Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: How To Survive An AAU Basketball Tournament

AAU season is back in full swing! Which means the tournaments and travel are too. It's not uncommon for us to leave our house at 9am and not return until 9pm that evening, only to be back on the road again before 9am the following morning. #TRUESTORY!

This is my fifth season as an AAU Mama and I've learned a lot along the way. Today I'm sharing my tips for surviving those long days at the court aka tourneys. You're welcome!

  • Location, location, location. Be sure to plug the address into your favorite gps app at least a couple of days prior to the tourney. Find out how far it is and how long it will take you to get there- don't forget to factor in traffic! I also like to do to a little research as to what will be around me (restaurants, Starbucks- Mama needs her caffeine!, gas stations, etc.).
  • Pack ALL bags the night before. This includes your player's backpack as well as your Sports Mama bag. Nothing is worse than driving all the way across town and having to find an athletic store because your kid forgot his sneakers. I've said it before and will say it again (and again!), it's better to be over prepared than under prepared. Besides, you'll get to sleep in a few extra minutes this way!
  • Pack food. Your player will need to eat, you will need to eat. Sure you can order lunch from the concession stand if you'd like, but packing food allows you to control both the quality of the ingredients as well as your budget! Don't forget about snacks! Many times teams will go out and eat together, which is why researching the area ahead of time is always a good idea.
  • Bring seating. You never know what the gym you are playing in will be like. Will there be bleachers, will there not be bleachers? My folding chair is always in the car, just in case. And if there are bleachers, bringing a stadium seat or a sport cushion is best. Ain't nobody got time for bleacher butt!
  • Bring cash. And by cash, I mean real cash. Most tournaments charge spectators (yep, even us Mamas) an entry fee. If they offer both a daily and weekend pass, and you plan on being there both days, I suggest going with the weekend pass. They'll usually save you a couple of dollars. The cash can also be used at the ever so tempting concession stand... mmmm, French fries!
  • Bring sibling entertainment. If this pertains to you, of course. I'm not even going to lie, I don't always bring No. 2 and No. 3 to the tourneys. For one, they usually have their own sports going on. For two, it's a long day. And quite frankly, it can get expensive. Quick! But when they do go, I try to make sure they have something to stay occupied (i.e. electronics of some sort). Anybody else's kids on a Fortnite kick at the moment? *insert overly exaggerated eye roll*
  • Get to know your fellow sports parents. You're going to be spending A LOT of time with them. Find some that share similar interests with you. And chances are you'll need carpool help at least once during the season. It's always great to actually know the person you're sending your kid with, amIright?
  • Keep calm and cheer loud! AAU basketball can get pretty competitive. You're going to win some games and you're going to lose some... that's the nature of the game. You'll probably even come across a parent (or two!) who thinks their 14 year old's D1 collegiate scholarship is being handed out that same day. Just take a few deep breaths and remember the real reason you're there; for your child's love of the game. Not for anyone else.

Good luck this season, Basketball Mamas!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Guest Post: What Is Self-Care?

As busy Sports Mamas, we tend to put our self-care last. From chauffeuring our kids (and their teammates!) to and from practices, to waking up even earlier on the weekends than we do on work/school days to make it to those 8am games that oh, by the way happen to be on the other side of town, to making extra trips to the grocery store to pick up post-game snacks, to volunteering to run the concession stand all day. And the list goes on...

It's easy to see how and why this happens. To fall into that non-stop "go, go, go" routine. But guess what, Mama? Without you there is no youth athlete. You play just as big a role in their success, if not bigger, than their coaches do.


Beth Jessop founder of Sports Moms United and Sports Mama of 2, fills us in!

Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. It is doing exactly what you need to do to feel the best all around. This includes nutritionally, physically, and emotionally.

Each sports mama has their own way to give themselves self-care.

This can be anything from quitting your exhausting job, to getting your hair done, to exercising while your kid’s at practice or reading while they are at practice or even just having ten minutes of quiet time before you lay your head on the pillow each night.

