Standing on the sidelines of the soccer field I realize that I am now an official “soccer mom.” But I don’t think I’m the woman whom political strategists appealed to into the 1996 elections when they first coined the term. I don’t drive a mini van. I don’t wear mom jeans. I did not leave a yuppie career in the 1980’s to raise my children.
Looking around, I realize that all of the moms beside me were still in school during the 1980’s. Did we have any idea of what we were in for? It’s suddenly clear that the term “soccer mom” needs an immediate update, almost as critically as my computer software.
Introducing Soccer Mom 2.0.
What She Drives
Soccer Mom 2.0 scoffs at the notion of driving a mini van. The vehicle conjures the image of the original model, which for various psychological reasons becomes highly undesirable to emulate and completely outdated. Therefore, the mini-van is reserved for cases of complete necessity, usually involving the birth of multiples. A much more common vehicle for 2.0 is the SUV. In every possible shape and size, hybrid or gas guzzling, SUVs crowd the parking lot. 2.0 may be worried about global warming and will be tempted to try a Prius or a more fuel efficient compact car but with more than one child the odds of her keeping it become rapidly reduced.
Perhaps the most identifiable characteristic of 2.0 is the electronic device to which she is tied. In fact, 2.0’s talents include the ability to drive, drink coffee, cheer for her child and coach from the sidelines all while maintaining and operating this device. This piece of equipment is usually a smart phone, specifically an iPhone. It’s actually a lifeline. The calendar allows her to keep track of her children’s (or child’s) various lessons, tutors, activities and play dates. Email is also highly critical, as most school have adopted this as the primary and preferred method of communication. Instant replies are expected. Older children will text their immediate needs. Therefore, if this crucial device becomes damaged or lost it could result in a major meltdown for 2.0. In many ways, she too will short-circuit and could become potentially dangerous.
2.0’s will choose between public and private schools. However, as our public school system continues to deteriorate, 2.0’s are more often forced to stretch the family budget and send their offspring to private schools. In either scenario, 2.0’s are often seen scuttling their children to various tutors and enrichment activities before and after soccer practice. 2.0’s’ will then rush home with an exhausted child, help with homework, fix dinner and begin bedtime routines. All of this pressure leads to a high level of stress. However, this extra stress won’t be revealed on her face. The media’s encouragement of Botox and various fillers will help disguise any lines or wrinkles. In most instances her face will appear frozen. But you can be sure that she still feels the pressure. If model 2.0 has chosen to age naturally and avoids plastic surgery, then she will feel the extra stress of being constantly reminded that 30 is the new 20 and 40 is the new 30. In other words, not only does 2.0 have to perform at high levels of anxiety but she has to look good while doing it all. Think Posh Spice, dressed in skintight leather and platform boots, rooting for David Beckham.
Like the original model, 2.0’s also want everything for their children. However, the formula to achieve a child’s success and happiness has become increasingly complicated. A win at the end of the game is still the goal. However, individual play and performance now seem to matter more than ever before. Life is a game on and off the field. So as much as we push forward, 2.0’s often drift back, wondering about the original model and what secrets they possessed which helped lead us to where we are now. 2.0’s standing on the sidelines: cheering frantically, watching our children dribbling the ball and hoping for the best.
Good thing a robot doesn’t need sleep.