Hi! As the mom of two boys who have played hockey (among other sports but mostly hockey), and as a billet mom I have collected a number of tips over the years through trial and error and from other tough and amazing hockey mamas! Here are some of my tips, this is a work in progress!
1. Organization! As soon as I get my boys schedules I import them onto my phone, screenshot them by month, and write their schedules into the chalkboard wallpaper in their rooms ( this I do by the week). It takes time at the beginning but helps in the long run so you know what you are dealing with! Also this way my boys know what their week looks like and they don’t ask me 10 times a week when they have hockey!
2. Meal prep! I would say I was super organized when my guys were younger, but sometimes due to wacky and overlapping schedules we do eat out especially away on tournements (usually 10 a year). But it’s much cheaper and healthier to eat at home or bring snacks with you so I juggle both depending. My “go to” meals for the boys are Buffalo Chicken Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Parmigiana, omelettes, pizza, or roasted chicken with potatoes & veggies…I take snacks on the road like homeade energy bites, fruit, water. If we need to eat on the road Tim Hortons and Subway are the healthiest options if tight for time. If away for tourneys I bring lots of snacks and drinks for the room but usually it’s a lot of eating out. It sure adds up but wouldn’t trade it!
3. That gear! When I washed it I always did it Monday’s as no doubt the week-end was busy! Then it was ready for the week ahead!
4. Photos! I have taken over 4000 pictures of my boys, parents, grandparents some coaches and their teammates! Although it’s freezing and sometimes I miss just watching, everyone is grateful as the pics are forever and I have some shots that I just love and others really appreciated my effort!
5. Early bed times and/or naps! If we had a crazy week with late nights my boys know they go to bed early or nap after school or between games. Being well rested not only makes them have more energy for their games but I feel it helps reduce injuries as they aren’t tired on the ice.
6. Try not to stress! I had to learn this the hard way and it took me a few years. I have finally learned to just focus on my boys when they are playing and to enjoy watching! I steer clear of the negativity in the stands (we all know it’s there). I really make a huge effort to not hear comments around me or to get dragged down. This has helped me really enjoy watching the games!
7. Car Essentials! I leave a winter coat, jeans, hoodie, mitts and blankets in my car year round so I’m never stuck being cold at the rink!
8. Skates & Gear! As soon as my boys could tie their own skates I stopped going into the change rooms (I think it should be a rule for all parents and if they need help you can help once the kids come out of the room), and stopped packing their gear for them. They usually do it the night before or after school. They double check before they head out the door and we have Bernie lucky! Once or twice something was forgotten but the rink was 5 minutes away and another time my dad was going to the game so he whipped over to grab the forgotten stick. Sometimes it takes a village!
9. Carpooling! Hockey families always know I am the go to once season starts and I don’t mind. I always like to know ASAP but sometimes things are last minute. Sometimes it works to split the driving with another person or alternate! That helps everyone! Set up a schedule so everyone knows that’s going on week to week, trust me it helps!
10. Bring a book! I always have at least one book in my car so that if I get caught going to a practice I can read. As the kids get older some coaches and kids don’t like parents watching and I like to give my boys their space. I also don’t want to freeze unnecessarily!