Why College Football Is Like Raising Kids

I am a college football loving mama living in the deep south, and if there one thing you need to know about my ‘type,’ it’s that during the months of September, October, and November, we could care less about pumpkin spice flavored everything, cardigan sweater trends, and autumn foliage covered tablescapes.  What we do care passionately about, and spend every Saturday in the fall obsessing over, is all things pigskin. You won’t find any of us having a mani/pedi, or attending a garden club luncheon on a sunny Saturday afternoon. And southern girls know better than to throw any type of girlie shower on a Saturday in the fall. You will, however, spot us at our alma mater’s tailgate, transforming your average parking lot into the center of spirited fandom, where your trunk opens up and out spills a dazzling cocktail party. Oozing southern hospitality, and a football I.Q. that could rival an ESPN commentator, you’ll find us southern women happily dishing out pimento cheese dip, fried chicken, and smoked pulled pork. And most likely, at the tailgate party, there will mini versions of us, clad in their spirit wear, tossing footballs, tossing back the grub, and later that day tossing UP the mayonnaise laden dip that sat out in the sun all afternoon. (It’s ok, it was worth it.)  Anyway, it was after a particularly nail biting, fist clenching, hoarse voice inducing, battle on the gridiron last weekend that it hit me. It hit me as hard as a division one linebacker whizzing past the left offensive tackle,  and easily taking out the QB on the blind side. Turns out, raising kids is a helluva lot like college football- in its plays, its penalties, its screaming audibles (Clean. Your. Room. NOW), its highest of high wins, and its lowest of lows agony of defeats. Similarities? I have a few…..


Oh attachment parenting how I loved thee. Until I didn’t love thee. Until one day, four kids in, I decided I wanted everyone on the proverbial OTHER side of the line. I needed those ten years I lived without any shred of personal space BACK, and I needed them now. Sure, I can still hug and cuddle my little ones, but the big boys who I am now forced to look UP to? They scare me. I am the undersized offensive lineman looking deep into the face of a much larger D-back. Please teenage boy who just inhaled two rotisserie chickens, don’t jump over here and startle me. 

Hands to the Face

I cherished those times feeding a baby in my lap, with their big, round glossy eyes staring up at me, and those soft padded little fingertips reaching up to touch my face, squeeze my nose, or stroke my cheek. But in no way, shape, or form do I want any of my boys touching me in the face now. It’s just not precious anymore. Please, no poking, flicking, jabbing, nose grabbing, or cheek stroking with your perpetually sticky hands ever again.  (Unless one of you boys become a makeup artist, then yes, you have full access to my face. Bring your airbrush.) 

Unnecessary Roughness

Seriously?  I have four sons. My life is one big roughness penalty after the next.  Everything in my house is broken, and we have a frequent punch card for the local hospital’s emergency room, and also one for our town’s window glass replacement business. We live in a constant state of who has the purple egg on their forehead today? Need to do some concussion research? Come on over. 


Parenting. Just when you think it’s over, it’s SOOOO NOT over. Ever. Finally got newborn to sleep after three hours of pacing the floor? He wakes up two seconds after you put him down. Overtime.  All the kiddos tucked in for the night? 3 a.m. violent stomach virus. Overtime. Just found out science project is due tomorrow? Worst. Overtime. Ever. Hope you are hydrated mama, because life is parenting in overtime.  And this game is really never over.

The Upset

You are rockin’ the mom thing hard, your kitchen floor is clean, the laundry is done, and the  family is running like a boss on all cylinders. Reports cards are full of A’s, the kids are actually being nice to each other, and you went on a date night with your husband and agreed on both the restaurant AND the movie. Hoorah! Enjoy it while it lasts, because you are just one burnt dinner away from a cataclysmic series of false starts, personal fouls, and a pick six which will lead to #1 being knocked off their pedestal, and the entire family spiraling down into meltdown-dom. Man up mom, you got next week’s dinner…err….game to redeem yourself. 

Cover Two, Man On Man, Zone Defenses

There you are, just you and your husband and your first baby. It is a cover two defense in reverse, your sweet baby covered with two sets of eyes at all times.  It is the easiest you will ever have it, and the irony is you won’t realize it until your cover two becomes man to man when baby #2 arrives, and then full blown zone defense when baby #3 and 4 join the team. By that point,  you and your husband have  become masters of the hand off, the bootleg, the scramble, and the quarterback sneak. Four kids deep and I have settled into a prevent defense (just feed them and keep them alive), and now I’m just trying to run out the clock by bench sitting comatose, waiting for the second string to show up to relieve me.

