You know that label that describes a mini-van driving, suburban, overextended mom who spends a lot of time taking her kids from one sporting event to another? “Soccer mom.”
Hmm . . . I drive a minivan and I drive our son to soccer practice twice a week and two games on the weekends. I live in a suburb and I consider myself a pretty busy person. Does that make me a “soccer mom”? I hope not.
I don’t want to be one of them. I’ve met the “soccer moms” that fit the stereotype that popular culture perpetuates. They have really nice lawn chairs so they can watch the game in style. They have a blanket and a bag of toys ready for the younger siblings. They have a delicious assortment of snacks and pricey thirst-quenching sports drinks ready for their young soccer stars. They always seem to have time to get their nails done, and while their kids are eating chocolate muffins, they’re munching on celery sticks. And their minivans? They’re called SUVs.
These are all generalizations of course, but they come from my own real observations–so they must be true!
I can’t be a soccer mom. My minivan is actually a minivan, and it’s a disaster. The younger sibling? I always forget to bring toys, so she’s running around munching from a bag of stale graham crackers that I found under the seat in my . . . minivan. And I don’t own any lawn chairs; I sit on the grass or I just stand there. But at least I’m paying attention to the game! Those soccer moms I described earlier? They don’t even watch the game! They just talk to their friends and play on the iPhones! Oops, there I go again . . . another generalization!
I don’t know why I’m opposed to being called a soccer mom, but I am. Maybe it’s because I’ve only known one kind, and they’re just not my type.
There are a lot of women out there opposed to being a part of Women of the ELCA. Why? Because they’ve only experienced one kind of what a Women of the ELCA participant can be, and they believe in that stereotype.
The label has stuck. How do we change it?
Emily Hansen is director for stewardship and development, Women of the ELCA.