Guide to being a football mum

As our kids grow up, it happens to many of us. Especially if, dare I say it, we happen to be mums to boys. There comes a time when the park, the soft play and the company of Mummy just isn’t enough for a child. They need action, they need excitement. They need mud.

The time comes for them to start playing football.

You may not like this idea. You may see it as an interruption to lie-ins and to Saturdays as a family. But is it really fair to hold your child back for selfish reasons? Football matters to kids. It especially matters to boys. To be good at football is to be cool and popular. To be pretty rubbish at football, but to play weekly, will always improve a child’s skills. Better than sitting in front of the telly, eh?

They learn discipline, they learn teamwork, they learn how to lose and they keep fit and healthy. What’s not to love?

My son was 6 when he started playing football for his current team. That’s five years as a football mum. In that time I’ve picked up some valuable tips and information which others starting out on that journey may be interested in.

This is not an exhaustive list of tips, it’s based purely on my experience and some of it may need to be taken with a pitch of salt.

PicMonkey footballmumCollage, Football, Football mum

Football matters. It’s not ‘just a game’. The sooner you realise this, the easier your life will be.

Football requires commitment. It’s usually every Saturday morning from September until Easter (sometimes longer than that). Don’t be the family that only turns up half of the time.

Watch your child and support them – they will really appreciate it.

If you have to pay weekly, don’t forget to pay!

Never say anything bad about your child’s team-mates, their parents, the opposition or the ref (say it in your head to yourself, if you have to).

If the coach or the other parents shout horrible things, leave! Find another team. Nobody should put up with that for an 8 year old child on a Saturday morning. Not all teams are like that.

If there’s a ‘respect barrier’ at the game, stand behind it! If you don’t, your child’s team could get in trouble.

Let the coach know if your kid isn’t going to make it that week – it’s really annoying to be short of players.

Some kids have to be the subs. The coach will usually give them half a game. Asking for more or nagging the coach won’t go down well.

Help to clear up at the end. The poor coach has to dismantle both goals and collect in the cones and the corner flags. He’s not paid, he was there way earlier than you and he’s got a family to go home to too!

Your child will get muddy. Shove it all in the washing machine – it will all survive. Even the goalie gloves (at lowish temperature), although not the shin pads.

If you happen to be married to the coach, suggest that each family washes their own shirt every week – or that the team’s shirts are rotated around the families.

If you happen to be married to the coach, advise him to check there is adequate drying space before he helpfully washes two full loads of muddy kit and bibs.

Your child will get grumpy and upset if the team loses. So will the coach. If he happens to be your husband…

Your child will also get upset about bad ref’s decisions. They will be blind to any bad decisions that have gone in their favour.

If you’re really unlucky, the grumpiness can go on well into Saturday afternoon. (Sorry!)

And that’s about it! If anyone else has any more advice for touchline mums (and dads), please suggest it in the comments below.


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Excellent points, all of which I could apply to my hubby. If he loses a game then the rest of Sunday is like doom and gloom for him!

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    • Thanks very much and, oh dear! I’m going to be stuck with this right until my son is all grown up, aren’t I? It really isn’t ‘just a game’. Sigh.

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  2. Love this! I may have 2 girls but I grew up in a family of football mad dad & uncles. The humour u inject to this is witty and subtle, cleverly done Sarah x

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    • Thanks very much, that’s a lovely thing to say! Really appreciate it πŸ™‚ x

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  3. Love this! We watch a lot of football here and I am fairly sure that Harry will want to play, in fact he has already asked but he has only just started swimming lessons so I think we will wait until next term (or maybe later) before starting on the football. I remember driving across the county when I was growing up to watch my brother play and I really cannot emphasis the “It’s not just a game” point enough!

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    • Thanks very much! It’s amazing how much football can affect their moods – it really is highs and lows. Good to hear that Harry is interested in playing. You will probably hear most clubs don’t start until year 1 anyway, so you can probably have a few more months off!

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  4. That’ll do more than for starters, Sarah! Wonderful, and yes, love the ‘light-handed’ humour. I have to say, the challenge of MUD is the biggest one we face at the mo, as you know! The places i find it is endless! Keeping a limit on the competitive urges of other parents will be the real challenge over the years, but thankfully we have a bunch of fantastic dads in our son’s team. No doubt I’ll be writing my First Time Footie Mum post at some point!

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    • Yay, I look forward to it! Glad you like the post too πŸ™‚ You’re lucky to have such good parents on the team, I hope it stays that way for you. Opposition parents can be challenging at times too.

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  5. LOVE this Sarah. As you know I’m a rugby mum and so agree with these. Although I would add, know you are going to be spending a LOT of time standing still in the cold so invest in warm stuff and not care what you look like!
    I’m totally going to do one of these for the rugby crowd x

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    • Very good point about staying warm, I don’t know how I could have missed that! I am obsessed with ways to stay warm. I’m also doing a rugby post and a ballet post! πŸ™‚ x

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  6. Excellent tips there. I was nodding my way through them all. I still have mixed feelings about being a touchline mum, I do love that the play and that they love it but those cold mornings are hard work sometimes. I agree with Tara that you do need to invest in some warm clothes and a nice camping chair too.

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    • Thanks very much. The cold can be tough! I’m lucky that, as my husband is coach, I don’t have to be there all the time. I try to get to as many matches as possible though. Camping chairs are fab! We finally invested this year.

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  7. Would you happen to be married to the coach by any chance?!
    I need to bookmark this for future reference, my son is 5… I like the ‘You may look this idea’ it really felt like you were talking to me!

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    • How did you guess I’m married to the coach?!
      So many parents aren’t keen on the idea of spending weekends on a football pitch, but it’s something which comes to many of us in the end. Better that than the kids roaming the streets up to no good!

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  8. What a great idea for a post, I hated beign a football mum, thank goodess it only lasted one season! Mich x

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    • Thanks very much πŸ™‚ I actually really enjoy it, which is good as my 11 year old son has been playing for five years now! πŸ™‚

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  9. Some great tips, it’s very true the amount of times my boys have come home in a foul mood over something the ref’s done. Usually they’re not too bad if they lose though. I’m sure any new footie-mums will appreciate the tips. Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

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    • Thanks very much! I wrote it on request of a new footie mum πŸ™‚ I can’t imagine what it must be like to have so many boys affected by the ref’s decision. One grumpy boy is enough for me!

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  10. My oldest wasn’t at all interested in football, he’s a keen swimmer though so I’m encouraging that instead! The 5yo has asked to play soccer next year, so I may yet join the soccer moms πŸ™‚

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