Edgy Mama: Soccer mom? Hell, yeah!

A critic of my Edgy Mama column recently remarked that I’m “just another North Asheville soccer mom.” Dude, that expression is so 1996.

The term “soccer mom” entered national lingo when Bill Clinton was running for president against Bob Dole. One of Dole’s media advisors, Alex Castellenos, was quoted as saying Clinton was targeting the influential 30-something female voters, whom he termed “soccer moms.” Clinton did win, thanks in part to these swing vote moms, who would later vilify him when he was caught diddling Monica (this incident came too close to home, I imagine, for a number of married moms).

Initially, the phrase “soccer moms” referred to those of us who spend a good deal of time driving our kids from activity to activity, and who, as good citizens, vote regularly.

Then the term evolved. As references to “soccer moms” increased in the media, negative connotations crept in. The phrase came to represent over-stressed moms who don’t work, drive gas-guzzling SUVs, and spend too much time and money on their kids. Cue country song: “She’s a ninety-pound suburban housewife drivin’ in her SUV.”

There’s even a character called Soccer Mom, who is one of the villains on my son’s favorite TV show, Codename: Kids Next Door. She’s an evil soccer coach who wants kids to practice soccer non-stop. 

So I’ve been called a soccer mom, and I assume, from the context, the commenter thinks I represent the unfavorable aspects of soccer momhood. This makes me laugh, because my girl only recently joined a soccer team, and I have no intention of forcing her to practice non-stop, or at all really. I know next to nothing about the game. This soccer mom also works as a journalist, drives a Honda Civic Hybrid (most of the time), and prefers to let her kids wander unsupervised around the neighborhood rather than schedule their time. Is she over-stressed? Who isn’t? Is she a regular voter? Hell, yeah.

To put the term in perspective, I’ve also been a swimming mom, a TaeKwonDo mom, a Girls on the Run mom, a softball mom, and an art mom. I’ve never been a hockey mom, which seems to be the correspondingly derogatory term for moms living in Canada and states like Michigan and Alaska.

Let’s think about this. Is there something wrong with driving your kid to regular soccer practices and games where that kid gets lots of exercise, fresh air, and learns how to function on a team? Not to my mind. So we’re being vilified for promoting kids’ health and well-being. And for voting. That kind of sucks. 

On the side of the soccer field last weekend, I talked to and checked out the other soccer moms. Turns out there were more soccer dads than soccer moms. These parents come from all different strata of society. One’s a stay-at-home dad. One’s a teacher. One’s unemployed. One’s an accountant. One’s a physical trainer. One works construction. I only saw a few SUVs and mommy vans in the parking lot. There were trucks, lots of mid-sized cars, and a couple of motorcycles.

Sure, maybe a few of the parents fit the stereotype, but not many. All that most of us have in common are that we have kids and at least one of them plays in the Asheville-Buncombe Youth Soccer Association.

Mostly, I chatted with the soccer parents about the beautiful fall day—because we know there are some cold and dreary ones coming. We complained about having to be there by 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, especially because we had to get our kids down to Enka to play (not very close to N. Asheville). Some of us tried to keep the siblings of our soccer players out of the mud. Some of us let our dogs wrestle in the mud.

So, let’s recognize that the 1996 cliché no longer holds water. It’s 2009 and soccer moms are just moms, in all their many guises. Shoot, I’m proud to be the soccer mom I am.

Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.

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31 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Soccer mom? Hell, yeah!

  1. bluegrassbrad

    “The phrase came to represent over-stressed moms who don’t work, drive gas-guzzling SUVs, and spend too much time and money on their kids. Cue country song: “She’s a ninety-pound suburban housewife drivin’ in her SUV.”

    So since I see people like this everyday, swerving all over 240 in their Expedition while chatting on the cellphone and yelling at the kids in the backseat, what do I call them? “Soccer Mom” sure still sounds fitting.

  2. fengshuimama

    Bluegrassbrad…I would call them stupid. Let’s not degrade the mom’s of the world out there who are trying really hard to raise good kids and who’s kids happen to like soccer. Really? You can’t think of a better name?

  3. Cheshire

    As someone who played soccer almost my entire childhood, I always thought the “soccer mom” title was for those parents who you had to watch out for from the sidelines. The kind who was just as likely to come after the ref for calling a penalty against their kid as their kid was to deserve the penalty for playing dirty. Quite aggressive, thought it was all about winning instead of teamwork…made a game of rugby look safe…those people.

    These days, I usually just call them “psycho” as I watch them disappear at 15 or 20+ over the speed limit, “oh crap” as I watch them approach in the mirror, or “AAAAAH!!!” as I try to avoid them when they change lanes into me without looking.