Taking care of yourself should not be overlooked. There are so many benefits from a self-care routine. If you are not taking care of yourself eventually it can lead to overwhelming stress, lack of confidence, less productivity at work and can even cause deteriorating relationships with your kids, family, and friends. There have been times I have resented the kid’s activities because I wasn’t taking time to take care of me, too.


Ask yourself these questions to gain some clarity.

What are the things I need to do to feel complete?

What activities help me relieve stress?

Is there anything I can eliminate from the daily schedule that is preventing me from taking care of myself?

Am I happy with my exercise routine and am I eating healthy?

The way you answer these questions determines your self-care needs. Once you have defined your needs all you need to do now is to add it to your schedule and do them to reap the benefits.

A wise mentor once told me “You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you schedule.” Adding self-care to your calendar is just as important as adding your child’s practices and games because self-care is extremely beneficial for optimal health.


1. Increased Positivity – Adding these activities to your busy sports mom schedule will give you something to look forward to after sports activities. Now you will no longer be thinking about how busy your day is but instead be looking forward to reading that new book in total silence or getting your nails done after work on a non-sports day.

2. Increased Self-Confidence – Your needs are now a top priority and that is a good thing and it’s okay to be okay with it. Self-confidence will naturally increase because you are simply doing the things that make you feel good When you feel good, your positive, powerful and productive energy will be felt by everyone around you. Especially your athlete as you encourage and support them.

3. Improved Immunity – Self-care allows you to give your body a break from stress, anxiety and emotional trauma which increases your immunity. Stress and depression can overload your mind and body. And as a sports mom, it’s crucial to reduce as much stress as possible. We need you in the game!

4. Better Relationships – The more your needs are met the better your relationships will be with other people. When you are feeling down about yourself and don’t feel important chances are that will be the energy you are showing up with. Ultimately this could drain your relationships with your partner and your kiddos and cause long-term struggles.

5. Higher Productivity – All the benefits stated above help with increased productivity at work and at home. Less stress, higher immunity, and higher self-confidence all help to boost productivity. When you take care of yourself first, you have what you need to take care of all aspects of your life.

Remember, self-care is all about you as an individual. Not as a wife, not as a sports mom, not as team mom, not as your athlete’s mom, but you as an individual.

So what you need to do to take care of yourself won’t be the same as your spouse, your coworkers, your friends or your family. And after your routine is put in place you’ll notice a significant change in your health, happiness, and overall well-being.

Make time to take care of YOU, mama! And remember, your kids don't want a perfect mom, they want a happy one.

*** For more from Beth on Self-Care and keeping your athlete nutritionally, mentally, and physically fit, head on over to Sports Moms United today!

Friday, April 13, 2018

10 Signs You're Probably a Soccer Mom

I love soccer season. I really do. In fact, soccer was the very beginning of my "Sports Mama Career". I've been a soccer mom for almost 10 years now (oh, that makes me feel old!).

Here are ten telltale signs that you're probably one too...

  1. You have multiple weather apps on your cellphone. And you check them several times a day. Maybe, just maybe that 95% chance of thunderstorms on game day will change if I check it one more time!
  2. You have a portable chair in the trunk of your car. It reclines, has a cup holder, and a canopy. And your entire family knows not to touch it!
  3. Whenever you open your trunk to load groceries there's a 99.9% chance that a soccer ball (or two, or three!) will come rolling out. Hand eye coordination Mama, hand eye coordination!
  4. There are water bottles every where you look; the backseat of your car, in your kid's room, heck, even in your purse. Yet, you still can't manage to walk through Target without picking up a new one. 
  5. You drive your kid home from practice will all the windows down. Two words: shin guards! And if you're the mom of a goalie, bless your sweet heart. Goalie gloves may be about the only things that smell worse. GAG!
  6. You spend waaay too much time on Pinterest. How else would you find all those cute soccer mom shirts and come up with all those fun, post-game snack ideas?
  7. Nutmeg is no longer the name of a spice in your household.
  8. You always know which store has oranges on sale. And you can slice 10 of them in the blink of an eye.
  9. You buy the largest bottles of sunscreen and bug spray you can find. And you have a back up stash, just in case. Sunburn and those pesky bugs don't stand a chance!
  10. You have no free Saturdays the entire season. Between commuting to and from the games, arriving early at the games for warm-ups, and the actual games themselves, you basically live at the field. And you absolutely LOVE it!