Hail Mary

You’ve got one in you moms. We all do. So when all of the above yellow flags are tossed at you, and you are backed up on your own 30, and down by three late in the fourth quarter, go ahead and wing it. Just say a prayer, call your girlfriends, and schedule the mom version of the zero time on the clock touchdown- a girl’s night out. Because sometimes the best call in the huddle is

“GNO, 7 p.m., ASAP….hut, hut, hut…..”

Target And Too Sexy Clothes For Girls- A Boy Mom Perspective

Girl's Activewear Shorts At Target
(Silver? One inch inseam?) 

A recent article on Huffington Post about Target Store's response to growing complaints about the types of clothes they are selling in the young girl's department has received an overwhelming and passionate response from mothers of young girls nationwide.  As a mom of four sons,  I have never really looked at the girl's clothes in depth, but I do catch a glimpse of the itty bitty shorts and teensy weensy tops now and then. (I am also lucky to never having had to deal with clothing battles. Low maintenance boys have their privileges)  Ironically enough, the same day I read the Target response, I found myself in a back and forth commenting battle with mothers complaining that they are tired of school dress codes. Evidently  they are tired of their daughters being humiliated and shamed by being singled out and called out of class to the office,  and having to  await a change of clothes. I reminded them if they do not agree with the school's dress code, they should seek other schooling options. But no, that was not enough. They demanded that girl's bodies stop being shamed, that in no way is dressing in revealing clothes disrespectful, and why do we need a code governing what we can wear.  At that point, I had realized common sense had left the building. When a discussion about how there is a certain level of decorum and expectations in what you wear in schools and the workplace had now turned into how someone's 'feelings' are hurt because they cannot wear whatever they want, and girl's bodies are not shameful (never said they were) well, I knew is was time to power off. Then seeing and reading the overwhelming response and agreement with the Target dissent, I knew clothing common sense was indeed on my side. The over-sexualization of young girls has finally hit middle America's clothing racks,  and clearly, moms have had enough.  Even boy moms.

Recently something happened in my house and it got me thinking about how our children's clothing tastes, and maybe their perceptions of bodies and modesty are really formed.  I dress very modestly/conservatively (no plunging necklines, no short shorts, nothing flashy, I don't even like prints-think librarian).  I personally just feel comfortable that way, and I also dislike clothes shopping.  When I find a nicely fitting top, I just buy the same one in every color. My closet is basically a rainbow of polo style collared shirts, a few pairs of khaki pants, and jeans. A few months ago after working out, I came in the house profusely sweating and yanked off my t-shirt. Underneath, I had a dark colored and generously covering my bust type of sports bra on (like a half tank top) and running shorts. As I walked through the house, both of my teen boys said, "Geez mom go put some clothes on. That doesn't look right."

Now I am not a behavioral or adolescent psychologist, but I am thinking young men and boys who constantly see female peers in ill-fitting, tight, and too much skin revealing clothes will begin to think that's normal.  Subsequently, that 'look' will develop into what they find attractive. From that standard,  the clothes then slide down the slippery slope, and to be more appealing and attractive, pieces get smaller, shorter, and tighter. On the other hand, when they see modest dress, that becomes normal and attractive to them. Now of course my boys have seen girls in what we now call regular (small) clothes, and they have seen plenty of sexy and too revealing clothes worn by tween and teen girls in pop culture media outlets,  but I think (I hope?) that they see that as neither normal, nor attractive. And maybe it actually makes them uncomfortable. Now, is it the girl's fault that they feel uncomfortable?  No, it's nobody's fault.  It is simply their preference. And if parents continue to accept the new, or rather, less than standards of clothing and continue to buy it,  that is their preference.  But I have a message to mothers of girls who are fed up with clothing choices- your dollar is what clothing manufactures follow. If it stays in your wallet until you see a change, then trust me, change will come.

As far as my sons are concerned, soon enough they will end up at *college, where for the first time in their life they will not be surrounded by girls in modest, generic, plaid, religious school skorts and jumpers. Rather, they will have a whole lot of T & A up in their faces. Sigh. I dread that.

So Target (and the many others) hurry up and get your clothing act together. It's not just girl moms that are counting on you.

*Currently Googling all male only colleges