Top 10 Tips For The New Football Mom

This post is sponsored by Future for Football. We are proud to partner with organizations that invest positively in the lives of children.

The leaves are turning, the pumpkins are on the front porch, and the hot chocolate is on the stove. You know what that means: it’s FOOTBALL SEASON! It’s nearly impossible to live in Iowa City and not get caught up in the Iowa Hawkeye football hype (Go Hawks!), but we know it begins much, much earlier than that–and if your boys and girls are in their first stages of football, you are in for a ride! Thanks to some veteran football mamas who’ve been there/done that, we’ve put together a list of tried and true tips for the brand new football moms out there. As your little one embarks on the exciting journey of joining a team, being a part of a community, and learning lifelong lessons about good sportsmanship, friendship, and healthy habits, we hope these tips can help you enjoy the ride along side him/her.

Encourage team friendships and community.

One of the biggest benefits of getting your little ones into football–or any team sport for that matter–is the opportunity for them to make new friends. Between practices, games, and possible tournament travel, these boys and girls are going to be spending a lot of time together. However, I would encourage you to take it one step further and find time for your child to spend time with their teammates OFF the field as well. Whether that’s a sleepover, inviting them to birthday parties, or even just a post-game dinner or ice cream, those moments off the field can really help the kids deepen their friendships and get to know each other on another level. And I guarantee you the coach will see a difference in the way they play together on the field, too!

ALWAYS travel with snacks, water and sports drinks.

It’s a well-known fact that teenagers are CONSTANTLY “starving”. But add in a couple hours of running, lifting weights, or tackling their teammates, and you’re on a whole new level of snacking. Our advice: have a portable snack bin that you can quickly grab and throw in the minivan, carry onto the field if needed, and refill from the kitchen when you get back home. Fan favorite (and somewhat healthy) snacks at our house include granola bars, goldfish, peanuts or cashews, bags of dry cereal, and fruit strips/snacks. But even more important than the snacks: hydration!! Always travel with water, Gatorade, or even the powdered sports drink packets to make a drink on-the-go. Keep those liquids flowing!

Learn to love your crockpot.

We’ve all seen the meme: “Everyone has practice, so dinner is at 4PM or 9PM.” It’s all funny until it’s YOU. After a long day of work outside or inside the home, after-school chaos and practice/games, the last thing you want to do is figure out a meal. And, depending on how many kids you have or where your budget stands, you can only go through the fast food drive-thru so many times. Enter: the crockpot. A tried and true friend to moms everywhere, the crockpot solves our sports-mom problem by giving us an opportunity to prep the meals in the morning and come home to them hot and ready at the end of the day. Yes, please! Some of our favorite recipes include chicken burrito bowls, Mississippi pot roast, and tomato tortellini soup.

Take advantage of the “car talks”.

Another lesson from those of us who have survived the teen/tween years: if there’s anywhere that they’re going to open up and actually give us more than one-word answers about their day, it’s the car. Again, this one doesn’t apply to just football or sports, but teens everywhere. Those moments in the car, where they are sitting in close proximity (aka “trapped”), but not required to keep eye contact, are magical. It’s a prime opportunity to follow up about their practice or their game–chat with them about how to lose well, how to build confidence, what good winners look like, etc.

It’s a family affair.

If this is your first time, then odds are it’s your oldest child who’s playing football this season. Meaning, he or she has younger siblings who will be tagging along. If you have little ones who will be joining you for practices, games, etc., you’ll NEED something to occupy them. Our best advice for this is to create a “football toy bin”, i.e. a box of fun toys and activities that ONLY comes out when you go to football activities for their older sibling. You could make it themed (little football-themed toys, football coloring sheets, or toddler footballs) or just pick some tried and true “on the go” toys (magnetic sets, scratch art, or the ever-popular pop its), the items don’t matter–the important part is that these things are OFF LIMITS unless they are sitting on the sideline or in the minivan while big brother or sister play their hearts out. Not only will this help the little ones to have more fun, but it will help you to be less distracted so that you can actually watch the game, take some great photos of your athlete, and possibly even interact with some of the other parents and make yourself some friends too!

Practices makes progress.

One of the biggest lessons that has been learned in my household is the effect of practice on our performance. I know they don’t want to hear it, but it’s true–if their teammates are going home and practicing more than they are at home, chances are those results will be seen on the field. If your kid (like mine) is not thrilled by the idea of his or her mom or dad running drills with them in the backyard, then you may have to get creative about it. You don’t have to be PLAYING football or running football-specific drills to build your football skills. Try some fun activities as a family to practice hand-eye coordination, go on runs together, or just play some good old fashioned catch. (Side note: a quick game of catch is almost as good as the car ride for an opportunity to get a teen/tween to talk to you about their day.) Another way to bring it all together: watch football as a family. Use that opportunity to discuss the plays you see on T.V. with your athlete, ask him/her if they agree with the referee’s call or not, maybe even join a fantasy league together! The more you can incorporate the sport into their daily lives, the more confident and prepared they will feel when they walk onto the field on game day.

Have a {football} movie night.

In addition to watching games on TV, it’s also fun to pop some popcorn, grab some snacks and put on one of the many, many football-themed movies that have come out over the years. There are so many good ones to choose from, whether it’s funny and light-hearted like The Water Boy or Little Giants, or more serious and inspirational like Jerry Maguire and The Blind Side. Watching those as a family (maybe even make a football movie bucket list!) is sure to bring laughs and good times, but also might lead to deeper conversations about those aforementioned themes: sportsmanship, friendship, respect, healthy living, etc. Never underestimate a good family movie night!

Sanitize that stinky gear!

Ah, the dreaded gym bag. A smell like no other. One quick search on Pinterest will tell you that you are NOT alone in the quest to get rid of that post-sports odor. Some of the best tips we’ve found are: remove all of the items when you get home (and hang things up if possible) to make sure they get dried out, use a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol to spritz all items (this not only helps with odor, but the alcohol also helps to kill funguses and keep bacteria growth under control), and don’t go anywhere without a little bottle of Febreeze. Seriously, don’t. Other odor-reducing favorites to throw in the bag include Fresh Wave packets and charcoal bags.

Organization is your friend.

Just like the snack bin and the little-sibling toy bin, make sure to have a designated spot for all of your athlete’s gear (preferably in the garage, mudroom or laundry room, due to the lovely odors discussed above). These three-drawer organizers are great for rolling in and out of the garage or laundry room to empty/fill when needed. Hooks and wall organization are key; perfect for helmets, shoulder pads and more. We’ve even found some super creative moms who have made these PVC gear holders! So cool!

Don’t forget about YOU.

Again, let this be a tip for every part of your mom life, not just football–find the time to take care of yourself, and do a few small things to make it more enjoyable for YOU, too. Get yourself some fun football-mom gear (shirts, earrings, tumblers, etc.) and, for those of you here in the land of freezing cold winters, stock up on all of the keep-warm gear (portable heated blankets, hand warmers, comfy stadium seats and so much more!). Taking those little steps to help yourself feel more comfortable, and to have more FUN, at your athlete’s sporting events will make such a difference in your days–and don’t forget to make friends with some of the other moms and build that community for yourself too!


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Iowa City Moms Blog
At Iowa City Moms Blog we’re a group of local moms who are passionate about connecting other moms to one another and to our community! Whether you’re an experienced mom, a newbie, expecting, or aspiring to be a mom someday, this blog is for you! Join us as we navigate this journey that is motherhood in the Iowa City area!


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