Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

My son is Mr. Sports. As soon as one season ends he’s on to the next. And not necessarily the same sport. He’ll jump from baseball to basketball to soccer to whatever else he can think of. I don’t think he has a love for a single sport yet so in the meantime he wants to try it all. And at 5 I think he should! He has his whole life to play one sport, now is the time for him to find out what he loves. But, as a single working mom, juggling this athletic life can be complicated.

Last year was our first full year in sports mode. Luckily, soccer was only a one-day commitment, which made the schedule juggle super easy. We moved on to baseball in the spring and I was so fortunate to have a job that was pretty flexible with adjusting my lunch hour to be there for games and practices when needed. I also have very helpful family members to pick up/drop off when I couldn’t. And now I have a different job this year where I get to work from home, so essentially I can take my son anywhere, anytime.

But it really got me thinking – what do single working moms (or dads) do during a sport season? From my experience, practices are in the afternoon (during regular business hours), and some games are during the week. Is your child not allowed to participate in their local little league due to scheduling conflicts? I haven’t been in this sports world for too long but I really feel that there is a demographic that is completely forgotten about. Not every family is able to logistically get to a practice and/or game. It’s really not fair that they can’t participate solely because they don’t live in a two-parent household or have family nearby that can help.

I am SO grateful for my current job situation but you never know when that can change. You never know when life is going to throw you upside down. I don’t have any answers but I think we should start a conversation. Children living in a single parent household (or even a two working parent household) shouldn’t have to sit out on a sports experience because practices are at 3pm. There has to be another way!

And while we’re here… why don’t we know the practice schedule when we sign up? Why don’t we know until 2 weeks before practices start? How is anybody supposed to plan anything?! It really just feels like they’re marketing towards families that have at least one at home parent.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can be more inclusive? I would love to hear in the comments.

Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

-Thomas Merton

Growing up, every Summer my parents would take my sister and I to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. We would look in awe of the glassblowers, get a new toe ring and maybe share a scoop of ice cream. Although I would never classify my parents as artists, their appreciation for art was always unintentionally present.

This year I decided to incorporate a visit to the Sawdust Festival in our Summer plans. To be honest I was a little apprehensive, as my son is only 5, but today we went for it and had a blast! We made a full day of it by stopping for lunch at Avila’s El Ranchito on PCH, caught the free shuttle in The Village and headed straight towards to our destination.

I am shamelessly the mom who is always thinking of what activity we can do next. I love being active. I love being creative. I love learning experiencing new (and old) things. And I really love taking my son along for the ride. Admittedly, it’s hard for me to slow down and remember it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Today was about the journey- and it was perfect.

The shuttle ride was fun in and of itself. We don’t get to experience the shuttle in our day-to-day lives, so it was a treat to walk to the stop, wait (somewhat patiently), check the shuttle on the tracker, and then FINALLY seeing it arrive. We really only went to two stops, but again, it’s about the journey 🙂

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The Trolley Tracker is really user friendly and such a great tool to use if you want to travel through Laguna Beach without the hassle of driving and parking your own car. I actually didn’t really need to use that much. We just walked around until we found the Free Shuttle sign, but we weren’t really in a rush so that worked for us.

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Once we arrived at The Sawdust Festival we jumped in line to purchase our tickets. You can purchase them online prior to arriving, but I opted to just pay at the door. And great news: kids 5 and under are free! I mean…does that ever happen!? You can check out the rest of the prices right here.

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The Sawdust Festival was everything I remember it being. Winding alleys leading down different paths, live music, and lots of art. Our first stop was at the Pottery Wheel where B got to make his own clay bowl. What an experience that was! I am so grateful to the young college kids who really take the time to help guide the kids as they mold their own creation. Once finished you have the option to take it home as is (once dried) for free! Or you can pay $25 to have it glazed and shipped to your home. We decided to have it glazed that way B can eat “cereal, oatmeal or fruit” out of it – B’s words 🙂

After that we made our way through all of the beautiful art. We saw; a man painting a picture of the ocean, the infamous glassblowers, and so many unique creations. Dip n’ Dots were calling our name so we took an ice cream break under the shade. Once our bellies were full we headed over to the kids art corner for a Rhyme & Drawing Class. I think this was the highlight of my day!

This art class was completely free and the man (Brent Kreischer) teaching the class was so incredible with the kids. He asked each kid to name their “favorite things” and then collectively name something that rhymed with each item, even if it wasn’t a word. His philosophy was: “Dr. Seuss made up words and followed no rules, and everyone enjoys Dr. Seuss.”

B was enthralled. I was impressed. Brent went around to each kid and they created a rhyme that complemented the picture that they drew. It was really wonderful.

