Like sure, let’s throw a big birthday party, but I’m definitely not DIYing shit for it.

2. With that in mind, I don’t beat myself up about screen time

Look: I’ve read all the articles and examined all the studies. I know the affects of too much screen time on every age group.

But remember…I’m okay with being just okay. Which means I’ve accepted my limits of what I can do, how much I can facilitate, and to what extent I can resist. When it comes to screen time, I’ve just given in, but not so much that it’s gotten out of control. Like not 100% given in, but a lot more than my pre-mom self would have ever imagined. 

Here’s the thing: if you can tell me how to keep a toddler happy and entertained, as well as a tween not bored and behaving well, all while a teenager plays hour after hour after hour of sports …I will probably still let me kids have the screen time to keep them under control. It’s just where I am in my mediocrity as a parent and person.

3. Sweatpants and Target t-shirts > Pinterest outfits

I used to spend hours – literal hours – staring at magazines, and – later – Pinterest boards, to put together stylish, yet practical outfits. My outfits always had a theme, or were appropriate for the activity. I even paired my makeup to the outing, which was also paired to the outfit, and by the way even my underpants matched perfectly with my pajamas when I went to bed.

I was just so put together.

Then I turned 30 and had 3 kids, Advil and caffeine became my best friends, and all that went out the window.

Now my wardrobe can best be described as: 76 black shirts in various styles, Target brand t-shirts with food stains on them, a million and one sweaters (in spite of the fact that I live in California), a variety of yoga pants and leggings, most of which have been worn to the point that they are no longer black, but a slight off-black-ish-gray; and exactly one pair of jeans.

3/4 of my clothing is stretched out, stained, or contains some sort of a child-related rip/tear/breakage.

And, for the last couple of years, my decisions of what to wear have been largely determined by how comfortable I will be, coupled with how easy it will be to lift my shirt up so my kid can have easy access to his boobsnacks.

4. Holidays are pretty blasé now, and honestly that’s how I prefer it

One year I made seven desserts for the Christmas Eve party at my in-law’s house. I’m not sure where I was going with that, but here I was showing up with box after box after box of desserts. Some old lady who is a family friend showed up with a box of Otterpops and stole the fucking show, though, so my carefully crafted Santa belt cupcakes and Christmas tree brownies wound up in the trash.

Since then, year after year has grown to be less of an ordeal from me for the holidays. I still do all the stuff for my kids I do every year – the decorating, the light drive tradition, the Elf on the Shelf, the cookie baking together… 

But as for the over the top shit, I’m done with it. Beyond being under appreciated, it’s just too much work. Santa belt cupcakes look cute and all, but mediocre Otterpops win every time.

5. Cheats, hacks, and short cuts have become my lifeblood

For those that aren’t familiar with me: I have 3 kids.

One is a teenager who homeschools and plays competitive tennis. She is training to play in college.

One is almost 11, so a tween, and if you know anything about pre-teen girls, it’s that they are a handful of emotions and drama.

My third is a toddler and he’s crazy. Like saying he is quite the handful is an insult to handfuls.

Since the birth of my little ball of terror complicated life as a picture perfect mother immensely, I’ve adopted the philosophy of Ockham’s razor: the simplest answer is always the best answer. Or, the easiest way to do literally anything is the way I’m going to do it. Otherwise it ain’t getting done.

So I’ve become someone half-assing her way through life – sue me. So I’ve embraced my mediocrity and decided it’s better to be mediocre and present and happy than amazing and perfect and miserable all at the same time.

For some people, doing all the things and being great is essential to their happiness in life. To me, being good enough seems to be just that: good enough.

Life was so much simpler back in 2011…

I don’t know, you guys. I’ve been going through my comments from the entire lifetime of my blog, and I’m getting so nostalgic for my posts of yore. Life was so much simpler then, you know?

I used to tackle some really important topics. Like whether or not there was a prostitution ring going on in my local nail salon. Honestly, I thought there was. This chick would come out of the back room and deep throat a banana like you have never seen.

Or whether or not my sister in law was really as dumb as I thought for saying that some vegetables aren’t healthy.

Or on the types and acceptability levels of the different types of hugs, Facebook profile photos, and number of pictures posted of babies in a given period of time. The list goes on… you get my point. My posts were way better back then.

Somewhere between then and now, things got so much more complicated. I no longer felt comfortable sharing simple anecdotes. Like the time this lady bent down and blew the proverbial butt bugle – if you know what I’m saying – at the post office.

