Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things that make my life as a soccer mom easier and more enjoyable. I first wrote this post in 2012, but some things have changed a bit since then. Here’s an updated list.. (Click pictures for purchasing information)
ONE | SMART PHONE
My trusty iPhone is still my #1 essential soccer mom tool. From last minute practice changes to getting directions, from finding a place for a team dinner to taking photos and video, I use my iPhone a million times a day. Make sure you have all the team numbers and info programmed in…you never know when you’ll need to call/text/email someone. I have all my apps on hand- especially Waze and Team Snap.
TWO | WAZE
The Waze App is an absolute necessity for finding random schools and far flung fields where your child will be playing. I have a GPS system in my car, but quite honestly I never use it anymore. Waze is an amazing (and free!) app that will tell you the quickest route to your destination taking into account traffic and construction. I use it almost every single day- even when I know where I’m going.
THREE | GOOD FRIENDS AND CARPOOL BUDDIES
Although I would love to attend all practices (crazy I know!) I just can’t anymore. It’s essential to build up a treasure chest of friends who can help you if needed. Especially now that we drive LSG so far to practice, it makes a huge difference to share the driving duties. I also treasure time with soccer mom friends chatting at practice and games…and a million other times a day. The relationships you make with your soccer friends are so important because you’ll be spending a lot of time together. (And you need someone to help when hubby has to work, and one kid needs to be in Lancaster and the other one needs to be in San Diego)
FOUR | WARM WEATHER GEAR
Even though we live near the beach, when we travel it can get really hot and protecting yourself and your kids from the sun is a top priority. To prepare for hot weather I load up on the sunscreen and bring a hat. I especially like the Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen and the Ocean Potion Oxide Face Potion gives great coverage without dripping into your kids’ eyes. I always keep a sunscreen stick in each of my girls’ soccer backpacks as well. The large sport umbrellas provide a lot of shade and are much easier to deal with (and transport!) than an EZ up.
A quality pair of sunglasses is also important to protect your eyes during all those hours in the sun. I get headaches easily from larger sunglasses, so I stick to the Ray Ban aviator style, but there are so many cute styles out there! This is one place where you get what you pay for, so make sure you look for a good quality lens. I personally don’t like polarized lenses (makes it hard to see your cell phone!) but many people swear by them. In addition to a good quality pair, I like to keep an inexpensive pair in the car…just in case!
FIVE | COLD WEATHER GEAR
Go ahead and laugh if you’re from places where it’s really cold, but even in sunny So Cal you need to be prepared for the weather. I always carry a jacket, scarf and blanket for myself in the car for practices that turn chilly and I invested in a long down jacket from for those cold Lancaster games. I also have Ugg boots and rain boots for those muddy days. It is still California, so I always bring a pair of flip flops (Havianas of course!) in case it gets warm!
SIX | FOLDING CHAIR
There are plenty of choices for chairs out there, but I look for portable, light and affordable. We have a few fancy chairs with canopies and coolers- similar to these from Quickshade and Sportsbrella, but I usually leave those in the garage and grab our inexpensive basic folding chair that is light and replaceable if I leave it somewhere. (Not that that’s ever happened…ok maybe once or twice…or three times) Even if you never actually sit in the chair (I usually end up roaming the sidelines chatting with friends) it’s a good place to hold your stuff. You can also pick up some great options at Costco in the camping section.
For travel and tournaments, a cooler can be your best friend. Packing drinks and snacks can save you a lot of money as well as being healthy for your soccer player. The ability to avoid the snack bar or truck altogether saves you money and discussions about what your kids can/can’t eat! We have a couple of different types- a small one for car travel, a larger one for a tournament day, or the rolling cooler for when we don’t have our wagon. Rolling coolers are great because you can also pile stuff on top of for easy carrying.
EIGHT | SPORTS WAGON
My hubby resisted this one for a long time, but I finally wore him down, and I think even he would admit a sports wagon is an awesome idea. These Sports Wagons fold easily to fit in the trunk, are relatively light weight, hold a ton and have large wheels to navigate through grass and mud. They are amazingly helpful for long tournament days at the field and although ours isn’t as pretty as the one above, I love it! If you have little kids that you are dragging around to older sibling’s games it’s also a cozy bed for a nap.
NINE | THE PERFECT BAG
I love bags and purses! I’m always on the hunt for the perfect soccer mom bag, and the truth is, it just doesn’t exist. Therefore, I use different bags for different occasions. I usually carry a large tote bag and shove both my personal stuff and my girls’ extra stuff inside. If it was up to me, I’d have one of all of the above…don’t worry honey I didn’t buy any.
Lately I’ve been using an awesome camera backpack that I picked up at Costco. I love taking pictures, but carrying around a big camera can be a pain. This backpack has room for essentials in the top pocket and padded space for a camera and lens in the lower pocket as well as a slide in laptop pocket at the back. It’s also great for travel. I can’t find the exact one, but this one is very similar.
TEN | HOTEL REWARDS
This one is very handy and works well if all members of your team use it. Our team usually stays at Marriott Hotels as we all have Marriott rewards. This can really help with the escalating costs of traveling. Their website is easy to use and makes booking (and canceling!) easy. My next step is to apply for the Marriott rewards credit card to get even more benefits. The only trouble with this tip is that some tournaments are considered “Stay and Play” where you have to stay at specific hotels and are not allowed to use any rewards programs.
Anyone have anything to add to the list?
This post contains Affiliate Links