Good luck this season, Mamas!

*** Click HERE to read my Soccer Mama Survival Tips and HERE to see what I carry in my Sports Mama Bag.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: How To Keep Up With Your Athlete's Schedule + GIVEAWAY!

Practices, games, team parties, out of state tourneys; the list goes on. There's definitely no rest for the weary us Sports Mamas! And in my house, if mama doesn't know what's going on, no one does!

So how do I keep up with it all? Three boys, four sports, and their completely different schedules. How do I make sure they all get to where they need to be, when they need to be there, with what they need to have?

I personally use a planner. A Mini Happy Planner to be exact. The size is perfect for us Sports Mamas' on the go lifestyle. I can easily swap it between my purse and my Sports Mama Bag. It has both a monthly and weekly layout, which I really like. The weekly layout has more than enough room for me to write in all three of the boys' activities, as well as my own appointments and my meal plan. If you have multiple athletes, I would color coding. For example, No. 1 is blue in my planner, so anything and everything pertaining to him I write in blue. No. 2 and No. 3 have their own unique colors as well. I also like to use stickers. I'm obsessed with the Mom Life sticker book from MAMBI. For my sports themed stickers, I use FarmWifeBre on Etsy. I absolutely love them. They are the perfect size for my planner, great quality, and shipping is super quick!

I have been keeping up with my boys' schedules this way for years now. Coach Hubby is an IT guy, so he thinks I'm crazy for using a paper planner. Apparently millennials should be paperless. Ha! Something about having to physically write it all down helps me to process and remember it all.

I know that what works for me will not work for everyone else, so I reached out to the awesome Sports Mamas in my Facebook Group (have you joined us yet?) to see what they use to keep up with their youth athletes' schedules.

The majority of them use some sort of electronic calendar. Many of them use iCalendar or the calendars on their smart phones, some use Google calendar, and Outlook was also mentioned. One particular Mama mentioned an app called "Family Organizer". It allows you to create a family calendar which can be synced to everyone's device. She said that she can even add stuff to her daughter's day (i.e. an appt.) and it will send her a notification. How cool is that? I will definitely be checking it out soon!

Planners were the next most popular. (Woot woot. Planner girls stand up!).

After planners were dry-erase boards. The mamas that use these say they keep them somewhere in their kitchen such as on the refrigerator or in their command centers. The biggest pro is the ability for your entire family to see it as well as the ease of erasing should a game be changed or canceled. Color coding was also mentioned.

Lastly, were team scheduling apps such as TeamSnap, Shutterfly, Sports Engine, and the Sports Illustrated Play app. These are all great tools. TeamSnap is my bff during football season! Aside from sharing your team schedule, you can also share the team roster, photos, videos, and more. Most of these apps have both free and paid versions.

Youth sports can be overwhelming. I promise that being organized definitely helps cut down on the chaos. As you continue along this awesome journey that is #sportsmamahood, you will find what works best for you and your athlete(s).

I hope you found this post helpful! Remember to embrace the crazy, it doesn't last forever!

*** GIVEAWAY TIME: (CLOSED) Breanna Cameron aka FarmWifeBre is offering one lucky winner a FREE sheet of her sports themed planner stickers! Head on over to my Instagram page @confessionsofasportsmama to enter. GOOD LUCK!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Team Mama Idea: Soccer Post-Game Snacks

Today was opening day for No. 2's soccer league! I'm super excited for outdoor sports again. Although the fact that it was flurrying and 40 degrees (brrr!) at game time had me wishing I had switched places with Coach Hubby and taken No. 1 to his four AAU games today.

I volunteered to bring halftime fruit and post-game snacks. If you've been following me for a while, you've probably noticed that I like to get it out of the way early in the season. With three boys, this is what works best with our (crazy) busy schedules.

