...because we all have our motley moments!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soccer Mom: Truth, Lies, and Labels

According to Wikipedia, the term "soccer mom" was popularized the year I graduated from high school. 1996 was an election year, and the demographic of women voters deemed "soccer moms" was being targeted by Bill Clinton as the most sought after group of swing voters. An article in the Washington Post described the soccer mom as "the overburdened middle income working mother who ferries her kids from soccer practice to scouts to school," usually in a minivan, station wagon, or SUV. "Busy, harried, stressed out, and overburdened" were all used to describe the soccer mom demographic.

I remember thinking around that time, "I will NEVER be like that!" I even developed an aversion to minivans, just to be sure I avoided the soccer mom stereotype. Car companies agreed. After courting the "soccer-mom" image for several years, in 2003, the car manufacturer Nissan repositioned its Quest minivan as "stylish, sexy and desirable."

Well, after driving our 13-year-old Camry for the past 8 years, stooping and hefting two off-the-growth-charts babies into their car seats and shoving groceries around the crevices of the stroller in the trunk, a minivan is starting to look pretty good. My practical side is beating out my sense of pride.

And our son will play in his first-ever soccer game this morning. He's very excited. I'm organizing the team snack schedule this season and providing snacks for this first game. Luckily there is also a terrific "soccer dad" at my side, helping KID 1 learn the basics, getting him to practice, and rooting from the sideline right along with me.

Becoming a soccer mom is a gradual process, but I'm determined to define the label and not let the label define me! This soccer mom is fun, stylish, sexy, and desirable! Now where's my minivan?


Rachel said...

First of all, thank you SO much for the definition of a soccer mom--I have always wondered exactly what it meant. I did think there would be mention of pastel-colored cardigans, however...

I think you're right--it's time for a new kind of soccer mom, and you are just the person to start the revolution! :)

As for the minivan, I have never really wanted one because 1)they drink gas like crazy and 2)they seem really hard to maneuver in traffic. Maybe that's an old stereotype, too. Anybody know?

Give Kid1 a big good luck hug from us!

Jason and Fawnda said...

Donna-We graduated the same year! 96! Cool!

I always thought of soccer moms as "with-it" moms, who are involved with their kids lives and may have a little much on their plate but have good mom friends to get them through... I like the definition a little better! of course with the added "fun, stylish, sexy and desirable" too!

Since we had a broken down minivan growing up I have promised myself that we would not get one! So I drive a jeep and LOVE it... I know it is an SUV but it is easy to park and drive and it stands taller to it is easy to get out of and good storage in the back!

Good luck at your first soccer game as a "soccer mom!"


Liz said...

My MIL has a van and while I hate the idea of a mini-van, hers drives well and is very comfortable. I think it gets good gas mileage, too. I'm still not getting one, though. I love my lil' CRV. It's perfect for our little family of 4.

Bryssy said...

I am ashamed to admit that I actually find myself pining for a minivan. Especially when I exit Wal-Mart, laden with bags, children, various asundry foods that are open, and probably disease. I want that clicker that opens the back doors for you.

It's possible that I need a vehicle that could be voice activated...I never can find the keys when I need to!

Karly said...

Actually I think the song is about a "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom".

But I have to say, I love the mini-van. I am driving a suburban right now, and there are days I really so miss my mini van. I loved the push-button doors. The Stow-and-Go seats. The built in DVD player. The seat arrangement for my three kids. It was smaller than my current vehicle with better gas milage.

Donna, there is no shame in driving a minivan. A sexy, stylish soccer mom like you could drive any kind vehicle and still be cool!

And Bryssy, they do have key pads where you just punch in the numbers. That might help you!

Lindsay said...

I always wanted to be a soccer mom growing up. I always saw them as a "cool" mom who was involved in their childrens lives. Maybe that's because my mom was a "soccer mom" and she was and still is a wonderful mom. She is turning into quiet the "soccer grandma". :) So I was overjoyed when I got my minivan. It's old (we pay cash for cars), so it doesn't have all the bells and wistles, but I still love it. Pleanty of room for my three kids and a friend or two. :)

Ginger said...

Um. Hello?!?!?! Mini-vans ROCK! What other kind of vehic can you think of that can hold up to five kids and magically senses your presence (or the key fob's) and opens it's loving doors to you???? And no, you don't have to get a gas guzzler. We have a Honda "Odyssey" and it is VERY reasonable FYMVI (for your mini-van info).