Becoming a hockey mom ultimately came down to fostering my son’s interest for the sport. Though we knew it would mean a significant time commitment and financial obligation, it seems that playing hockey is a bit of a rite of passage in our country.
As the Summer comes to a close, parents are immediately thrust into the busy and often chaotic season of Fall. The lazy days of summer soon morph into a full-speed foot race, packed with new school schedules and many, many extra-curricular activities. Though I often try to balance our sacred family time with my son’s need to keep active, this Fall I’m finding it especially difficult.
As a family rule, we try our best to choose one activity per season. In the Fall/Winter it is usually skating lessons, in the Spring it is T-Ball, and in the Summer it is soccer. Yet, as my son turns six it becomes increasingly apparent that both he, and my husband, would like him to be in hockey. After all, he wouldn’t be truly Canadian if he didn’t learn to play hockey right?
As I thought about the life of a “hockey mom” several thoughts flooded my mind at once. Here are just a few considerations that any family facing similar extra-curricular decisions might want to contemplate beforehand.
Important Considerations for Extra-Curricular Activities for Kids
This is a big one, especially where hockey is concerned. Registration fees, tournament extras, fundraising commitments, and equipment can run up thousands of dollars on the family budget. Before going “all in” it might be worth looking into ways to mitigate the cost. For example, is there a rec league available in your area that not only costs less but also has less fundraising and overall financial commitments? Is it possible to purchase hockey equipment second-hand? Getting creative will save you a few bucks and ease the burden on the family finances so you can sleep a little easier at night.
Many hockey leagues hold two or three practices per week in addition to games and tournaments on weekends. For a six or seven year old this can be pretty overwhelming. Having said that, if your child is super keen and excited about hockey this might be something they continue to look forward to. You know your child best and are able to best evaluate the time commitment your family is able to take on during the week. This is where rec leagues might offer a more flexible schedule to better meets the needs of your family.
Because of the high level of commitment involved in most hockey leagues, many parents find it easiest to arrange carpools with other families on the same team. This is especially helpful for families with multiple children who each have their own extra-curricular activities to attend throughout the week. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get to know the other parents on the team. It’ll certainly make the time crunch of a week a little smoother.
Level of Competition
It pays to look around for a hockey league that will not only suit your schedule but matches your preferred competition level as well. Are you keen to put your child on a competitive track early on? Or would you prefer to expose him or her to the sport just for fun? Sorting out the end goal will help you to find the desired level of competition for your child.
For us, in the end we decided to go with hockey lessons for my six year old. This allowed him some exposure to the sport while keeping the expense and level of commitment manageable. Next year we’ll likely look into a rec league, and if it turns out this sport is something he loves we can continue to increase the competition level as we go. Taking it slow was the right choice for our family.
What about you? Are your kids into hockey? How did you decide what was right for you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
XO The Good Enuf Mommy
Tiffany Austin is a mom, a wife, writer, and educator living in Calgary, Canada. Tired of never feeling “good enough” as a new mom, she began The Good Enuf Mommy to encourage other moms to feel confident and empowered in their own decisions. Connect with her on Facebook to read more!