Once we finished the class it was time to head back. On our way out we were stopped by a charismatic woman who offered to make B a balloon animal – he chose a Stegosauras.

As a whole I was really impressed by how kid friendly The Sawdust Festival was, and how attentive all of the artists were. We left with big smiles on our faces and B even asked me if we were going to come back next year. I think that is a big yes!

Have you been to the Sawdust Festival this year? What is your favorite thing to do there?

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I’m Not A Regular Mom

I’m Not A Regular Mom

“Just taking my mind on a visit, back in time ‘cuz I’ve missed it.” – Blake Shelton

About a month ago I had the opportunity to be free of any sort of responsibilities for about 24 hours. It honestly was the rejuvenation I didn’t know that I needed.

If you know me, then you know that my teenage years were spent glued to TRL, googly-eyed over NSYNC, and dancing to my hearts content. If you could see me right now reflecting on this time in my life, you’d see me with a smile on my face. Anytime that I get to reminisce it takes me back to the days of being carefree and just simply having fun. I can still remember my first celebrity crush: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I thought I was LIVING with his poster taped to my wall. But then Titanic made its debut. I moved on to Leonardo DiCaprio and dial up internet was all the rage.

My dad wouldn’t let me go on the internet alone (because of the pop up ads!). So he would sit with me as I printed pictures of Leo to put on my notebook for school. This is one of my favorite memories; it’s hysterical and honestly, what a guy!

Leo soon faded to the background the second I went to my first NSYNC concert. My parents took my sister and I; along with another family. Have I ever mentioned how awesome my family is? If not, now would be the time… they are amazing! I mean, what parents would willingly do this?!

Anyway, NSYNC (and the pop/boyband era) was the forefront and center of my life for a very long time. The best way I can describe it: fun. It was so much fun. I just had the best time loving them.

Of course as you get older life moves forward and the best of times become your past times. I still love music more than I can even describe. And I still will go to every concert that I can. Which is why going to see Justin Timberlake was a definite must.

I went with one of my best friends, who may just love JT just as much as me – if not more! 😉 We were on the floor right in the front of the stage living our best lives. Everything about it was perfect. The dancing, the stage, the singing, the band, the lights, the people. It was amazing. It’s really funny to think I have seen JT in concert too many times to count and he has no idea who I am. But he doesn’t need to. It’s just fun.

Coincidentally in the same 24 hours NSYNC was having their Dirty Pop Up shop in Hollywood. I had to go.

My friend dropped me off the next morning and I thought he’d be back in a couple hours to pick me up…. ha! Did you know that NSYNC still has thousands of fans?! I really thought I was going to be the minority. Boy, was I wrong!

I waited 7 hours (YES 7) before I finally made it inside. Luckily, I made 9 new friends who were so generous and kind. It really helped pass the time when one offered a bottle of wine!

I even met one woman who flew in all the way from Boston! We were almost to the front when I just about had a breakdown and wanted to leave but then cheers erupted. I quickly stood up to see what all the commotion was about – Lance and Joey had come! Honestly, if they hadn’t come I’m not sure I was going to make it much longer. They went inside the store for a bit and then made their way down the line. I wish someone could have recorded my face as they walked down – I know I for sure had a creep smile on my face!

After another hour or so we finally made it inside! Probably to an outsider it wouldn’t have looked like much, but to me it held so much nostalgia. They had many photo opportunities, new merchandise, huge blown up posters from past tours, and of course NSYNC music playing. I wasn’t expecting to feel so emotional but I was. It wasn’t even about the band anymore. It was about me and what my life was like and where I am now.

My son has no idea about that life and he will never know exactly what it was like. But I hope to give him snippets of who I was before I was a mom. I think it’s important to remember and to not let that person go completely. I truly hope he loves something bigger than himself one day, and I can be there to share that experience with him…as much as he will allow.

Before I sign off, I want to give a shoutout to the 9 other amazing ladies that I met in line. I will never forget those 7 hours (mostly because my legs hurt so much) but also because each and every one of you made it so much fun. I had the best time reminiscing about the experiences we shared. Oh and to the girl with an NSYNC tattoo – you are my hero!

Sister Night with Andy Cohen

Sister Night with Andy Cohen

I really don’t like to go out when my son is home. Mom guilt is real and it doesn’t get any easier the older he gets. He’s in the phase of really wanting me home to read him a book before bed. Which I completely understand. I remember being young and hating when my parents went out and left my sister and I at home with a babysitter. However! On occasion, when it’s really worth it, I will leave my son with my parents and experience a night on the town. Getting a chance to watch “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen during his LA week, was one of those times!