People seemed to get offended every time I let out an expletive, or straight up wrote post after post after post wherein I just told – in the most offensive way possible – specific groups of people to shut the fuck up.

I guess life came to a point that was just incredibly complicated.

It seemed like every single thing I said offended someone. Isn’t that how life is now?

I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods a few weeks ago, picking up my monthly supply of sweat socks. I have two athletes (tennis players) in the house, and it’s like they are constantly running out of sweat socks. Or sweating through their socks. Or wearing multiple pairs to prevent blisters, dirtying all the pairs in the house in record time. I don’t really know what’s going on, I just know I had to eventually build sweat socks into the monthly budget.

So I was at Dick’s picking up the month’s supply, and there was a stocky woman in culotts with a very short A-line haircut, and something akin to a full beard, standing at the cash register, demanding to speak to the manager. She introduced herself as “Susan” (does a stocky woman in culotts with a very short A-line haircut, and something akin to a full beard, EVER have a name other than Susan?), and she wanted to complain because her expired coupon was not being honored.

Her. EXPIRED. Coupon. Was not. Being. Honored.

I didn’t hear her entire rant because another employee – Greg, also with a full beard, lives at home with his parents, and refers to himself as a “hobby computer engineer” – came over and checked me out. 

My interactions with Susan, however, were yet to come, because in the parking lot I was just putting my car in reverse when she came stalking out of the store (no merchandise had been purchased), huffing past my car. I had not even moved my car when she starting screaming at me to not back into her. I rolled my window down and said “oh sorry, I’m staying put.”

She told me to blow myself!

Hello 1995, someone is stuck in you.

I was so shocked, I told her she didn’t have to be so angry. I’m normally not that confrontational, but I was speaking from a place of being totally stunned. I mean this lady told me to blow myself – who even talks like that anymore?

My immediate response was to come home and write a blog about it. But as with most times I’ve run home to fire up a scathing post, I’ve stopped short of the publish button, simply for fear of offending someone, or eliciting a nasty response.

Who knows? I’m sure I have many women named Susan that follow my blog. Or women that are stocky and wear culottes. Certainly people with beards would take what I’m saying the wrong away, especially ones that are women. And what if I said something weird about the sweat socks? Surely there are children in need somewhere that could better benefit from those socks than my children…

Life was so much simpler back in 2011…

… really, I think it isn’t just that it was simpler, but I had a tougher skin back then. I could be told by commenters that they hoped I was mauled to death by a herd of wild cats in the street, and just shrug it off.

That is why I’ve decided to start a weekly video blog series to help return to my simpler, more offensive and less intimidated, self as a writer. Together we will get through this pansy ass state I have found myself.

Every Thursday I will post a v-log on my YouTube channel (and on here), where we will explore the nastiest of the nasty comments I get. My inaugural episode will drop next Thursday – Thursday, November 22nd (Thanksgiving!)… and I promise it contains some of the worst of the worst.

It’s Friggin’ Fall Ya’ll

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It’s friggin’ fall ya’ll.

Ghords and pumpkins and apple bobbing showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.

A trip to the pumpkin patch is on my calendar, and there would definitely be cobbler baking in my oven if it weren’t still a million goddamned degrees outside.

Pillsbury has like seven new cake flavors out, including candy apple and pumpkin spice. Which both sound less appealing than licking the roof of my dog’s mouth, but still – it’s friggin’ fall! I’m pumped!

My grocery store has an entire section of fall themed napkins and paper plates now. Like I walk in and – BAM! – there’s pumpkins and leaves to choose from for my family to wipe their disgusting, sloppy hands with.

All the memes are popping up on Instagram making fun of people for drinking their basic white girl pumpkin spice lattes, too. And on the note of basic white girls, I was able to get my husband his annual nutmeg and chai infused coffee creamer, only available – you guessed right – in friggin’ fall.

It’s way too hot out still to wear fall clothes, but I can now look longingly at my scarves and boots and Uggs, my sweaters, my cardigans, my hoodies, my cozy socks and comfy, warm pajamas. I can look at them and know that the five days a year it’s cold enough to wear those things here in Southern California are coming soon. Because it’s friggin’ fall.

Last week – as I mentioned in my post last night – we wrapped up a week of glamping with a couple nights in a hotel and fall shopping. Clothes. New shoes. School stuff. I spent no less than four hours on Thursday deciding whether I wanted to get a brown hurricane lantern with fall themed leaves inside it; or a beige hurricane lantern with nothing but a fall colored candle inside.

