How I Learned to Love Football Sundays (And 9 Reasons All Moms Should Too)

At my first NFL football game with RJ.
At my first NFL football game with RJ.

The first Sunday of the NFL season is this weekend and I’m actually excited about it. I grew up with my dad relegated to our basement on Sundays where he’d cheer on his favorite team, the St. Louis Rams. He’d occasionally scream at the TV or let out a big “YES!!!” that my mom and I would hear upstairs. I never understood his passion for the team and I although I may have once or twice tried to sit with him to learn what was going on, I never could.


My husband is also a diehard fan, but because we started dating in April, I didn’t understand his obsession with his team, the Buffalo Bills, until the fall.


The first time I witnessed his devotion to football firsthand started out like any other Sunday. It was the end of summer and we went for a bike ride that morning. When we got back and RJ showered, he came into the living room with his Buffalo Bills jersey on and a Bills baseball cap. He seemed like a little boy about to go to a sports game. I thought it was kind of cute at first, but quickly got annoyed. He parked himself on the couch, eyes glued to the screen. During commercials or a slow play, instead of chatting with me, he scrolled through his cell phone to check on his fantasy football team, a whole other group of players he was personally invested in, or to text with friends about how the game was going. 


When I asked him questions, which I had a lot of, my usually attentive boyfriend was so focused he wouldn’t even respond. Worst of all was when he would respond to a question that I had asked a full five minutes earlier, which meant he’d heard me but chose to wait until nothing important was going on on the field before answering.


Sundays continued to be a contentious day for us for a while and we mostly time did our own things that day. It wasn’t until we got engaged and moved in together that I started to love Sunday football. Our new cable package included NFL RedZone, a channel that only shows the most exciting parts of the game--when a team is about to score a touchdown. Instead of flipping back and forth from the TK different games on at a give time on Sunday, this one channel goes from game to game while an announcer gives you highlights. I’d occasionally sit down and watch a little with RJ and because only the key moments of the games were being shown, I started to understand the importance of a touchdown, enjoyed watching the players ridiculous dances when they scored, and words like "sacks," "fumbles," and "interception" finally started to make sense.


Now we’re married with an almost-one-year-old son. On my son’s first football Sunday last year, he was four days old. My husband had him dressed in a Buffalo Bills onesie and was taking pictures of him sleeping in his baby swing. I knew he wanted to capture their first football moment together and was envisioning all the others they’d have one day.

 

Our son still won’t understand football this year, but I’ve learned to love this season. Here’s why:

 

Football can be a once-per-week event. As opposed to baseball, which is on nearly every day from April through October. Football can become a special occasion on Sundays. (OK, it’s on Thursday nights and Monday too, but if you just watch a little bit on the weekend, your husband will be impressed.)

 

Your man will be an efficiency machine before kickoff. The games start at 1 pm on the East Coast, which means you have all morning to do family stuff together or for him to crank through his “honey do” list. Nothing makes a football-loving hubby more productive than an impending football game.

 

It’s an excuse to drink alcohol. (Like you needed one.) Football is meant to be enjoyed with a cold beer but if that’s not your thing a glass of wine or margarita works just as well.

 

When your husband’s team wins, he’s really excited, if you know what I mean. Remember that episode of Sex and The City, where Samantha is dating a hardcore sports fan? She winds up getting into baseball because every time his team wins, she gets lucky and when they lose she’s in a sexual dry spell. Now, it’s not nearly that extreme with me and my husband, but when his underdog team, the Buffalo Bills, pulls off a win or a great play, he throws his arms around me and gives me a big kiss.

 

He’ll appreciate you taking an interest. It’s fun to share something together. It also earns you some credit to do things together that you enjoy. When you’re debating over a restaurant for date night or you want him to take the kids to a pumpkin patch for some fall family photos, you can remind your spouse that you take time to do what he likes (watching football), so it’s his turn to do what you want to.

 

It’s an excuse to get out of the house. Even if you’re on a tight budget and don’t make going out a priority, most men will find a way to hit up a sports bar to watch the game once in a while. Many bars have Sunday specials so it doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s an opportunity for someone (the waitress) to wait on you for a change. If you weren’t into watching the game already, the energy in a sports bar where most people are rooting for the same team is invigorating and might convert you to become a fan.

 

It teaches kids about success and failure. Even the best players have off days and lose. Sometimes a player whose name nobody knows saves the day. No matter what happens everyone shows up next week and plays again.