I was lucky enough to receive free tickets through On-Camera Audiences for the Sunday night show. Of course I took my sister who is a Bravo Fanatic. I really had no idea she loved Bravo and Andy as much as she did. Which ended up being perfect because it’s so much more fun to enjoy something like that with someone who LOVES it all. Our guests were Nene Leakes, Lena Waithe, and of course James Kennedy in the DJ booth.

We had to be there at 6pm – which really was code for – be there at least by 5pm. I picked up my sister at 2 and we were on our way. We stopped for an early dinner at Bottega Louie, one of our favorite restaurants in downtown LA. I used to live in DTLA before I had my son and would frequent this restaurant a lot. I love the New York restaurant vibe it gives off, the amazing food and yummy cocktails. If you have a chance to go, I definitely recommend it.

After dinner we drove straight to The Wiltern. Can I just pause right here for a moment for a quick backstory? I grew up in the era of all the fabulous pop-stars (Britney Spears, NSYNC and etc) and I used to drag my sister to all kinds of crazy concerts, watch countless hours of performances and talk endlessly about their lives. So, driving up to LA to see Andy Cohen felt like we were giving an homage to our teenage self. It was really fun getting all giggly and excited about what was to come.

We pulled up and I could see a line had already formed. I wasn’t surprised but still we needed to move fast. Without even really knowing what the line was for, or where I should park, I made my sister get out of the car and get in line. I think my 17 year old self reemerged in that moment! I was stuck at a light and watched her get in line, look ahead and then leave the line. I started to panic. I love my sister but she’s not somebody you want to put in charge of these situations. My light changed and I finally could drive and look for parking. And then I saw it: the line had wrapped around the building. I quickly parked and met up with my sister. By the time I got to the line they had already handed out wristbands to everyone that had shown their ID. And I forgot to bring the tickets from the car! More panic. I “ran” back to the car (have I mentioned I was wearing heels) and came back just in time for another ID check and ticket check. Phew! We got our wristbands which secured ourselves a seat inside.

While we were waiting to go inside, all of a sudden we heard a bunch of cheering. It was Andy Cohen! He was making his way up the block, saying hi to all of the fans. He didn’t make his way to us but we did see him in the distance. The excitement began to grow…

After making small talk with the people around us, and posing for one too many selfies, it was finally time to head inside! It was a little bit chaotic when we first got inside. We were instructed to head upstairs and find a seat. The line to get in was so crazy! Between the line to find a seat, the line to get a drink and the line to go to the bathroom – I really didn’t know where to stand. But a wonderful stage manager got everyone hustling and we finally, got to our seats.

Once we secured our seats, I checked in with my mom to make sure my little guy was okay. He was happy and sound asleep. Now I felt I could really enjoy my night. Does anyone ever feel like that?!

Before the show started, I grabbed a couple of drinks and then beaded back to wait for the show to start. We were up in the balcony; dead center, perfect view!

The stage manager came out and gave the run down of how the show was going to go – it really was going to be live! I’ve been to a lot of taping for shows that say they are “live” but they really weren’t. I was shocked there wasn’t going to be even a tiny bit of a delay.

Before it was time to go live, Andy Cohen came out and introduced himself to the audience and answered any questions that were asked. I couldn’t believe it! Like I said, I’ve been to a lot of taping and I have never had any host/actor do this. He was SO nice. He’s just like how he is on TV; a little goofy, really funny, and super sweet. I think I fell in love, haha!

The show started and it was everything I thought it would be and more! It really ran so smooth. My only complaint was that I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have any surprise guests. The doorbell rang and everyone in the audience gasped and sat up straighter with anticipation. But, it was just the “gay shark” with a shot ski. I’m not even exaggerating; the whole audience sighed with disappointment. I felt bad for Andy! Besides that, everything was great. The after-show was even better! If you have a chance to watch it, you need to. It was hysterical. A guy from the audience asked Andy out on a date and Andy really didn’t say no! I still am wondering what happened with that. Anybody know?

After the show my sister and I headed back to our homes. Whenever I’m in LA, I always walk away missing my old life. But, I couldn’t imagine that same life with a kid. It’s just nothing something I want for his life. And as much fun as I had that night, I couldn’t wait to get into my bed and snuggle with my baby. I promised B I would “scoop” him when I got home. Scooping is when I take him out of his bed when he’s sleeping and being him into mine. I always promise him a scoop when I’m not there to put him to sleep. I like to give him something to look forward and a reassurance that I will always come home. Do you have any traditions that you do when you go out without your kids? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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Home Depot Kids Workshop

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Last weekend, I took my son to Home Depot in Mission Viejo for their FREE kids workshop, to build a birdhouse.  This workshop is held once a month for kids between the ages of 5-12 and every class they make something different. We had never been before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I called a couple of days before asking what time they suggested we be there as the website listed it was open from 9am-12pm. The woman I spoke to said I should be there at 9am as it gets really crowded and boy was she right!