Even though it’s hot as balls outside still, I feel suddenly compelled to cook up some chowders. Clam chowder. Corn chowder. Chicken chowder. Potato chowder. I have so many chowders planned, it’ll be coming out of our eyeballs.

I planned out my kids’ Halloween costumes. Every year they dress together as a theme, and it goes a little something like this: I plan the costumes, start working on the costumes, forget about the costumes for two months, panic three days before Halloween and run around town like a crazy woman to put something together, they put said costumes on and take a few photos, then change into something simpler to hang out with friends. I friggin’ love it – it’s fall!

There’s like twenty five bags-worth of leaves piling up in my backyard too. Which doesn’t make much sense, because we live in Southern California and also what the hell do we have gardeners for if they aren’t going to take care of the leaves. But still. Leaves! Yeah! Fall!

I don’t know what it is that makes me more happy about fall. The fact that eventually (maybe in mid-November) it’ll cool down just a little bit. Or this year in particular having been a terrible summer, and fall signifies the end of that. Whatever the case may be, I’m psyched. Ghords and pumpkins and apples and apple bobbing and apple picking and stuff with nutmeg and the other seasonings that go into PSL I’m unaware of; Halloween and then Thanksgiving. It’s friggin’ fall, ya’ll. It’s friggin’ fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Went Camping And Survived

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Okay, so let’s start this off by saying that to call what I did “camping” is a bit of a stretch.

Four nights were in a hooked up RV with running water, air conditioning, and electricity; in an RV park with free Wifi by the beach.

Two nights were in a hotel.

Regardless of those little details, it was camping and I did it and also I survived.

I have a very complicated history with camping.

On one hand, the bulk of my childhood is made up of one camping story after another stitched together. So you’d think camping brought about fond memories.

I camped a lot when I was very little in Girl Scouts. We hiked and made s’mores and eggs in paper bags over campfires and we sang songs and did crafts, and all that other happy horse shit the Girl Scouts do that I currently am at a loss to remember. I think there was some ghost story telling and TAPS playing in there somewhere.

My grandparents owned a lot up at The Pines (near the California-Nevada border), so we went there often when I was little as well. In fact, there’s a huge pine tree on the mountain today that I planted when I was only 6.

As I grew older, though, I became way more high maintenance; the result of which was that camping was no longer something I generally enjoyed. I grew to love my conveniences and my hair dryer and my makeup. And, more so, to dislike things like hiking and allergies, being bored sitting and fishing and getting nothing, and really not liking to be almost eaten by a bear.

…which, for the record, happened once. We were camping when I was 15 at Kings Canyon and after my entire family hiked to a waterfall, someone started screaming because a brown bear was walking up the pathway, straight for us. It ended up turning back (or something); nonetheless, I slept in the car and stayed close to our campsite for the rest of the trip.

Everyone this year was doing big vacations and trips, though; and – by comparison – my kids had an all time shitty summer. It started with a funeral for my husband’s grandmother; and shortly after that my oldest daughter sprained her ankle, effectively canceling all of her summer tennis plans. My younger daughter still played some, but then around mid-summer we found out she has Osgood-Schlatters, further hindering our tennis stuff…and to make matters worse, we have no AC and it has been HOT AS BALLS since mid-June.

All in all it just kind of sucked.

So as summer started coming to a close, I was determined to figure something out to salvage the season. But I was also on a tight budget, it being last minute and all; so when my mother in law offered us up their RV whenever we want it, I knew that was the best option.

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In all honesty, with the amount of a high maintenance, pain in the ass princess I am now – today, 21 years after that day the bear almost mauled us all to death up at Kings Canyon – I considered our four nights in an RV and two nights in a hotel really roughing it.

  1. Have you people ever showered in an RV? First off, it made me feel like Andre the Giant. My head hit the ceiling; and the shower head was effectively a glorified hose. And to make matters worse, calling RV hot water “hot water” is a bit of a stretch.
  2. It was just me and the three kids. That, alone, was absolute craziness. I had to make fires, put together the charcoal grills, use matches – all while keeping the baby from falling out of the RV window, and the girls busy and happy enough to feel like the summer had been salvaged.
  3. The third morning we were there, it rained. This soaked all of our stuff outside, including our firewood. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal (the sun came out shortly after the rain storm); except that the firewood wouldn’t light in the evening. I came up with the GENIUS idea to pour lighter fluid all over the small amount of flames I had been successful in getting going. I’ll let you guys know when my eyebrows grow back.
  4. The final morning we were there – and this was a big one – the RV toilet clogged. As it turned out, we were using the wrong type of toilet paper. Nevertheless, we couldn’t figure out how to get it unclogged, until finally we found this magic wand my in laws had stored in one of the outside compartments. It sprayed the paper out of the toilet, but after we got it back outside, my daughter started unscrewing it from the hose before the water was fully off; and, in short, there was a large mess.