 

It’s something you can do as a family. In my husband’s extended family, watching the games is something the children and adults do together. They all don their favorite team’s jersey and huddle around the flat screen. Parking in front of the TV as a family gets a bad rap, but during a live game there’s lots of time to chat with your kids, high-five during great plays, or gently tease each other if you’re rooting for opposing teams. The children love it and even if you’re not really into the game, you’ll be into spending time with them and creating memories.

 

It’s something Dad can do with the kids. If you’re really not into spending Sunday in a jersey and eating guacamole, then let the little ones watch the game with your spouse while you do something you want to. Sunday can be your day for “me time:” Go get a mani/pedi, the haircut you’re overdue for, or just lock yourself in the bedroom and relax—and thank god for Sunday football.

 

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The Power of the Shirt: A Lesson on Life and Motherhood

 I was an Orientation Advisor in college, which meant that in the beginning of my sophomore year, it was my job, along with a bunch of other peppy sophomores to welcome the new freshman to our school. Although it sounds like a job any friendly person could do, it was surprisingly competitive to get picked for the roles. The selection process was a series of three separate interviews, some individual and some in groups, to see how you worked as part of a team.

 

 

The year before, when I was a nervous freshman moving away from home for the first time, I looked up to the students that showed me around and made me feel a little less nervous, so I was thrilled to be one of the students selected for the position myself. We arrived at campus a week or two before the freshman and had an intense training process. We had to be able to speak about all aspects of my college, The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. During the four-day Freshman Orientation, we gave presentations, tours of campus, helped the new students move into their dorms, eased worried parents, and were supposed to be built-in friends to these new students and help them feel good about where they’d be spending the next four years. There were about 50 of us to welcome the 800 or so freshman. Some of our training included learning about the history of the school, we had to know a ton of different info about the various majors, there were stats and statistics and numbers we were supposed to rattle off. All of us OAs, as we were called, took our roles seriously and wanted to make a great impression on these new students. We also wanted to make an impression on the heads of the Orientation Team because if we performed well as OAs, then the following year we could apply to be a POA (Parent Orientation Advisor) which was a smaller team of 12 and much more competitive.

 

The final day of our training, the night before the freshman and their parents were about to set foot on campus, the head of the Orientation program sat us all in the lounge in the University Center where most of our training had taken place. She opened a large cardboard box in front of her and took out one of the purple shirts with the orientation logo on it that we would each be wearing tomorrow. She told us something that I’ve never forgotten and has been applied to many areas of my life.

 

She spoke about “the power of the shirt.” She explained that no matter how nervous we were or how much information we were trying to remember, that all of it wouldn’t matter tomorrow. We’d have “the power of the shirt” on our side. She said that when we were wearing it, we’d almost magically know the answer. Even if we weren’t 100% sure, we’d come up with something suitable and close enough. Once that shirt was on, we were OAs and we would live up to that role.

 

She was right. When I left my dorm room the next morning with my purple Orientation shirt on, the mandatory crisp, white shorts it needed to be paired with, and my name tag, I was officially on OA. It was game day and we were all ready for action.

 

Over the course of those four days of welcoming the freshman and their families, I carried boxes up flights of stairs while moving in new students (and then whispered to them about why that dorm in particular was the best one to be in), organized outings for the freshman to attend that night (like a scavenger hunt around the National Monuments), answered questions about departments of the school I barely knew about the week before, and consoled many teary parents.

 

Every once in a while since being an OA, I’ve thought again about the “power of the shirt.” Each time I’ve been promoted or started a new job, I’ve felt just a touch under-qualified. That’s how it should be if you’re going to grow, but it’s still terrifying on those first days. Introducing myself with my new title and setting up my email signature with it resolved my nerve just a bit. Even when training for a marathon or triathlon, dressing the part made me feel more confident.


So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that as nervous as I was when I went into my labor induction, when my son was in my arms 24 hours later, I was still the same person, but with my new “mom” title things were just a bit different. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous holding this tiny little boy, was confused by each of the different breastfeeding holds the nurses showed me (which hand goes where for the football hold?) and changing his diaper was a two-person job until we’d been home from the hospital for a few days. Every time I gave him back to the nurses, his swaddle was messed up and I never do it properly until I was home and using a blanket with Velcro to make it easier.

 

Okay, maybe becoming a mom didn’t magically prepare me or help me to have everything figured out in those early days, but I knew we’d get the hang of it eventually. And each time I reminded myself that I'm his mom, I felt more confident. 

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Ten New-Mom Moments That I Won't Forget (Now)

Hi there. I’m writing this in my dining room with my first cup of coffee (the most important meal of a mom’s day!) on one side of my laptop and my son’s video monitor on the other (so my background noise is the classic muzak on his white noise machine). Welcome to my first blog post. This website is where I showcase my writing, editing and social media work, but I’m going to be blogging here weekly as well.