  4. LauraN

    Sounds to me like the critics have more of a beef with bad drivers than “soccer Moms.” I’m always happy to beef about crappy drivers on their cell phones, but leave the hearty parents and grandparents who care about exercise and fresh air for their kids out of it.

  5. MommyDearest

    Edgy, “Dude” is pretty 1996, but you’d know that if you were edgy. As for this week’s column… it seems like pretty obvious bait for the cougars rolling into town for the mommy blogapalooza. Trying to drum up some street cred before they get here? Bring it on, ladies! Let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss how edgy Edgy is. Has this column been edgy over the past few years, or has it been Ladies Home Journal pap spooned up for Asheville yuppies? Discuss.

  6. Gosh, MommyDearest, you sound a lot like one of the primary trolls around here. Why so bitter? How about showing some fortitude and posting under your own name, with a Mt. X account, instead of hiding behind anonymity? Too embarrassed? I would be.

  7. Asheville Dweller

    How about if the MX wants posters to use their “real” names then they should implement that. Until then it doesn’t matter. If that was the case most of the trolls on this board that call people names and act like children wouldn’t dare keep it up.

    But that would mean people couldn’t be “edgy”.

  8. Trey

    This is WNC, so the song should go, “She’s a ONE HUNDRED-NINETY pound suburban houswife drivin’ in her SUV.”

    And I think the term “Soccer Mom” was originally thrown around to describe these “child worshipping” types who just never shut up about their kids. Whether it be the “My Child Is An Honor Student At blahblahblah”, or the annoying little stick figures on your window representing your “fam”, “Baby on Board”, or as someone mentioned earlier the soccer-ref challenging types… we all know the type. And this is what really irks the non-breeders. We don’t care about your children. They aren’t special, they aren’t miracles… women have been getting knocked up literally since the beggining of man, it’s nothing new.

    Now, not all parents are like that… and they are usually the parents with the coolest, most laid back children you’d ever wanna meet. Do they still think their children are “special”? Sure. But they don’t feel the need to constantly remind everyone around them about it.

    I personally don’t like this column(although I do find myself reading it occasionally), but I don’t have a problem with it either. How could anyone have a problem with a puff-piece??? That is meant as no disrespect to Edgy Mama, but that’s how I think of this column. It’s a “light-hearted, feel-good, humorous take on parenting. What’s wrong with that? Don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Maybe this paper needs an “Edgy Non-Breeder” column, to kind of balance things out for the bitter folks? :)

  9. CougarMom

    Hmmm…Mommy Dearest just sounds jealous & catty. Work through those issues and get back to us.
    I think Edgy Mama is genuine, fresh and way cool. My kiddies love reading her column each week and I like how she doesn’t come across as ‘yuppy.’ I know quite many young, organic, funky families who really dig EdgyMama’s wisdom. Maybe the Citizen Times is a better place for Mommy Dearest?

  10. Piffy!

    Dude, I still say “Dude”.

    Guess i can’t change my name to “Edgy Piffy”?

  11. Dionysis

    There’s a pretty funny take on this ‘event’ in the Asheville Disclaimer.

  12. “There’s a pretty funny take on this ‘event’ in the Asheville Disclaimer.”

    I would’ve been happy to pose for the Disclaimer as well. Dudes, I didn’t even realize how badly my kids are cramping my style.

  13. daryl

    Edgy Mama,

    Nice job craftily deflecting and redirecting from the actual meat of what I think your “critic” was going for. You might be a proud soccer mom and there may well be more soccer dad’s than soccer mom’s and it might just a very 1996 term, but what I think the critic was saying is that you and your blog are just not edgy.

    I implore you edgy mama to reconsider your blog’s name.

  14. Any one wonder why I’m on the “Trolls, Delicate Topics, and Controversy” panel at the conference this weekend? No, I don’t think you did.

  15. Jacquie

    Edgy is as Edgy does! Each week she tells us things as she sees them and many who disagree comment on it.. Sometimes you love what she says and say “cool I was thinking the same dang thing” The fact is Edgy Mama IS WRITING every week even after taking the heat.. That my dear ones…. is EDGY!

  16. Lucia Del Vecchio

    I can’t help but feel there’s something oddly misogynistic about the semi-regular Edgy Mama bashing that takes place in the comments on this site. Aside of the fact that the commenters seem to have an issue with what they perceive as a lack of true edgy-ness (if edgy mama was covered in tattoos and picked her kids up from school on a Harley while listening to Arcade Fire, would she have the appropriate amount of cred?) I wonder if the column were exactly the same, yet titled “Edgy Papa” and written by a man, if it would receive the same amount of internet ire. It could be argued that a man writing this column would be edgy simply because he’s breaking masculine norms to focus on parenting issues, but then again in a way Edgy Mama is breaking feminine norms by documenting and exploring parenting issues from a liberal female perspective in a weekly column. Whether you like it or not, the column really shouldn’t invoke so much passionate stone-throwing unless the issue runs deeper than the Edgy Factor- if commenters came clean on their gender, I wonder if most of the anti-Edgys are male.