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Okay, obviously two nights in a hotel was not even remotely like camping. But it was      still roughing it. We were on the first floor with some noisy walkers above us; and there was a local corn hole tournament going on, so the hotel was packed with rowdy corn hole enthusiasts.

We’ve been home, now, for two days and I feel like my entire perspective on life has changed. I can handle a long and rough vacation with the kids, alone. That’s a really big deal. Also, I can figure out how to do things like build fires and unclog RV toilets if I’m given enough time and resources.

I’m definitely more of an all-inclusive resort kind of gal, though. What about you?

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Survey Says…

The results are in!

A while ago, I sent out a survey to you guys on Surveymonkey, and the responses were OVERWHELMING.

Just kidding, a ton of people took the time to click the survey; a mere 17 of you took the time to complete it.

To you 17…a sincere and heartfelt thanks…

To the rest of you: well, you have a chance to redeem yourselves from your complacent silence.

First, let’s get to the results of the survey.

First-first, let’s remind ourselves what the survey was about.

I am trying to really get my blog more social. I feel as though I haven’t been networking and marketing quite as effectively as I could. Not that I’ve had a drop in readers on my small corner of the Internet; just that there is so much out there available to get your content out there as a writer, and I feel as though I wasn’t taking full advantage of what the world of the wide web has to offer.

So my survey results, few as there were, spoke volumes about what I’ve been doing right (thank God I’ve done some of it the right way), and what I could cut out or quit wasting my time on, so that I can spend that time doing more of the right stuff.

Also: we’ve concluded that I was correct in my previous assumption that Myspace is dead and Snapchat is for kids and hos.

I’ll paste the specific question results in below, but first-first-first let’s talk about how you guys can help me just one more time (and in the case of you lazy bums that looked but clicked away, for the first time):

The thing I’ve been really trying to integrate into my blog content is more video or podcasty type of stuff. No matter what I’ve done though, I can never seem to come up with enough of what I would call good material to do something like a weekly video blog or monthly podcast.

I really want to do it though. I feel video and audio is the wave of the future – who has time to always sit down and read some random lady’s rantings on the Internet? Give me a quick a dirty something to listen to in the car, or watch while I am at a kid’s sports event, and I’m good!

So what would you guys like to see or hear from me (as opposed to read)?

Seriously, that’s the only question in this second inquiry: what the hell do you want to see or listen to me talk about (if I can ever get over how annoying my voice sounds)?

Comment, message, or carrier pigeon me your wishes… I’m open to *almost* anything.

Thanks again to those of you that replied to my survey a while back. I’ll paste in the results as a little slideshow now for your enjoyment:

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My Kids’ Sports Are Starting To Drive Me Insane

This month – May – is National Tennis Mom’s Month. At least that’s what the USTA says, and since May is Mother’s Day, it makes sense.

I am a tennis mom. I drive my kids hundreds of miles a week, spend close to $2000 a month, and live my life on the sidelines as my kids do what they love with their free time.

I even have the ‘Tennis Mom’ decal on the rear window of my SUV.

To be clear: they love it, and it’s the only reason I am doing it. That doesn’t change the ever-increasing fact that their sport-of-choice is starting to drive me a little insane. Last night, while picking up the house and finishing the day’s chores, I decluttered a drawer in the kitchen and took Marie Kondo’s advice so literally to heart that I was – out loud – saying thank you to the things I threw in the trash, the things in the junk drawer which no longer brought me joy.

That was the moment when I started to see the cracks forming in my mental health. I blame it on the kids and their sports.

 

A Lot Of Parents Are Living Through Their Kids

…so much so that it’s the de facto assumption of all parents.

So many people at this point assume that I am forcing my kids to play tennis, and it makes me really mad. Like REALLY mad. Like ANGRY mad. Because along with it comes comments like “you need to stop forcing them to play every day.”