 

 

I should have enough to do. I’m a work-at-home mom, which means that in addition to taking care of my 9-month-old son, I also take on projects from clients. I’m a freelance writer and editor, but I’ve mostly been doing social media consulting work like creating social media strategies for brands and public figures, writing content for them, and sometimes even handling their community management. I love working from home and being around for all of my son’s milestones. Because his grandparents live close by, they watch him a few days per week so I try to cram as much work as I can into those days.  Of course my work bleeds into other days, especially with social media where timeliness wins the day and posts need to be crafted on the fly or complaints on Facebook pages need to be addressed immediately. Between working, caring for a baby, and all of the housework I’ve been neglecting, it seems silly that I want to be blogging and add another thing to my to-do list, but I really do want to.

 

 

When I was an editor at Weight Watchers Magazine, a part of my job was to blog for the editors’ shared blog. At first, the idea of what to write each week loomed large and it was just another task on my already-full work plate, but once I started, I began to love it. I was able to share bits of my life, experiences and what I’d learned with the public, which was so rewarding. I often blogged about my weight and what I did to maintain my 30+ pound weight loss, as well as my training for an Ironman triathlon.

 

Now the main reason I want to blog is to capture moments in my life right now (plus what I’m learning, confused by, etc) and share them with others. I’ve been a mom for nine months already and it’s going so quickly. I started writing a kick-off blog post when he was four months old, I never did anything with it and five more months went by. There are so many little moments and insights that I want to capturefor me, for my son, Rider, and if someone reading these gets something out of it, I’d be thrilled.

 

 

The other reason I want to blog is to get back to writing regularly. A number of years ago, I was on a roll publishing personal essays in major newspapers and magazines. Once I got an editor position (of which I’ve had multiple over eight years now) I had no time for writing for pleasure. I still don’t have much time on my hands but I don’t have a 9 to 5 in an office anymore, so if I can make the time after Rider’s bedtime or before he wakes up, like I am now, and keep it up for a while I think I can get back to this writing-about-my-life thing.

 

 

Here are a few of the moments that I’m afraid I’ll forget if I don’t record them. Here they are for Rider to read one day:

 

  • When I first met Rider, my first though was that with his round, squished-up face and white-blond hair, I thought he looked like Pope John Paul II!
See the resemblance?
See the resemblance?
  • The first time I saw him smile. I was breastfeeding him in the hospital on day 2 or 3 and as I was watching him suck, his little lips curled into a smile. I was warned that babies don’t smile until closer to two or three months, so I was stunned to see it. I now know those early grins are considered to be “reflexes,” but I’m still so happy I witnessed it. I remember turning my head all around because I wanted to show someone, but it was just the two of us. It was the first little moment that we shared.
  • How changing his diaper was a two-person job for a solid five days or so until my husband, RJ, and I worked up enough confidence to each do it on our own.
  • How he reminded me of a tiny, ravenous squirrel before I’d breastfeed him.
  • We told a nurse we didn’t want Rider to have a pacifier for fear it would prevent him from breastfeeding properly. Within a few hours we had relented and asked her to take away the cardboard “no pacifier” sign in his bassinet. RJ and I quickly learned that we’d be making compromises and things wouldn’t always be how we envisioned them.
  • That my dad was the first person to hold Rider after me and RJ. I was so overwhelmed that if my dad didn’t ask RJ to take a pic of himself with Rider, I probably wouldn’t have thought to have him take the one of us at the top of this page. 
Rider's first photo with his grandfather.
Rider's first photo with his grandfather.

  • Coming home to balloons and an “It’s a Boy!” sign that my mom put out on our front porch. (I’ll write about this another time, but this apartment we brought Rider home too, is the same one my brother and I came home to as babies.)
  • That all of the clothes we had for him were WAY too big because we were expecting a ten-pound butterball instead of a 7-lb peanut.
  • The morning after we came home from the hospital. RJ and I made coffee and ate our breakfast while Rider slept in his 4 Moms bouncer next to us. We watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and I thought "this isn’t so hard." How quickly I had forgotten that we had been up EVERY hour during the night.
  • How excited my family was for Rider’s arrival. We had a pizza party in my hospital room after I was induced (and before the contractions got real) when my brother and dad stopped by after work with a pie. And when I woke up in the morning after a hearty epidural and the doctor said I was ready to push, RJ was giving our whole family a play-by-play via textuntil I told him to put the phone down because he was going to miss it. Twelve pushes later we met our little boy

I’ll be posting here every so often (still figuring out a schedule). Hope to see you back here!

 

What are some things you want to remember about a special time in your life?

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