We got there just before 9am, the parking lot was filling up and about 4 people had already started on their birdhouse. We made our way to check in and we were greeted by a very friendly Home Depot employee. He informed us that unfortunately, they didn’t receive any mini aprons for the kids this month. I completely forgot that we were supposed to even receive one! Instead he handed B a plastic “hard hat” and his kit to make the birdhouse.

The kit came with everything you need to make the birdhouse, including; step-by-step directions, a birdhouse pin, and 2 suction cups that are used to help hang your birdhouse. I was really impressed with the directions and how thorough they were. Being a boy mom (or at least a mom to MY boy) I really have learned that my son loves to build and makes things. Luckily, so do I! And thankfully, I took stagecraft in high school so I know a thing or too about tools (hello, “righty-tighty & lefty-loosey”)! But, sometimes directions go over my head and I get frustrated. This time though – piece of cake!

It was really cute watching all of the kids work hard building their birdhouses. The website states this workshop is for ages 5-12, but they don’t check and I definitely saw kids younger than 5 there. Heck, my son isn’t 5 until June and he was there! Some parents let their kids lead the way and others did most of the building. There definitely were parts B needed some assistance, as hammering can get kind of crazy.

After the birdhouse was built we went over to the painting table. They offered 3 different paints, sponge brushes and paper plates. With no direction from me, the painting began. It’s always so special watching my son make something from his vision.

Once finished, I put B’s pin on his shirt and started to look around. The place had really filled up! Most of the kids had their aprons on from previous workshop, with pins all over them. It got me really excited to continue this monthly workshop. I really love the idea of bringing the community together to do something special. The whole project took about 45 minutes from start to finish. By the time we finished, there was a line down the parking lot and I think every spot was taken! It really was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to doing it again.

If you know me, then you know I am all about the activities. I don’t like TV or idle hands, so I try to squeeze in as many activities as possible. The fact that this was free was even better! We will definitely be back next month to make a windmill. To learn more about the Home Depot kids workshop in your area click here!

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Moms’ Night Out

Moms’ Night Out

During school breaks my son gets to spend that time with his dad. I love it for many reasons; one being that B gets that quality time with his dad, and two, I get some “me time”. This past week was spring break – which meant I had 3 full nights with no kiddo! Every time I get a break I tell myself I’m going to take advantage and go out every night. But more times than not, I don’t do it. As the day (or night) gets closer, I end up longing to be at home either just lounging or during work around the house. However, I rarely am social with friends when my son is home with me. I don’t get to have him at home all of the time,  so I want to soak it up as much as I can. Plus, I have crazy mom guilt when it comes to leaving him; especially at bed time.  He’s in a phase where he really wants me home to put him to bed. I figure this isn’t going to be forever, so I do want to make the conscious effort to be there whenever I can. However, he was gone this past week so I chose two nights at home and one night out with friends… hey, it’s a step!

In my twenties I worked at a restaurant in Laguna Beach with some of my best friends. Many of us worked there on and off for many years; it was essentially our home away from home. If we would have been allowed to sleep there, I think we would have! The owners are a sweet married couple that always had their arms open for us to return any time we wanted. I had a lot of fun during that time of my life. We all did!

I was lucky enough to meet up with a few of my old friends/co-workers at our old stomping ground. We laughed so hard remembering all of our crazy adventures… Well, what we could remember of it anyway! Life before kids was such a different time. It’s always so interesting to look back on what our lives were like and how far we’ve come. You never think your life is going to change that much, but it does and it becomes a blessing.

While I got to escape from being “on duty”, I never feel like I’m “off the clock.” I don’t know if this just happens to moms or if it’s a parent thing; but my mind is never too far from my mom responsibilities. It’s really hard for me to turn that switch off and completely let go. Not that I’m being paranoid or I’m worried about my son, but it’s more that my whole being is a mom now. While I have an identity outside of being a mother, “momming” is a huge part of my soul and I genuinely love that part of my self. But, I know I really need to work on being more social in adult setting. It’s really hard for me to do that – but I’m working on it!

When or how do you make time for yourself? And when you do; do you ever feel like you can just turn off being a mom? If so, how do you do it?! Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear!

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Avila’s El Ranchito in Laguna Beach.

Grab a seat, order a taco and sip on a marg.