Surviving Kids’ Sports As A Single Parent
Being a single parent means sometimes dealing with conflict from the other parent. Here are some ideas of avoiding them at sporting events. Having kids in sports and committing to weekly practices, games, events, EOS parties, away games, etc. is a lot of work and major kudos to the parents. Having to do it as a single parent, and do it all, takes some skill and strategy. Here are some tips to help out and some products that can help you too. Most court papers, as a norm, say both parents have the right to be at all sporting events and school activities. This does not mean you have to sit with them, share food with them or even talk to them. But, it is best for your kid(s) if you are the better person and are cordial.
Topics To Discuss Ahead of Time
- If sports require volunteer hours who does them?
- If it is your child’s day for snack duty which parent is responsible?
- How do you get the uniform from house to house to make sure your child has everything on the day of the event.
General rule of thumb- who ever’s custody day it is than it is that parent’s responsibility. But I’ve seen it more often that it is usually the majority parent (the one that has more custody), the mom or the parent that wanted the child in the sports in the first place. Sometimes this is a battle you can’t win (remember pick your battles) and even if it is your ex’s weekend you might need to show up with missing pieces of a uniform or snacks.
If the team has required volunteer hours (track and field is usually 6-8 hours per child, for the season) than you can see if your ex will split it. For me, since I sign my kids up and I’m the one writing the checks than I’m the one stuck doing it. (Check for $100 gets cashed if the hours aren’t done). This sucks, since I think it should be split but since that is never going to happen I just suck it up and see it as something I do for tract. If you have other little kids and can’t find a way to do the volunteer time (and stay with your kids) see if you can do your hours another way. Help as a team mom. See if there is something you can do at home or online. See if you can do your hours when the kids are with the other parent.
Drama, New SO’s and Who To Run To
If you have to, ignore your ex. Or be polite. Do not sit with them unless you are great friends. Your children should know that the custody parent will have the uniform, uniform bag, snacks, water bottle, etc and should be the parent your child sits with. This does not mean they can’t talk to the opposite parent. Yes, this can be tricky sometimes. Figure it out without your child feeling uncomfortable or worried about hurting their parent’s feelings.
Your ex might bring their new SO (significant other). Nothing you can do about it. At all. Do not stare, give dirty looks or gossip. You might chat about ‘them’ with a team mom sitting by you and find out a week later she is friends with the SO and just went to their house for a barbecue. … You know.. The point is, you never know. So don’t back mouth your ex to some other team moms.
If it is your ex’s day do not call your kid over every 5 minutes to say hi, I love you or give them a hug. You don’t need to prove to anyone that you are an awesome parent.
All in all, be the better person. Suck it up. Be there for your kids. Cheer them on. Have fun. If your ex is a douchcanoe there is nothing you can do about it. Just be there for your kids.
Plan ahead… Seriously!
If the sporting event if important to you plan for worst case situations. I’ve had it happen dozens of times where the day before my ex says he has to work and can’t go. That means whatever plans I have are cancelled so I can take our kid. It is either that or they miss it too. I suck it up and cancel my events. It is about the kids, not the ex. The kids don’t need to be punished and miss out.
I always bring extra water. That way my kids know I have some if they forget to bring some if they leave straight from their dad’s house. Snacks too.
I love my Folding Trolley Dolly (on sale on Amazon at 17% off right now). Has a good handle. Can put food, extra clothing, a good book, small lunch bag with ice blocks for cold soda or water AND it folds down to have a seat on the front!! WINNER! That way if I’m not in the stadiums but somewhere like shot put or high jump I have somewhere to sit! I’ll be bringing it track meets when they start in a few weeks.
If you are going somewhere, like an all day track meet, and plan to stay all day dress in layers. Make sure your cell is charged. A backup battery is a good idea too. Bring sunscreen. Bring money for snack bar.
If you are going to the grocery store that week plan ahead and get extra food. A foot-long sub is a great idea. Light snacks to eat during sports events are important to not weight the kids down or give them stomachaches. Heavier food is good after the event. I love how roomy the Toyota Highlander is too! Fit all of us in the front and the back had plenty of room for ‘everything else.’ Groceries, sports bags and even fishing gear and poles.
All in all, just be there to cheer on your kids so they know you are there. Don’t skip the events, unless you have to. You don’t want your kids to be the ones searching the crowd for their parent that never comes.