  17. JWTJr

    Seems to me its usually a bunch of guys who do the bashing. Wimps.

  18. Piffy!

    Dudes, I say if she isnt on the Junk, neglecting her kids to go on tropical vacations with rich businessmen, while milking her four ex-husbands for child support, then she isn’t “Edgy”. She’s just “Asheville Mama”. We want more if a AmyWinehouse Mama”, I think.

  19. TokyoTaos

    Edgy Mama rocks!

    Edgy Mama, don’t let the few whiners on this board get even a fraction of a centimeter under your skin. I think they just don’t have anything better to do and I agree with JWTJr, it usually is a bunch of guys doing the bashing!

    I am a woman who has never nor probably will ever have kids but I still love reading Edgy Momma’s column each week for the humor, the good writing and the insights.

    And as one edgy woman to another, keep doing what you’re doing Anne Fitten Glenn!

  20. Kristin

    Women tend to police one another pretty heavily, so I wouldn’t credit men with the bulk of the negative comments, except the ones that insist this column is a waste of space. Politics, the environment–that’s the important stuff, right? Parenting, mothering–that’s just “fluff.” But for many of us the work of raising children not only demands the very best in us, it is a central source of meaning and purpose. Yeah, yeah, bringing up the next generation, the future of society, blah blah–we (childless men in particular) just don’t want to hear about it.

    I make many different parenting choices and often disagree with opinions expressed in this column, but I never fail to read it because I appreciate the fact that it exists and I respect Edgy Mama for sticking her neck out every week. Criticism lobbed at your opinions of restaurants or movies could never cut as deep as negative comments on your parenting.

  21. xingxang

    After reading all the inane comments, I’d love to get the last 5 minutes of my life back!

  22. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. Really. I always learn something from the debate, even when it’s less than kind.

    Another writer who is a mom pointed out that some people might be intimidated by the “edgy” in Edgy Mama. Perhaps if I called myself “Clumsy Mama” or “Inept Mama” or something cutesy like, ummmmm, “Cute Mama,” folks would spend less time debating whether or not I’m living up to being “edgy.”

    There are multiple definitions of the word. The primary def is “high-strung, anxious.” Yes. That’s me without beer. Another def is “innovative.” That I may or not be. But I wonder if that’s the definition that offends folks. Is my take on parenting innovative? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes I’m not sure what the heck I’m doing.

    But I’m going to keep putting it out there, writing the best I can, as Edgy Mama, as long as you all are reading and responding (and Mt. X wants me around).

    So thanks–for reading, for discussing, for sticking around.

  23. My vote

    I think you should go with “Foxy Mama.”
    And not worry about what other peeps think.
    Because you rock!!! Keep it up.

  24. Piffy!

    i cant wait to read this column every week so i can feel offended and outraged in a vague sort of class-envy kind of way. and to complain it isnt edgy enough.

  25. Piffy!

    how about “middle-class blogging yuppie mama with two kids and an electronic spouse”?

    just spit-ballin’ here, people.

  26. Hey, if you’re not pissing somebody off then you’re doing something wrong. Keep it up Anne :-)

  27. Pitch n Boots

    ABYSA loves all of it’s “Soccer Moms”…All 5,000 of them.

  28. my take

    wow, this article was certainly one defensive rant. i suppose it’s always vulnerable when one makes their private life public, and i sympathize with that. finding work as a writer is challenging, and i sympethize with that, too. i have always found the “edgy” moniker absurd…i remember seeing Susan Rhinehart on her list of “edgy links” at one time, and i nearly wet my pants. edgy, no…entertaining and light-hearted, sure. but i guess what amazes me the most is the sheer amount of energy and attention “edgy” seems to put into grooming her public perception. to publicly blog–especially about one’s personal life–is to leave oneself open for public opinion and criticism. comes with the territory, and maybe if “edgy” didn’t invest so much energy into it every time somebody launched a personal critique, it wouldn’t fester to the extent it has here. the mean-spiritedness of the haters is pretty intense, but it seems like it’s only being fueled by AFG’s narcisissm. brush it off and move on, sista!

  29. Hilary

    If having kids in soccer makes one a soccer mom, then I guess that’s me. It’s just one aspect in my life… it doesn’t define me. I also consider myself… dare I say… edgy as well.
    And FWIW… I say that if she draws this much ire on her blog, she is most definitely Edgy. :)

  30. mary

    the term is still a relevant one here in Australia I don’t even have kids who play soccer anymore and I still get lumped with the term soccer mom. It may have something to do with the size of my minivan it could almost fit the entire href=”http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/team/3215/socceroos”>socceroos Team! well almost!

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