For halftime, I brought oranges. I cut and bagged them last night, so that all I had to do this morning was literally grab and go.

I believe I cut up eight large ones and they ate every single one! Click HERE to read which oranges I use as well as my favorite way to slice them.

For post-game snacks, I kept it super simple; assorted chips, fruit strips, and sports drinks.

Another thing you may know if you've read some of my prior snack idea posts, is that I like to bag my snacks. The main reason for bagging is that it makes distribution both easier and quicker, especially when you're handing out more than one snack. Aside from the convenience factor, it also allows me to get a bit creative.

I used a black permanent marker and these cute soccer ball stickers that I found at Michaels and wrote "Way To GOAL!" on quart-sized baggies. Once they dried, I added a bag of chips and a fruit strip to each one.

Such an easy, inexpensive way to kick your snacks up to the next level- no pun intended. Okay, maybe a little.

We won 6-3, and my boy scored a goal!

Made sitting in the freezing cold all worth it!

*** Have an early morning game this season? Click HERE for post-game snack ideas. Also, be sure to check out my Soccer Mama Survival Tips as well as see what I carry in my Soccer Mama Bag!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: 15 Healthy & Energizing Snack Ideas For Youth Athletes

Youth athletes need proper nutrition to help them stay energized, focused, and fit. Their nutrition (or lack thereof!) can directly affect their performance, both on the field and off.

While it may be easier to grab a bag of potato chips on your way out the door, especially when you're running late because your kid can't find their water bottle (which for me feels like every other day!), they provide absolutely zero nutrition. Instead look for foods that are rich in protein and fiber, and avoid those that are sugary and over processed.

My boys always eat a snack about an hour to an hour and a half before their practices and games. Many times they will have another snack when we arrive back home.

Here are FIFTEEN healthy and energizing snack ideas to help your athlete play to their fullest potential:

  1. Fruit (apples, bananas, oranges)
  2. Greek yogurt (add fresh berries and granola for even more of a nutritional boost!)
  3. Whole grain bagel with low-fat cream cheese
  4. Nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews. Every now and then I'll even throw in some mini chocolate chips for a little added sweetness)
  5. Granola bars (be sure to check the sugar content first!)
  6. Boiled eggs (boil a bunch at the beginning of the week and keep them in the fridge until they're ready to be consumed)
  7. Smoothie (there are a ton of easy, delicious recipes on Pinterest)
  8. Veggies (carrot sticks, celery, cucumber slices. Dip them in hummus or low-fat ranch for extra flavor)
  9. Popcorn (my boys absolutely love Trader Joe's Lite Kettle Corn!)
  10. String cheese
  11. Peanut butter (slab it on crackers, apples, or celery)
  12. Sandwich (lean turkey meat and cheese on whole wheat bread)
  13. Turkey roll-ups (they're like a sandwich, without the bread. Simply roll up slices of lean turkey, or their meat of choice. You can even roll them around cheese sticks!)
  14. Applesauce
  15. No bake energy balls (click here for my favorite recipe!) 

I hope you find this post helpful. I'd love to know YOUR athlete's favorite go-to snacks. Feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Weekend Snapshots: Easter!

Happy Monday, Sports Mamas! And happy April! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter alongside your loved ones.

Here's a quick look at how we spent ours.

We colored eggs.

I baked cupcakes.

Aren't they cute? And you know what makes them even cuter? The fact that they were super easy to make! I used a boxed cake, chocolate icing, and jelly beans aka Easter eggs. Although my boys thought the jelly beans were suppose to be bunny poop. Ha!

Speaking of cute? Check out these eggs I found!

They were absolutely perfect for their sports themed baskets. I filled them with candy and cash.

Each boy also received a new water bottle (seriously, where do they all go?!?), energy chews, socks, an iTunes card, and the obligatory chocolate bunny, of course!

We also visited family, ate way too much, hunted for eggs with cousins, and met the Easter Bunny at Awesome Con!

It was a great day. I hope yours was too.

Have a wonderful week, mamas!