Or straight up asking my kids if they like tennis. The other day, my daughter was working with a coach and when she got in the car after the lesson was over, she said “he asked me if I liked tennis.” That’s an odd question to ask of someone he’s been working with for close to a year now. Why the fuck else would she be out there practicing, attending clinics, playing tournaments, and taking lessons?

My kids are not easy to force into any situation. Putting their shoes away involves a twenty minute argument in which I have to reason with them over and over again about all the reasons why their shoes need to be put away. If my kids didn’t like tennis, if I were truly forcing them, cattle prods and massive bribes would be involved. I would have to threaten my kids with no dinner for an entire week to get them out of the car at the court, and even then they would probably consider the merits of one less meal a day if it meant not having to do something they didn’t want to.

What I’m saying is that it isn’t easy to force my kids into anything. And, moreover, that I’m therefore obviously not having to force them to play tennis.

It’s Starting To Feel Like Everyone Is Trying to Rip Me Off

Last summer, I paid for a week long tennis training camp that was only fulfilled for one day. After that, the coach had to “go out of town” and promised he would reschedule the remaining four days.

He has yet to reschedule it.

Routinely, I take my kids to local clubs for clinics, and they always have these deals. Like buy X number of clinics for X number of dollars, which is discounted from the one-at-a-time price. That, I have quickly learned, though, requires an enormous amount of bookkeeping and arguing. One club has been so bad about it that I’ve paid hundreds of dollars for a month’s worth of clinics, only for my kids to show up a week later being told we owe them money.

I probably have twenty stories like these of me shelling out dough, only for it to come up with no, or less-than-promised, services rendered. Is it because tennis is traditionally a sport of the wealthy, so people just assume the payees won’t even notice they’re being ripped off? Or is this just how things are now?

There Are a Lot Of Terrible Coaches

Playing a sport in college does not implicitly qualify a person to go on to call themselves a coach of said sport.

I think this is the primary reason why, in any sport – and especially tennis – there are a lot of really bad coaches. Coaching is another word for teaching, so unless you have some subsequent training in teaching, psychology, sociology, or whatever, it seems wrong to be able to just say “yeah I’m a coach.” Because you aren’t.

In tennis, anyone can *technically* declare themselves a pro, but there are also designated exams for certification as such. I don’t take my kids to anyone that lacks one of those certifications. Beyond the fact that if I’m paying good money for them to play, I should at least be able to get someone actually qualified on paper; there’s also just the simple idea that putting my kids in the hands of someone under-qualified seems – well – dumb. Right?

The real thing is that you sometimes don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of people lie about their qualifications in an effort to justify their coaching. There’s a woman who plays in local leagues, that – it is rumored – played in college; and now I’m hearing her tell people she’s a pro. Uh…really? Because the registry of pros is actually public and, well, you aren’t. That doesn’t stop other people from going to her, though; and – I’m sure eventually – a lot of kids will quit playing the sport altogether, simply because this unqualified lady that happens to play in a local league decided one day she needed some extra cash and could give lessons to innocent people that don’t know any better.

So Much Money, and So Much Driving

As I said, between the two kids, it’s close to $2000 a month, when all is said and done. Playing a sport isn’t just showing up and doing it. You have equipment, travel, clothing; then all the add ons. In tennis, you can’t just do the lessons, you have to do the clinics too. And you get to a point when the standard issue clinics aren’t that good anymore, so you have to upgrade to more elite clinics (elite = a lot more expensive). And then you’ve got to do a certain number of tournaments, join teams, play in leagues – all with hefty fees; have a back up racket for the tournament; new strings every couple weeks. Your shoes wear out in a couple months. Then everyone tells you the only way to get better is to play matches against players better than you; but the players better than you don’t want to do that shit for free.

All of that for two kids.

And because they are so far apart in age (four years), a lot of times they are on different sides of the county, with only one Mom to handle their transport.

I read an article recently that the nature of youth competitive sports in America is essentially pricing your average kid out of having the opportunity to do it. Either the cost or the ability to travel around, or both, make it near impossible for most kids to play. Knowing the ramifications of kids that need sports to stay out of trouble doesn’t lower the prices, either. In fact, the knowledge that everyone price gouges youth competitive sports now seems to only justify it.

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The silver lining in all of this is that my kids really love to play tennis. Sometimes I have to force them – against their little wills – to take a day off. Next to their schoolwork and the various household pets (two dogs, one guinea pig, and two fish), tennis is everything to them.

Which is why, as crazy making as it is, I do it all. May is Tennis Moms Month, you say?